Kimi Raikkonen has finally stopped the rot that had set in since his season-opening win in the Australian Grand Prix back in March, by triumphing at Magny-Cours to get his championship bid back on-track.

The Finn had gone into 2007 in many people's eyes as the title favourite, having stepped into Michael Schumacher's seat at Ferrari. Following his Melbourne success, however, the 27-year-old appeared to lose his way somewhat, and until this weekend had not finished among the top three since Bahrain. With the Scuderia's revised F20007 seeming to far better suit his driving style, however, he would now look to be firmly back in contention for the laurels.

Raikkonen's victory in France came courtesy of both a strong start that saw him out-drag McLaren's Lewis Hamilton into the first corner, as well as a lightning couple of laps leading up to his second pit-stop that vaulted him ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa, whom he had shadowed for more than half the race.

"Finally!" the race winner joked afterwards. "Everything went the right way in my race. It was vital that I managed to get past Hamilton at the start, and then I always tried to stay with Felipe. I knew I had a few laps in-hand but, at my first pit-stop, I had a bit of traffic and was unable to get into the lead. Then at the second stop, the situation was turned around and I came out in front.

"Right from the start of the weekend we have been strong, and this win is the reward for all the hard work carried out over the past few weeks. Now we must continue to improve the car because there is still room to do so, starting with the next race which we should tackle with the same approach we used here in Magny-Cours."

Team boss Jean Todt was equally enthusiastic about the outcome, one that has seen Maranello at last get back on terms with its Woking rivals in terms of performance following a barren couple of months.

"What a great one-two!" the Frenchman stated. "I could not have a nicer present to celebrate the 14th anniversary of my arrival at the helm of the Scuderia. Today everything went perfectly, which is what is needed to get a result like this. Both drivers got great starts, drove exceptionally well and fought it out between themselves for the win. Only traffic and strategy finally decided which one got the upper hand.

"In any case, what matters is that two red Ferrari cars finished ahead of the rest. The team did an impeccable job and the F2007s were up to the job in-hand. We fought a very strong opponent and this one-two is crucial for the rest of both championships. There are still nine races to go and everything is still possible, but we will try and repeat this result next week in Silverstone, at the home of our main rivals."

 

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