The European Grand Prix has been stopped after five laps when a sudden storm shortly after the start of the race caused carnage down the field, eliminating five cars in just three laps and damaging many more.

Although speculation of rain was rife down the grid, the first spots began to fall as the cars embarked on their formation lap but by the end of the first lap the rain was falling heavily, causing numerous clashes down the field.

The weather only got worse with rivers quickly forming across the track, the cars originally piling in for intermediate tyres but returning just a lap later to take on extreme wet tyres to indicate the sudden change in weather.

At this point an inspired tyre choice by Spyker before the race meant Markus Winkelhock claimed the lead midway round lap two and he will now remarkably begin the restarted race from pole position having qualified last.

The race was actually stopped after five laps when Jenson Button - up to fourth at this time -, Nico Rosberg, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed and Adrian Sutil all slid off within seconds of each other at turn one as they failed to get their cars stopped in time.

Lewis Hamilton was also a victim of the bad conditions at the turn having already pitted to replace a punctured rear tyre, picked up when he was involved in a collision between the two BMWs, but he managed to keep the engine running and once dropped from the tractor he was able to continue albeit a lap down.

With the rain having stopped falling and the sun out, but the track still very wet, Winkelhock will now start from pole ahead of Felipe Massa, who managed to get the jump on Kimi Raikkonen after he mis-judged the grip and slid back onto the track when trying to navigate the pit lane, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, David Coulthard, Heikki Kovalainen, Raikkonen and Alex Wurz.

More rain is predicted though...

 

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