If you are a frequent reader of this site you know that Circus Formula 1 arrived in Germany this weekend to race at Nürburgring. The last race on Silverstone was not very entertaining and I was hoping for a more exciting race this weekend. And what an exciting race it turned out to be!
It all started on the third part of the qualifying session on Friday. when Lewis Hamilton‘s right front tyre suddenly exploded on one of the fastest parts of the track. Right in the middle of a slight left curve Hamilton lost control of his McLaren-Mercedes, which raced straight off the track, bounced over half of the gravel trap that was supposed to slow him down and slammed into the tyre barrier.
Despite the raging speed, his vehicle was almost intact, but Hamilton looked rather shaken and it took some time for him to climb out of the car. In the seconds after the impact he started to frantically move his legs up and down, which made me wonder if he had somehow sustained severe brain or nerve damage, but that was rather unlikely. It was likely, however, that some of his internal organs had been injured as they tend to be when they are violently thrown around inside of someone who decelerates from 200 kilometer per hour to zero in less than a second. Luckily, it was soon clear that Hamilton had not been injured and he was cleared for the Saturday race where he started from 10th position in the grid.
Nürburgring is a very interesting track when it comes to weather. Because of its geographical location, the weather has a tendency to change quickly and that was exactly what happened today. Just after the red lights had gone out and the race was underway, it started raining both cats and dogs. All of the drivers started from the grid with slicks, except for one driver: In his Formula 1 debut for Spyker, German Markus Winkelhock started from the pits with rain tires on. As soon as the other cars started to slow down, skid off the track and head back to the pits to change tires, Winkelhock quickly moved from 22nd place all the way to up 1st place.
As it continued to pour down, it was soon impossible to drive, even with rain tires on. At one point five cars were stuck in the gravel trap in turn one and one car almost crashed into the safety car while skidding out. After one safety car lap, the race officials finally came to their senses and red flagged the race.
It took half an hour before the weather had cleared and the race was restarted. Winkelhock started in pole position on a flying start, but he even before he was out of the first turn he had been overtaken by five cars. He eventually retired in the 13th lap with technical problems. The fight for first place was rather intense, Massa was in the lead most of the race with Alonso close behind and Räikkönen even closer behind Alonso until Räikkönen retired in the 34th lap. To me it looked a bit like his Ferrari had run dry.
Then, with about 10 laps left to go, it started to rain again and all the drivers dived into the pits to put on intermediate tires. With new tires on, Massa left the pit with Alonso a few seconds behind. Unfortunately for Massa, he experience severe vibrations in the car, and had to slow down. This opened the door for Alonso, who got past easily and won the 2007 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe.
He is now only two points behind Hamilton in the championship. Hamilton placed 10th and scored no championship points. The next race is in Hungary on the 5th of August. You know where you’ll find me that weekend.