Guest Author - Christine Blachford
This season has been pretty clear of any unseasonal weather. It was hot in Bahrain and Malaysia, as it always is, and it was temperate in France and Monaco as it should be. It’s about time we had a bit of rain to mess things up, and in Europe – or Germany to be more precise – that’s exactly what happened.
The weekend got off to a tumultuous start when championship leader and superstar rookie Lewis Hamilton had a speedy crash during qualifying. The third session of the Saturday afternoon was red flagged while the debris was cleared and he was taken to the medical centre. Nothing too serious and he was later cleared to start the race on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Raikkonen qualified on pole, his team mate in third and Fernando Alonso sandwiched between the two. Hamilton started from tenth.
Everyone managed to get through the first corner safely, which seems to be happening more and more this season, but after only a couple of laps the heavens opened. It absolutely poured down turning the track into a swimming pool. The notorious turn 1 hairpin became an ice rink, as first Button span off and crashed into the wall. Hamilton followed, and then four more cars aquaplaned off the track and into the gravel.
Given that none of the cars could successfully make it round the track in one piece, the race was red flagged. The weather was given a chance to subside and then the cars restarted under the safety car. The new rules for 2007 mean that the safety car went round for a couple of laps extra, whilst the back markers sped past everyone to unlap themselves. In this case it just happened to be Lewis Hamilton. Because he had spun off, and had a bit of trouble with a puncture, he was at the back of the field. Meanwhile, as the race restarted, new boy Markus Winkelhock was leading. In a Spyker. This is because he started from the pit lane and on wet tyres. Whilst everyone else was diving in the pits to change their boots, Winkelhock was sitting pretty at the front.
So, after the chaos of the rain and the restart, the race settled down into the normal familiar pattern. But the order was all mixed up, and there were plenty of confusing tyre strategies to try and figure out. Trying to work out what pit stop strategies the teams were on was also pretty difficult, but in the end it worked out that the top two teams took 1st and 2nd, this time Alonso followed by Massa.