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2007_European_Grand_Prix

2007 European Grand Prix

The 2007 European Grand Prix was the tenth race of the 2007 Formula One season. It was held from 20 to July 22 at the Nürburgring.

On August 29 2006 it was announced that the European Grand Prix had been removed from the F1 calendar for the 2007 season. From then there will only be one GP hosted in Germany each year, alternating between Hockenheimring and Nürburgring. However, the name for this Grand Prix has been in doubt. While originally thought to be the German Grand Prix from 2007, the Nürburgring currently lists the 2007 event as "Großer Preis von Europa" (European Grand Prix), because the Hockenheimring holds the naming rights for "German Grand Prix" and they could not reach an agreement to share the naming rights. It is the first time since 1960 that a Formula One World Championship race has not been held under the name "German Grand Prix", and the first time since 1955 that a "German Grand Prix" has not been held at all.

It was in fact revealed by Bernie Ecclestone on ITV1's pre-race buildup that the title of the race is the result of a conflict with AvD, who claim they own the rights to the title "German Grand Prix".

Lewis Hamilton entered the race as drivers' championship leader (and due to his 12-point lead over team-mate Fernando Alonso left for the following race as championship leader too).

Murray Walker provided radio commentary to listeners in the UK on BBC Radio Five Live – the first time he has provided UK coverage of an F1 event since retiring in 2001.

Christijan Albers did not drive for Spyker F1 due to failure to pay sponsorship money due. His replacement was the local driver Markus Winkelhock, son of former Formula One driver Manfred Winkelhock.

Report

Background

During the 2 weeks leading up to the race it was announced that McLaren would appear in front of the FIA on 26 July regarding claims they had received information from Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton said he was confident it would go well.

Qualifying

Kimi Räikkönen overhauled Felipe Massa during the final minute of qualifying and Fernando Alonso pushing him further down into third. The final session, Q3, of qualifying was delayed for half an hour when Lewis Hamilton crashed into the barriers due to a wheel gun failure causing the wheel to not be secured on the car. The wheel promptly rubbed against the car destroying it and the tyre sending the car to the scene of the accident. His time from the "fuel-burn" phase of Q3 was not good enough to elevate him higher than 10th position. Toyota had a strong qualifying with both drivers making it into the top 10, ending up 8th and 9th. Single-lap specialist Mark Webber qualified an excellent 6th just in front of Renault's Heikki Kovalainen and behind the two BMWs.

As for the rest of the field, Fisichella endured a miserable session qualifying a poor 13th, which was incidentally the same place he had qualified for the previous year's race. Red Bull had mistakenly let David Coulthard out too late from the pits in Q1 which led him to be stuck back in 20th place, only ahead of the two Spykers of Adrian Sutil and debutant Markus Winkelhock who had not been expected to do much better.

Race

It started a dry race with the chance of rain with clouds hanging overhead. At the start of the warm-up lap, the timing screens displayed the warning that the rain was going to begin falling in about 3 minutes. This did not concern the Ferraris who led into the first corner as a pair with Alonso trailing in 3rd. Markus Winkelhock for Spyker was the only driver to pit after the warm up lap to change to the wet tyres, although this meant he had to start from the pits at the beginning of the race, it did pay off when all the other drivers were having to pit or spin off. Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, coming back from his 10th place qualifying made an excellent start and was up to 6th at the first corner but a collision between the two BMWs caused Hamilton to take avoiding action and the diffuser of Kubica caused a puncture in Hamilton's left-rear tyre causing him to fall back into the clutches of the rest of the pack. This was only the beginning of the first lap chaos.

The time it took for the rain to arrive and the sheer amount was heavily underestimated by everybody but Spyker, and so during the first lap it started to rain heavily and people had been caught out. David Coulthard skated across the gravel at turn five as everybody tried to drive around a slow Hamilton and there was a small impact between Rubens Barrichello and Nico Rosberg at the newly-named Schumacher S corner in the mid-field with Barrichello's Honda the worst affected. As Rosberg recovered, he was extremely lucky not to have been clipped by Ralf Schumacher who sped past but the luck did not last and the first lap chaos had not ended there as Adrian Sutil was also caught up with the recovering Rosberg towards the end of the lap at the back. Alexander Wurz also missed the final chicane after getting two wheels on the soggy grass. Somewhat amazingly, all of the drivers' cars had survived, and they returned to the pit lane at the end of lap one to change from grooved dry tyres to intermediates which were the wrong tyres to be on. Debutant Markus Winkelhock took advantage of a gamble which meant he started on wet tyres and from the pit lane which gave him a surprising lead at his home Grand Prix after everyone in the field pitted for intermediates or stayed out on dries. Everyone would have normally pitted at the end of lap one as it was almost monsooning but an error from then-leader Kimi Räikkönen resulted in him slipping wide on the paint and he missed the pit entry completely which meant he had to do an extra lap on the dry tyres slipping him to a net 7th place.

Others had stayed out in the hope that the rain would stop, such as Jarno Trulli but this lost him time. As the weather worsens, it turned out that full wet tyres were required, rather than intermediates. Being on the wrong tyres, almost every driver had to slow down to prevent sliding off the track. The sole exception was Markus Winkelhock of the Spyker Ferrari, who started the race in wets. The gamble he took against the weather paid off handsomely, and he managed to lead the race by 33 seconds ahead of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, who had pitted at the end of lap one along with other drivers.

Another big winner in the chaos was Jenson Button who moved up from a mid grid position to 4th despite coming in on the 1st lap to change tyres. Unfortunately, he spun off into the wall at the start of the 3rd lap, quickly followed by Lewis Hamilton who locked up. Adrian Sutil had a huge spin into the same place as Button and Hamilton and just missed both of them as he hit the wall. Nico Rosberg and Scott Speed were the latest causlties of the turn 1 "river". Anthony Davidson then locked up at the "river" but stopped his car just before the gravel and was able to reverse out. The safety car crept out to slow down the race, then quickly sped off around the corner as Vitantonio Liuzzi came into the 1st corner backwards at 150mph. The gravel trap slowed him and he gently tapped a recovery tractor. Amazingly, Hamilton had kept his engine running and was hoisted back on the circuit to continue a lap down.

At about 2:20 p.m. local time the rain stopped and the drivers were pushed on to the starting grid, in the order that they were one lap before the red flag. Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil, Nico Rosberg, Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi did not take the restart as they all aquaplaned off the track at turn one on lap three, causing the red flag.

The race restarted under safety car conditions, after one and a half minutes (as agreed by the team bosses), any lapped cars are allowed to over take all the cars in front (including the safety car) and unlap themselves. The only lapped car was that of Lewis Hamilton, who proceeded around the track (much to the confusion of some other drivers). He then proceeded to pit and change to the dry tyres, this gamble did not pay off due to the track still being too wet and Lewis subsequently skidded off the track for several laps (some say this help contribute to his lack of a podium finish). When the safety car returned to the pit, race leader Markus Winkelhock lost the lead very early on after another gamble which resulted in him keeping wet weather tyres on while everybody else was on the more suitable intermediate tyre in the hope further rain would fall. It would not and eventually he was forced into retirement after a hydraulic failure on lap 15. He had, however, already made his point and it was an impressive debut considering he had only driven the car for three days in total before the race. All of those days were also dry and so this was also Winkelhock's first experience of wet weather in a Formula One car. He was later joined by Takuma Sato and Ralf Schumacher, with the latter of which involved in a collision with Nick Heidfeld who continued. Pole position holder Kimi Räikkönen was also forced to retire due to mechanical problems while catching up to the leaders running 3rd.

From then onwards, it seemed it was normal service resumed and a normal dry race with the faster Ferrari of Massa leading Fernando Alonso and slowly pulling away. Mark Webber, whose reliability problems seemed to be behind him, was driving a strong race in 3rd with Alexander Wurz chasing him hard. But on lap 52, the rain once again fell onto the track, albeit not so heavily but it caused all the drivers to dive into the pits for the intermediate tyres. Except for Lewis Hamilton who gambled that the rain would not be heavy enough to need intermediate tyres and that he would benefit from everyone else pitting. He managed to get up to a points position of eighth, before having to pit, dropping him back down to tenth. From then onwards, Fernando Alonso's McLaren came into its own and he passed Massa on lap 56 in dramatic fashion around the outside at turn five. They had made contact and he proceeded to win the race. Massa trailed him by 8.1 seconds, clearly less comfortable in the wet/dry conditions. The final podium position was claimed by Mark Webber in the Red Bull, albeit over one minute behind the leader. Alexander Wurz, David Coulthard, Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and Heikki Kovalainen, who had gambled on putting intermediate tyres on early and fell from 5th position to 8th, completed the points-paying places. The Red Bull Team was ecstatic to earn ten points and they moved past Toyota in the constructors championship into sixth. Lewis Hamilton elected to change onto dry tyres, while the safety car was deployed, which ultimately proved to be far too early as the track was still wet. The decision put Hamilton a lap down and he finished the race in 9th place.

Classification

Qualifying

Pos Name Constructor Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
1 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:31.522 1:31.237 1:31.450
2 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.074 1:30.983 1:31.741
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:31.447 1:30.912 1:31.778
4 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:31.889 1:31.652 1:31.840
5 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:31.961 1:31.444 1:32.123
6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:32.629 1:31.661 1:32.476
7 Heikki Kovalainen Renault 1:32.594 1:31.783 1:32.478
8 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:32.381 1:31.859 1:32.501
9 Ralf Schumacher Toyota 1:32.446 1:31.843 1:32.570
10 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.587 1:31.185 1:33.833
11 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:32.117 1:31.978
12 Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 1:32.173 1:31.996
13 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 1:32.378 1:32.010
14 Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:32.674 1:32.221
15 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 1:32.793 1:32.451
16 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:32.678 1:32.838
17 Jenson Button Honda 1:32.983
18 Scott Speed Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:33.038
19 Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:33.148
20 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:33.151
21 Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 1:34.500
22 Markus Winkelhock Spyker-Ferrari 1:35.940

Race

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 60 2:06:26.358 2 10
2 5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 60 +8.155 secs 3 8
3 15 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 60 +1:05.674 secs 6 6
4 17 Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 60 +1:05.937 secs 12 5
5 14 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 60 +1:13.656 secs 20 4
6 9 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 60 +1:20.298 secs 4 3
7 10 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 60 +1:22.415 secs 5 2
8 4 Heikki Kovalainen Renault 59 +1 lap 7 1
9 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 59 +1 lap 10

10 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 59 +1 lap 13

11 8 Rubens Barrichello Honda 59 +1 lap 14

12 23 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 59 +1 lap 15

13 12 Jarno Trulli Toyota 59 +1 lap 8

Ret 6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 34 Hydraulics 1

Ret 22 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 19 Retired 16

Ret 11 Ralf Schumacher Toyota 18 Collision 9

Ret 21 Markus Winkelhock Spyker-Ferrari 13 Hydraulics 22

Ret 7 Jenson Button Honda 2 Spun off 17

Ret 20 Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 2 Spun off 21

Ret 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 2 Spun off 11

Ret 19 Scott Speed Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2 Spun off 18

Ret 18 Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2 Spun off 19

Notes

References

External links

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