Nelson Piquet may have saved his Formula 1 career with his opportunistic second place at Hockenheim – exactly 30 years after his father made his Grand Prix debut at the same venue.
In Germany the Renault driver ran a longer first stint than anyone else and was able to pit just seconds before a safety car came out. That put him into third for the restart, and when Lewis Hamilton and Nick Heidfeld later made their final stops, he moved into the lead. Hamilton later re-passed him, but Piquet was able to stay clear of title contender Felipe Massa. It was the first time that two Brazilian drivers had stood on an F1 podium since Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet Sr finished first and third at Spa in 1991. Piquet Jr’s only previous score was seventh in France, where he passed team-mate Fernando Alonso.
“We’ve had a lot of bad weekends, and I think this is one of our first good weekends,” Piquet told Motor Sport. “It’s all good to motivate the team and cheer everybody up, and just gives more credibility to everybody.”
With Alonso’s future at Renault in doubt, it is not clear who might be at the team next year.