Ferrari’s Felipe Massa won the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, his third victory of the 2008 season.
The Brazilian now takes over the lead in the Formula One world championship for the first time in his short career, spanning six-seasons.
He also became the first Brazilian to top the drivers’ list since his hero, Ayrton Senna, dominated 15 years ago.
The other Ferrari driver, Kimi Raikkonen, started the race from pole and led into the first corner, before meeting exhaust problems.
Lewis Hamilton suffered from accumulated woes, going back to the Canadian Grand Prix. A drive-through penalty saw him starting 13th on the grid. Various factors wrecked his race and he finished predictably out of the points. He now trails Massa by 10 points.
Before the race he told ITV, “I found out that there was a lot of negativity in the media, and that’s to be expected. That’s what they do: they build you up and then they break you down, but they can’t break me. There’s a lot of crap coming out in the papers. I’m here to race, and I don’t want all this stuff. But I’m very strong mentally, and my belief in my own ability is stronger than ever and there’s nothing that can break me.”
Massa’s victory was the eighth of his Formula One career.