Pit Stop – Did that just Happen? – By Lewis Brearley

Unbelievable is one of those, alongside fantastic and awesome, which has been systematically stripped and devalued of its original meaning.

But what happened in motorsport last weekend at both Silverstone and Assen was unbelievable in its literal, powerful sense.

On Saturday, the Dutch TT saw Valentino Rossi prove the naysayers wrong as he took his first victory since Sepang 2010. The seven times champion was supported by vast swathes of the on looking fans and suddenly, the glory and energy of Rossi in his prime had returned.

He had put in a performance a step above his recent average and was able to race and beat his young rivals.

Behind the great Italian, the race was one of the most absorbing of recent times. Jorge Lorenzo heroically finished fifth, just two days after fracturing his collarbone in a horrific crash in wet weather. After the race Lorenzo slumped over his handlebars, exhausted after what he personally claimed was his finest performance.

It was undoubtedly his gutsiest and bravest and for his championship hunt could be vital as he only lost two points to Dani Pedrosa.

Pedrosa lost out to his rookie team mate, Marc Marquez and Yamaha satellite rider Cal Crutchlow who was whiskers away from a career best second place finish.

The following day provided further gripping action, this time via the mode of four wheels.

The British F1 grand prix is always one of the most spectacular races of the season, as the cars race around some of the highest speed corners in the world while the track itself is encased by a ribbon of passionate fans.

This year’s race had overtaking right until the chequered flag but was marred by tyre problems. Sergio Perez, Jean-Eric Vergne, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Gutierrez and – most significantly for the British fans and the race itself – Lewis Hamilton all suffered blowouts. While Alonso’s was a slow puncture taking place right before the entrance to the pitlane, the others were spectacular, explosive and dangerous.

Hamilton looked set for a secure win and his tyre failure lost him a costly 25 points. But the bigger issue was of safety. Sizeable pieces of rubber and the metal belt inside them are not appropriate items to be flying around a race track. Kimi Raikkonen took a piece to the head, which fortunately didn’t cause any injury, but Felipe Massa could easily tell you the dangers of loose debris.

It was a public relations disaster for Pirelli, but the teams are right to speak out in support of them. The company has the aim of providing high performance, high degradation tyres while only having a two year old car to test its products on.

Levels of downforce have moved on since then and this has caused unforeseen issues with the constructions.

Changes have been made for this weekend, gone is the metal belt and in is more rigorous running restrictions and camber angles.

More than hoping for an exciting German grand prix, this time let us hope for a safe one.

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