Lewis Hamilton crashes in qualifying
By Giles Mole and agencies
Last Updated: 6:39pm BST 21/07/2007
Lewis Hamilton will race in tomorrow's European Grand Prix pending a final medical examination in the morning, despite suffering a frightening crash in qualifying.
The World Championship leader, 22, careered across a gravel trap before burying the nose of his car into the tyres at the Nurburgring after a faulty airgun led to the front-right wheel working loose.
The incident occurred with just over five minutes remaining of the final 15-minute qualifying session.
The session was immediately red-flagged and brought to a halt with Hamilton soon attended to by stewards. An ambulance was also quickly at the scene.
After 13 minutes Hamilton was eventually lifted into the back of the ambulance with his neck in a precautionary brace, while he was also put on a drip.
However, Hamilton was able to indicate he was okay as he waved his right arm and gave a thumbs-up sign.
He sustained no injuries, while CT scans taken at a nearby military hospital have also come back clear.
Hamilton will now undergo a procedural, mandatory check in the morning to be conducted by the FIA's medical delegate, Gary Hartstein.
"It was a bit unfortunate, but I am feeling fine," said Hamilton outside the McLaren garage after being released from hospital.
"I'm very fortunate, very lucky that I haven't got any bruises - although I'm sure tomorrow I'll wake up with some.
"But the most important thing is I am okay, and the team are doing a good job to make sure we have a good car for tomorrow.
"Ron (Dennis) says I have to be signed off tomorrow morning, so we have to wait and see, but I feel fine for the race, so fingers crossed."
Team boss Dennis said: "He has no bruising, he has no damage anywhere, he is not sore anywhere.
"He is absolutely fine, all the scans are fine, and at this moment in time there is no medical reason why he can't race.
"But the procedure is he will have a night's sleep and he will have a final, mandatory check in the morning with Gary Hartstein. It is a procedural thing.
"The most disturbing thing was we couldn't speak to him. It took 30 to 45 seconds to realise the impact had failed the radio, and in that period there was no dialogue and no reassurance of him saying 'I'm fine'.
"Also, the camera position showing him exercising his legs was quite alarming. You don't know if he was doing that as a result of pain or some other problem.
"It was really only when I got to the medical centre did I have a clear understanding of how he was.
"We did get a report back from the medical team at the accident that he was conscious and stable, but that doesn't really convey much. So it was pretty distressing up until the point I knew he was actually fine.
"The first thing he then said to me when I saw him was 'I want to race'."
Hamilton will start from 10th on the grid should he be fit.
Ahead of Hamilton it will be Kimi Raikkonen on pole, with the Finn aiming for a hat-trick of successive victories for the first time in his career after wins in France and Britain.
It is Raikkonen's second pole for Ferrari, and his first since the opening race of the season in Australia, posting a time of one minute, 31.450 seconds.
Fernando Alonso is also on the front row, but only just, after almost losing his McLaren in the middle sector on his last lap.
The reigning double world champion has at least managed to split the Ferraris, with Felipe Massa starting from third.
Lewis Hamilton crashes in qualifying - Telegraph