European GP: McLaren race notes

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Fernando Alonso claimed victory at a chaotic European Grand Prix. Fernando overtook Felipe Massa four laps from the end and achieved the team's fifth win in the 10th race of the season. Lewis Hamilton ended up...

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Fernando Alonso claimed victory at a chaotic European Grand Prix. Fernando overtook Felipe Massa four laps from the end and achieved the team's fifth win in the 10th race of the season. Lewis Hamilton ended up ninth. Due to the changeable weather conditions, both drivers made four pit stops.

Fernando came in on laps 1 (10 sec), 12 (7.7sec), 37 (7.7sec) and 53 (7.1sec). Lewis made his stops on laps 1 (10.4 sec), 6 (9.2.sec), 35 (9.3sec) and 54 (10 sec). Despite missing the podium and a points finish for the first time in the 10 Grands Prix of his Formula One career, Lewis maintained the lead in the Drivers' Championship with 70 followed by Fernando in second position with 68 points. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes extended the lead in the constructors' table with 138 points ahead of Ferrari on 111.

Fernando Alonso:

"This was a really exciting race for both the drivers and all the fans. The conditions were unbelievable -- mainly at the start when we were just aquaplaning everywhere. In the dry conditions the Ferraris were a little faster but in the final stages when the rain started again, we were quicker and I was able to overtake Felipe to take the lead. During this battle we touched twice, but that is motor racing, and we were fighting for victory."

"There was a close one in the pitlane during my last stop where there was a lot of traffic, and I was side-by-side with Giancarlo. All in all a good weekend for me, and I gained valuable World Championship points for both me and the team. In difficult conditions the team did a great job."

Lewis Hamilton:

"This was an extraordinary weekend and a new experience for me. Initially I made a good start and was sixth. I got into fourth when the two BMWs went off, and I picked up a puncture and had to pit. The team took advantage of this and fitted rain tyres, but it just got too slippery and I went off. I managed to keep the engine running, and a crane was able to get me free -- thank you Nurburgring Marshalls."

"The race was then red flagged. After the restart I pushed as much as I could to catch up, but when you are almost a lap down you really have to rely on other people's misfortune. I was able to get ninth in the end after passing a Renault on the last lap, but no points."

Ron Dennis:

"This was motor racing at its best. Fernando did a fantastic job demonstrating why he is a double World Champion. First of all, he kept the car on the road during the first downpour. From that moment both him and the team made all the right decisions. However his second stint following the switch to dry tyres was hampered by a wing adjustment tool failing and as a result he struggled with understeer, but fortunately in his third stop we were able to properly adjust the wing, and from there his pace was fantastic. Following the final stop to fit the intermediate rain tyres he and the car came into their own and it was great to be part of such a tremendous drive and a great race win."

"Lewis's race was truly eventful. Following a great start which saw him move from 10th to fourth, he picked up a puncture and immediately went into the pits. Fortunately we were able to take advantage of this and fit the intermediate tyres but he was a little ambitious in trying to push forward in what were appalling conditions and spun, but fortunately kept the engine running. On being lifted back on the circuit he was able to continue. Following the red flag period it took a while for the time keepers to establish that he had to drive through the field and past the Safety Car."

"Once this was done he decided to take the gamble and fit dry tyres and refuel. Unfortunately before being able to drive to the back of the pack, the Safety Car pitted and he was quickly swallowed up by those cars that were still equipped with rain tyres. After three laps the circuit dried, and he was ultimately able to unlap himself and then set numerous fastest laps to eventually finish one place out of the points. To come away with Fernando closing the gap on Lewis and the team extending its lead in the Constructors' Championship by two points is a great conclusion to a challenging Grand Prix."

Norbert Haug:

"The best and most exciting race of the year. In rarely seen difficult conditions. Fernando did a fantastic job and achieved a well-deserved victory. He was a class of his own in the rain. Lewis was the fastest driver in the field for many laps with a car the mechanics had repaired over night and I thank them for their great efforts. All of them worked together -- Fernando's guys and Lewis's guys and the Mercedes engine colleagues too."

"It is great to win on home soil, and I am sure the spectators here and in front of the TVs enjoyed it a lot. Both drivers are at the top of the overall ranking within two points and in the Constructors' Championship, we extended our lead to 27 points. In the first ten races we have shown reliability and everybody in the team will work hard to continue this achievement until after the end of the season."

-credit: mclaren

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso , Norbert Haug , Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren