Had the European Grand Prix been 58 laps of the Nurburgring, Kimi Raikkonen would have been a winner for McLaren. Instead, starting the 59th and last lap, the front suspension failed and Raikkonen was pitched off the road at over 170 mph - handing victory to Fernando Alonso.
The Finn had dominated the race but as it wore on he developed a vibrating front wheel. The team advised him to stay out and nurse the car to the end but the vibration was so bad that it affected the suspension. With a set of tyres having to last for qualifying and the race, preservation was essential and the McLaren team told Raikkonen to back off and ease the car to the flag. Alonso closed to within a second and so Raikkonen needed to push again. He did so with disastrous results. The vibration was caused by a flat-spotted tyre after he had locked up avoiding Jacques Villeneuve's Sauber.
When the suspension let go on the last lap, Alonso inherited the lead to score victory with Nick Heidfeld second. The Williams-BMW driver had made history earlier in the weekend by being the first German driver to qualify on pole position for a German race in a car with a German engine.
Third was Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari with team-mate Michael Schumacher fifth behind David Coulthard, again netting points for the ever-improving Red Bull team.