Kovalainen crash has eerily familiar echo

The accident which befell McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen occurred on the 22nd lap of the Spanish Grand Prix, when he was running in the lead during the first round of pit stops after winner Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica had all just refuelled.

It may have been caused by a wheel failure similar to that suffered during qualifying for the Grand Prix of Europe at the Nurburgring last year by Lewis Hamilton, when a front wheel broke.

It occurred as he entered Turn Nine, which is normally taken at 180mph in the sixth of seven gears.

The left front tyre deflated suddenly, and though the car lost some speed as it headed straight across the gravel bed, it still buried itself heavily into the protective tyre barrier exactly as Hamilton's car had last July.

For a while it looked like a very unpleasant replay of Hamilton's incident, and it took a while to extract and stabilise the Finn at the accident scene, but he gave a thumbs up as he was taken by stretcher to the medical centre. Later he was flown to hospital for precautionary checks, where his condition was described as stable. "I'm glad that Heikki is OK," Hamilton said with evident relief. "I came past and saw a car in the wall, but it just looked red so I wasn't sure if it was one of us or a Ferrari.

"Then I caught a glimpse of the accident on the TV footage [on one of the giant screens around the circuit] and it was very, very reminiscent of my incident last year at the Ring, so I was terrified for whoever it was.

"Then the team told me it was Heikki. Ron [Dennis] came on the radio halfway through and said he was OK but lightly concussed, so I'm sure he'll bounce back."

Hamilton said that he wasn't at all worried about something similar happening to his own car. "If you let those things get into your mind you're in trouble, you just put yourself in the wrong position.

"It never crossed my mind once. The team have done a great job and the car was very reliable, and that enabled me to push hard to finish."

Race winner Kimi Raikkonen also had his moments of concern for his fellow countryman.

"I didn't know which McLaren it was until my pit said it was Heikki," the world champion said. "Fortunately it looked worse than it was in the end. I'm happy that Heikki is OK."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
British musician Mark Ronson arrives for the UK premiere of the film 'Mortdecai'
music
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us