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Auto blogMon, 21 Jul 2014 13:30:00 EST
The 2014 German Formula 1 Grand Prix is the hump-day race in the season and the penultimate chance for drivers and teams to rack up points before the summer break. Trying to stay on top after his first DNF of the year at the British Grand Prix, Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Nico Rosberg didn't have to wait until the race for misfortune to find Lewis Hamilton; his British teammate crashed out of the Q2 qualifying session due to a brake failure, then had to change his gearbox due of the crash, a calamity that left him starting 20th on the grid.
Rosberg took pole ahead of the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, with Kevin Magnussen surprising everyone with a fourth place in his McLaren. Daniel Ricciardo put the first Infiniti Red Bull Racing in fifth, ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari pilot Fernando Alonso, Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat, the Force India pair of Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Perez finishing the top ten.
In a replay of events in Britain but with a German accent, a first-lap incident brought out the Safety Car and the same Brazilian was taken out of the race.
Records are made to be broken, and it seems that one may have just been snapped again. An Italian website is reporting that a Ferrari 250 GTO, owned by American collector Paul Pappalardo, recently sold for $52 million.
Now, this is far from confirmed - Pappalardo responded to questions about the sale saying, "I do not confirm these things, I have no comment about!" - and if it's a private sale, it's unlikely that we'll ever know the exact amount of the transaction. If that figure is correct, though, it easily eclipses the $35 million made in a 250 GTO sale in April of 2012, as well as the $27.5-million sale of a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider sold at RM's Monterey auctions in August.
What makes a car that had 39 examples built more valuable than one that had only 10 units produced? Racing pedigree. The 250 GTO is a racing legend, with each car having a unique provenance that is more than enough to add some serious value. According to 0-100.it, the GTO in question, 5111GT, found its first owner in French racer and winner of the 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans, Jean Guichet, back in 1963. The Frenchman used the V12-powered racer to win the GT category of the Tour de France Automobile in that same year.
Thankfully, the weekend's Formula One dramas all concerned events that happened off the track, with both Caterham and Marussia going into administration, after which a rumored boycott by the small teams was avoided. That gave the 18 drivers left on the grid freedom to focus on making the most of the Texas sunshine for Sunday's US Grand Prix.
Having finished two Free Practices behind teammate Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Lewis Hamilton, the second one just .003 behind, Nico Rosberg said he had speed in hand and proved it during qualifying, beating Hamilton to the top spot by four-tenths of a second. Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa came behind, followed by Daniel Ricciardo in the Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari, the McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen, Kimi Räikkönen in the second Ferrari, and little-team Sauber bursting out of the storm clouds into tenth, Adrian Sutil making the team's first-time Q3 appearance all year.
When it came time to race, the carbon-fiber fisticuffs began on the first lap.