Kimi Raikkonen had to settle for the runners-up spot in the French Grand Prix on Sunday after a problem with the exhaust system on his Ferrari F2008 cost him time and dropped him behind his team-mate, Felipe Massa - the eventual victor.

Raikkonen, who started from pole, had been looking in control in the first half of the race and was looking strong until lap 37 when Massa closed the gap to just 1.7 seconds. TV cameras subsequently picked up a component flapping around at the rear of the car, and on lap 39 the Finn had to concede P1 and nurse his way to the chequered flag.

Kimi eventually finished almost 18 seconds off Massa and around 10 seconds up on Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen and Robert Kubica, who were squabbling over third, fourth and fifth.

"Obviously I am a bit disappointed because I had hoped to win," said the reigning world champion. "Unfortunately, the right exhaust pipe broke just before half-distance and the engine lost a lot of power, especially on the straight after the slow corners. After a few laps, the situation seemed better, but towards the end of the race, I ran the risk of stopping.

"This sort of thing can happen in racing and I have to try and look on the bright side: eight points are still a good amount and the one-two finish is a great result for the team. Luckily, I had built up quite a good lead in the first part thanks to a car that was really very competitive.

"The F2008 is definitely very strong because usually, when you have this sort of problem, retirement is almost inevitable. There is still a long way to go in the championship. I am in a better position than I was at this stage last year: let's see what I can do in the next part of the series."

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali meanwhile was apologetic for the problem that hampered Raikkonen's bid and added that they will now need to check the engine ahead of the British Grand Prix in two weeks time.

"We had started with the aim of securing the double and we managed it, despite the exhaust problem that put Kimi's race in danger around lap 35," he continued. "It proves we have all the potential to do very well, but it also confirms that we cannot allow ourselves not to be perfect in every detail, especially on the reliability front.

"I am very sorry for Kimi, who was going really well today and did a really good job to get the car to the line in these conditions. Now we will have to check on the condition of the engine on his car and evaluate what should be done for the race at Silverstone."