European Grand Prix – Lap by Lap Race Report

Round ten of the 2007 F1 Championship comes from the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring in Germany. The circuit, known as the ‘GP-Strecke , was built in 1984 in order to keep Formula One at Nürburg following a series of fatal accidents on the famous 22.810 km Nordschleife, nicknamed the ‘green hell by Jackie Stewart.

Kimi Raikkonen will start from pole, alongside the McLaren of Fernando Alonso, and ahead of Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton will start from tenth place on the grid, his lowest grid spot of the year, after a 20g/120kph crash during final qualifying yesterday.

Rain is expected to fall in the Eifel Mountains around the start of the Grand Prix, and conditions before the start include a track temperature of 31 degrees, air temperature of 19 degrees, humidity of 55% and wind speed of 4.4mps. However, as all cars pull away on the parade lap, the track remains dry

Lap 1 Raikkonen led from the start, with Massa second. The BMWs tangled at Turn Three. David Coulthard goes off track as the rain falls. Rosberg spins. Hamilton limps back to the pit with a rear puncture.

Most of the front-runners pit at the end of the lap, however Raikkonen makes an uncharacteristic mistake and he is forced to continue around for another lap as he loses control on the pit lane entry.

Lap 2 Raikkonen makes his way around as Winkelhock, on his debut, leads the race, having started from the pit lane on wet tyres.

Lap 3 Jenson Button, Rosberg, Sutil, Speed, Hamilton and Liuzzi all came off at the first corner. Liuzzi almost collected a JCB as he went off. Safety car deployed. Hamilton leaves the engine running, and continues after being moved from a dangerous situation by marshals.

Lap 4 Race red flagged.

Lap 5 Cars line up on the grid behind the Safety Car for the restart. Mechanics are allowed to work on the cars as they are no longer under ‘Parc fermé conditions. Drivers line up in the positions in which they were in a lap before the race was red flagged, but rather than lining up on their grid positions, they sit at markers from 1 to 22 to start the race. The first lap will be from behind the safety car. More rain is expected seven minutes after the restart.

The last incident like this to happen was during the 2001 Belgium Grand Prix from Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, when Luciano Burti touched his front wing against Eddie Irvine’s rear wheel through Blanchimont, burying his car in the tyre barriers at over 180mph.

Drivers to not take the restart are Button, Sutil, Rosberg, Speed and Liuzzi.

Lap 6 Winkelhock leads all the drivers around behind the Safety Car.
Lap 7 The Safety Car continues to lead the other drivers around, with Hamilton, a lap down, allowed to pass all the pack before the restart. Hamilton pits for fuel and dry tyres. The Safety Car pulls into the pits.

Lap 8 Massa passes Winkelhock through Turn One. Hamilton struggles around the circuit on dry tyres and is lapped again.

Lap 10 Raikkonen passes Kovalainen into Turn One, only for the Renault to take the position back a corner later. Hamilton, who was twelve seconds off the pace in prior laps, sets a personal best second and third sector. Unfortunately, he still loses four seconds during the very wet Sector One.

Lap 11 Raikkonen pits and takes on fuel and dry tyres. It s a gamble from sixth position. Wurz, Davidson and Winkelhock pit. Hamilton sets the fastest lap of the race.

Lap 12 Alonso and Massa pit and exit the pit just ahead of Raikkonen. David Coulthard leads the race. Coulthard and Heidfeld pit, DC almost taken out by Hamilton as he attempts to un-lap himself.

Lap 14 Massa leads Alonso, with Raikkonen third. Winkelhock retires with car failure.

Lap 15 Raikkonen sets the fastest lap as he takes five tenths of second out of Alonso and two tenths out of his team-mate.

Lap 19 Kovalainen passes Wurz for fifth along the pit straight into Turn One. Ralf Schumacher tangles with Nick Heidfeld through the final Coca-Cola corner, Schumacher retires. Heidfeld had taken advantage of Schumacher s poor exit from the chicane and Ralf closed the door. Sato retires.

Lap 22 Eight tenths separate Alonso and Raikkonen, with Massa 3.4 seconds ahead.

Lap 26 Raikkonen makes an error during Sector One, dropping 1.7 seconds behind Alonso. Hamilton continues his charge from the back of the field.

Lap 30 Hamilton sets the fastest lap of the race, only for Massa to better it on a 1:33.351.

Lap 34 Hamilton catches Fisichella, and attempts to take thirteenth from the Italian. With two wheels on the grass, the Brit passes Fisichella toward the final Chicane.

Lap 35 Raikkonen struggles with intermittent engine problems stemming from hydraulic failure. He had fallen six seconds behind the McLaren of Alonso in the previous lap. Raikkonen pulls into the pit lane and into retirement.

Lap 37 Alonso pits.

Lap 38 Massa pits from the lead, he rejoins behind the McLaren of Hamilton who is a lap down. Massa leads Alonso by almost eight minutes.
Lap 41 Hamilton passes Barrichello for tenth. Webber pits and rejoins in fourth position behind David Coulthard.

Lap 45 Hamilton yields to Massa, allowing him to pass.

Lap 48 Rain due in seven minutes. Hamilton runs over a piece of bodywork left on the main straight, possibly a wheel cover of some kind.

Lap 49 The crowd put their raincoats on. Alonso now just over four seconds behind Massa. Kovalainen puts on intermediate tyres a serious gamble.

Lap 51 Kovalainen losing around four seconds a sector. The rain appears to be falling on the main straight.

Lap 53 Alonso and Massa pit. Hamilton continues around on dry tyres.

Lap 54 Alonso is all over the back of Massa s Ferrari.

Lap 55 Massa holds position into Turn One. Alonso appears better on the brakes, but Massa more able to put down in traction areas. Alonso overtakes Massa, touching wheels through as goes around the outside through Turn Six. Kovalainen is now in eighth after his gamble, three positions behind where he was running ahead of David Coulthard.

Final lap Hamilton, in tenth, is just over three seconds away from a World Championship point. He passes Fisichella through Turn Seven, and chases down Kovalainen.

Alonso wins, Massa second ahead of Mark Webber and Alex Wurz who fought to the end. Coulthard finished fifth, Heidfeld sixth with Kubica and Kovalainen completing the points paying positions. Hamilton missed out on a point by 1.2 seconds at the finish.