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Raikkonen wins for Ferrari, spoils party for Hamilton

Jul 8, 2007 - 5:41 PM By Ian Parkes Special to PA SportsTicker

SILVERSTONE (England) -- Rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton vowed to raise his game after Ferrari ace Kimi Raikkonen wrecked his dream of a British Grand Prix victory on Sunday.

Raikkonen drove a flawless race for back-to-back victories. The Finn also won the French Grand Prix last week.

Hamilton's McLaren teammate, two-time reigning world champion Fernardo Alonso, took second place.

The 22-year-old Hamilton - the first black driver in Formula One history - finished third and saw his lead at the top of the drivers' standings reduced to 12 points.

Hamilton admitted making mistakes as he finished nearly 40 seconds behind Raikkonen.

The young Brit started on the pole. But two-thirds of the way into the 59-lap race, it was obvious it was not going to be his day in front of his home fans.

Raikkonen rained on the parade by leaving Hamilton on the podium for the ninth successive race, but not on the top step.

"I made the wrong decision with the setup, and it caused me problems during the race," Hamilton said. "Even in qualifying, I didn't have the pace I should have had, but it was too late to change the car. I've learned a good lesson.

"At the first pit stop I made a mistake. I thought the lollipop lifted, and I went. It was a mistake which cost me time. I've come away with a ninth podium and I'm the most consistent driver here. I have to be happy with that."

Hamilton admitted he had had "a wicked season so far," with "no complaints." He knows, though, he can do better.

"I need to step up my game, which I intend to do," Hamilton said. "As a team we need to push, as always, but try to push even more if we can. As for me as a driver, I'm still learning.

"We're going to a few tracks I know, so it should really make the weekend a little bit easier, but it doesn't. I've struggled to get the pace. We need to make sure the car is set up right, that we keep on moving forward and beat the Ferraris."

Raikkonen's third victory of the season - and 12th of his career - was clinched when the Finn showed blistering speed after Hamilton, followed by Alonso, who had taken the lead after the first round of stops.

Hamilton made a fine start, but was never able to shake Raikkonen off his tail until pitting on lap 16 when he made his first error.

Alonso failed to open a significant enough gap over Raikkonen ahead of the second series of stops.

Raikkonen put in a punishing burst of speed after Alonso had come in, so when he emerged from his own stop, he had a lead that made the final 16 laps a formality.

The 27-year-old Raikkonen has gained eight points on Hamilton in the last two races and knows his F1 title chances have increased.

"I have a good feeling, but we know every race can be completely different," Raikkonen said. "I'm not thinking we can do this all the time, but we have a good chance every weekend as long as everything works well.

"We would have liked to have been in a better position in the championship, but we've had difficult times. At least we're going in the right direction, and I feel we can have a strong end to the year."

Alonso felt second place was the best he could hope for.

"For the last four or five races I've been quick all weekend, and quite happy with the car," Alonso said. "I have the speed and confidence. Hopefully with more consistency and a better approach to the races with the team, it will be better."

Robert Kubica was fourth for BMW Sauber, with the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa fifth.

The remaining points places were taken by Nick Heidfeld in the second BMW and the Renaults of Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella.

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