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The European Grand Prix - 22nd July 2007

Fernando Alonso clearly delighted with his win in the European Grand Prix

Possibly one of the most eventful and unpredictable Grand Prix weekends came to an end with Fernando Alonso pulling back 10 of the outstanding 12 points his team mate Lewis Hamilton was leading him by, bringing his third World Championship sharply back into focus.

Lewis, on the other hand, did not have a very lucky weekend, a 150mph crash during qualifying proving to be only the tip of the iceburg! Despite keeping his engine running and being able to get back on the track with a little help from the marshalls during the torrential rain of the first few minutes of the race, then un-lapping himself under the safety-car, an unfortunate tyre choice gamble did not pay off, leaving Lewis approximately 80 seconds behind the leaders for the entire race. However, he considers it all good experience, and that it will make him stronger for next time.

For Ferrari also a mixed weekend with a reliability issue for Kimi Raikkonen's car putting him out of the race just after the half way point, and Felipe Massa standing on the podium.

Felipe and Fernando enjoyed a thrilling tussle for the lead when Massa's convincing lead was shortened by a second period of rain. We are often told that Formula One is dull these days because there is little or no overtaking possible, but this was clearly not on the minds of the two racers when fighting for the top of the podium over the last few laps, the cars touching in the struggle.

Redbull's Mark Webber took third place in what he described as a race of "attrition"...: "I must admit I wasn’t too disappointed when I saw Kimi retiring - but we still had to complete a 300km race and we were there at the finish with both cars. That’s called for a great effort from everyone and today’s result is really for the team.”

The European Grand Prix

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."

FELIPE MASSA "A second place that leaves a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. I had driven a strong race right up until the last rain shower, then once I had the rain tyres on, I immediately felt vibrations which made the car very unbalanced. And that, after I had been really strong when it had been wet in the early stage of the race. In the dry, I managed to gradually make up ground on Alonso because the car was great. I was lucky at the start because I managed to stay on track when the conditions meant it was almost impossible, but then I was not so lucky at the end. But that's racing and I have to accept it. The discussion with Fernando? I was a bit on edge but then he apologized and that was the end of it. The positive side is that I have made up a lot of ground in the Drivers' classification. There is still a long way to go this season and we have to be confident."

The rain played a dominant part in the European Grand Prix

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 Nürburgring 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."

KIMI RAIKKONEN "I am very disappointed. I was in a good position, immediately right behind Felipe and Alonso and the car was very quick and I was convinced I could win. But gradually, the hydraulic system began to malfunction, I began to lose time and then I was forced to stop. This knock back does not mean I feel like giving up the fight, even if there is now one less race in which to compete. The gap to the head of the classification remains the same and anything can happen in the seven remaining races. We have a very competitive car but clearly we have to improve on the reliability front."

The McLaren team at the European Grand Prix

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."

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