European GP - Sunday - Race Notes
Alonso wins wild European GP
Fernando Alonso won the European Grand Prix, at the Nurburgring, in his McLaren-Mercedes, 8.1 seconds ahead of the Ferrari of Felipe Massa in second - after leading most of the race - and Mark Webber in his Red Bull-Renault 57.5 seconds further back in third place.
Narrowly missing a podium by 0.2 seconds was Alexander Wurz in his Williams-Toyota in fourth place, followed by David Coulthard in the second Red Bull-Renault, Nick Heidfeld in the BMW in sixth, his team mate Robert Kubica in seventh and Heikki Kovalainen in the Renault in the final points paying position. Lewis Hamilton finished ninth in his McLaren-Mercedes - the young British drivers first F1 finish off the podium.
The Spainard's third win of the season closes him to just two points behind Hamilton in the Drivers' Championship.
As the cars rolled off the grid, the track was dry, but rain was threatening. Winkelhock pitted at the end of the formation lap for wet tyres. At the start Raikkonen took the lead from Massa and Alonso, while the two BMWs get together on at the second turn, with Kubica spinning. During the first lap Coulthard and Rosberg have offs, while most of the field pits for rain tyres, while the skies open with rain - Raikkonen overshooting the pitlane entrance and needing to make another lap.
Winkelhock takes over the lead, while Button, Sutil, Hamilton, Rosberg, Speed and Luizzi all slid off at the end of the first turn as the a torrential downpour envelopes the track.
On lap 3 the Safety Car is deployed, with Markus Winkelhock, in his first Formula 1 start, leading Massa, Alonso, Webber, Coulthard, Kovalainen, Raikkonen, Wurz, Barrichello and Fisichello in tenth, followed by Kubica, Schumacher, Sato, Trulli, Heidfeld, Davidson and Hamilton the final runner a lap down in 17th place - Button, Sutil, Rosberg, Speed and Liuzzi all out of the race.
On lap 4 the red flag comes out, and the cars are led back to the grid by the Safety Car to wait for the restart, while the rain eases and the sun comes out.
With the track drying the field rolled off again behind the Safety Car for three laps, with Hamilton being allowed to overtake the Safety Car rejoining on the tail of the lead lap, and pitting for fuel and dry tyres.
The race restarted on lap 7, Massa and Alonso passing Winkelhock into the first corner, the German quickly being overtaken by the frontrunners. Hamilton meanwhile was struggling on dry tyres, being put a lap down once again.
At lap 8 the order was Massa leading Alonso, followed by Coulthard, Webber, Kovalainen, Raikkonen, Wurz, Winkelhock and Barrichello in tenth.
On lap 10 Webber passes Coulthard for third place, while right behind Raikkonen is fighting for a way past Kovalainen.
On lap 11 Raikkonen and Wurz pit for dry tyres, while Hamilton sets the fastest lap on drys, while on the next lap Massa, Alonso, Webber, Kovalainen, Fisichella, Schumacher, Kubica, Barrichello, Sato and Trulli pit, while Coulthard and Heidfeld pit on lap 13.
On lap 14 Winkelhock, after a dramatic debut pulls off the track with a mechanical failure.
At lap 15 the order was Massa leading Alonso by 2.4 seconds, followed Raikkonen 2.4 seconds further back in third, followed by Webber, Wurz, Kovalainen, Coulthard, Kubica, Schumacher and Heidfeld in tenth place, while Hamilton, putting in a number of fastest laps, in 16th place, 1m25s behind the leaders.
On lap 18 Kovalainen overtakes Wurz into the first corner to take fifth place.
On lap 19 Ralf Schumacher and Heidfeld make contact with Schumacher spinning off in the final corner, getting stuck in the gravel trap. while Sato pulls off the track and retires.
At lap 25 Massa slowly pulls out his lead to 4.8 seconds ahead of Alonso, with Raikkonen right behind, followed 15 seconds further back by Webber, Kovalainen, Wurz, Coulthard, Kubica, Heidfeld and Fisichella in tenth - Hamilton 1m22s behind in 14th.
On lap 27 Kovalainen pits from fifth place, followed by Fisichella on lap 30.
On lap 33 Hamilton passes Fisichella around the outside for 13th place.
On lap 34 Raikkonen slows and limps back to the pits retiring from third place with an apparent hydraulic failure.
On lap 35 Trulli and Hamilton pit, followed by Alonso from second place, Wurz and Heidfeld on lap 37, and Massa the following lap - retaining the lead, and Kubica and Barrichello on lap 39.
At lap 40 the order was Massa leading Alonso by 7.2 seconds, followed by Webber in third, Coulthard, Wurz, Kovalainen, Kubica, Heidfeld, Fisichella and Barrichello in tenth.
On lap 41 Webber pits from third rejoining behind his team mate.
On lap 42 Hamilton passes Barrichello for tenth place.
On lap 43 Coulthard pits from third place, Webber retaking the position.
On lap 47 an aerodynamic wheel spat got loose from Fisichella's Renault in the braking area for the first turn - several cars narrowly missing it.
On lap 49 with rain threatening, Kovalainen makes his final stop for fuel and put on intermediate wet tyres - taking a strategic gamble.
At lap 50 Alonso continued to chip away at Massa's lead, the gap down to 4.4 seconds, followed by Webber, Wurz, Coulthard, Kubica, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Fisichella and Hamilton in tenth place.
On lap 52 Fisichella passes Kovalainen for eighth place - the Finn struggling on wet tyres with sprinkles of rain around the track.
On lap 53 Massa, Alonso, Coulthard, Kubica, Fisichella and Barrichello pit for intermediate tyres with rain falling once again, followed by Webber, Wurz and Heidfeld pitting on the next lap.
On lap 54 Massa and Alonso battled for the lead, the two cars touching, with Alonso passing the Brazilian to take the victory.