Magny-Cours, France, July 17 (AHn) – Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher made Formula One history in France, becoming the first driver to win the same grand prix eight times.
Schumacher’s commanding victory, from pole position on a sweltering afternoon at Magny-Cours, left the seven-time champion 17 points adrift of Renault’s Fernando Alonso with seven races remaining.
Spaniard Alonso, the runaway winner in France last year on his way to becoming the sport’s youngest world champion, took second place.
Schumacher crossed the line 10.131 seconds clear of the field, lapping all but the top seven, for his 150th appearance on the podium.
"Looking at this race…we clearly have made up ground," said Schumacher.
"It (the championship) is far from being over. Obviously it’s going to be a battle in development but it’s a great result when you see this weekend and how difficult it has been at times."
Brazilian Felipe Massa was third for Ferrari, with both Ferraris making three pit stops – one more than Alonso – in a race without major incident.
It was the 88th win in Schumacher’s career, his fourth of the season and eighth at Magny-Cours.
"We had a great start and we drove our race from there," said Schumacher.
"We were not sure how the race would go because we didn’t do any long runs (in practice). So it was a little bit of a guess how the race would go but I have to say that the car, the tyres, the whole package really worked perfectly."
After Italy’s World Cup final success over France in Schumacher’s native Germany last Sunday, an Italian team had once again dashed French hopes with Ferrari dominant in Renault’s home race.