On lap 22 McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen appeared to suffer some kind of failure on his MP4-23. At turn 8 his car started to turn into the right-hander, but then straightened up and shot over the gravel and contacted the tyre-barrier. The impact speed looked high (140mph according to ITV) and Kovalainen did not immediately jump out of the McLaren.
The safety car was immediately deployed with the Medical car in tow. Marshals swarmed over the McLaren trying to assess Heikki’s condition, but from the camera view, the McLaren went very deep into the barrier.
The doctors are suggesting that Kovalainen is okay. One said Heikki said he was fine, and another says he is 100% okay. We await official word though.
Heikki was stretchered away, waving to the crowds and giving the thumbs up. From the replay shown, it appears the Finn has a deflated front-left tyre. McLaren still don’t know exactly what has happened, but have suggested a stone got between the rim and tyre and caused the tyre to let go.
Currently, Kovalainen is being flown by helicopter to hospital for checks. Although his legs don’t appear to have been strapped and set, indicating no broken bones.
I will post more news when it becomes available.