Piquet leads them round quietly, and in relation to their normal approach speed to the last corner they seem to be crawling, but eventually all 26 cars wok up their places and an orderly start is given at 2:30 p.m. Frost simply leaps away in a superb start and there is the sound of engines bouncing off the rev-limiters as they all charge down to the first corner, a clinical right-and-left run-bead called romantically The Castrol-S. Frost is in the lead from Tambay and Piquet as they head down the slope to the Valvoline Corner and the Ford Corner before arriving at the Dunlop Hairpin. Meanwhile all hell has broken out behind them, for Rosberg has been slow off the mark and most of the nod-field runners have passed him before the Honda comes on song. As he goes into the first part of the Castrol-S he is alongside Senna’s Toleman, who has Cheever’s Alfa Romeo on his other side. It is all getting a bit tight and in moving left to avoid a collision with the Alfa the Toleman rides up and over the Williams-Honda, leaving a big tyre mark along the right side of the cockpit alongside Rosberg’s head! Naturally there is a lot of heavy braking and dodging about and taking to the grass, and when the dust settles Rosberg is out with a damaged right rear suspension, Senna is out is a bent rear end and only half a rear aerofoil, Surer is out with a bent Arrows, and Berger has gone off in the lone ATS and Ghinzani in his Osella also. Fabi is out on the grass on his own, but a rescue vehicle tows him back onto the track, where he re-starts and joins in late. The other five cars have run their race. The order at the front is Prost, Tambay, Piquet, Warwick, Alboreto, Arnoux, Patrese, Cheever, Lauda. Boutsen, de Angelis, the two Ligiers and then Johansson. Apart from Fabi, Mansell is last, having avoided the fracas but loses a lot of time.
It only needs a lap to see the pattern of things, Prost is waiting for no-one, least tel all his team-mate, Tambay is comfortable in second place, but Piquet is a miserable third, his BMW engine turnes down for reliability rather than performance so that he has no hope of getting to grips with the leaders. Alboreto and Arnoux are lucky to be fifth and sixth, on their known standards, and the Alfas are equally lucky to be just behind them. Lauda is slicing his way past slower cars, losing no time in making up for his poor grid position, and de Angelis is doing likewise, while Mansell is using all the power the Renault engine can deliver to get back up near the front where he belongs. It takes Lauda a mere four and half laps to get his McLaren between the two Ferraris, but there his progress ends, for Alboreto is holding on to Warwick’s Renault nicely, no that there is not room for Lauda to pick them off one at a time. He is going to have to pass the Ferrari and the Renault in one go, or stay behind them and it is soon apparent that he is staying behind them, being unsure of taking them together. Frost is pulling out a leisurely half a second a lap over Tambay and Piquet can only sit and watch the red and white car disappear into the distance, being barely able to keep up with the yellow and black French car. Boutsen makes a pit stop with his BMW-powered Arrows for a change of tyres, which drops him to the back of the depleted field and then Johansson stops with his Hart engine overheating due to a loss of coolant. Frost drones on and on round the little Motordrom, a bare 2.8 miles to the lap, looking so smooth and confident that it is difficult to accept that there is a human being in the cockpit. You begin to wonder whether Porsche has not arrived at the ultimate black-box to guide the McLaren round the computerised circuit. A study of the lap chart would show that the rest of the hour-and-a-half that Frost takes to win the Europe.
Grand Prix is not exactly filled with drama and excitement and the crowd can do little except sit or stand on the concrete embanlunents. There are no camp-fires or tents to return to on this new Islarburgrmg, or trees to climb, or forests to wander through, just a concrete stadium with cars so far away that they look like toys. Apart from Mansell working his way up to a creditable sixth place, there are no real changes other than when a car runs into trouble or stops at the pits. At the end of lap 22 there is some excitement for those lucky enough tube in the vicinity, but it does not affect the lap chart. The trio of Warwick, Alboreto and Lauda have reached a situation of stalemate and are lapping the tail enders. As they come up the slope to the final hairpin they catch up with Baldi in the white Spirit and the first two nip by under braking, leaving Lauda to either make a third into the closing gap, or hang back and follow Baldi round the corner. The Austrian makes to follow through, realised in the nick of time he isn’t going to make it and stands on the brakes. The McLaren spins in a cloud of tyre smoke and goes off onto the grass on the outside of the corner. Brilliantly, Lauda keeps the engine running and is able to drive back on the track and give chase again, without losing his place on the lap chart. However, de Angelis is now close behind the McLaren and Lauda’s Michelins have a flat spot on them which makes things vibrate a bit, but does not visibly slow him down. In spite of stories saying that his flat-spotted tyres hold him up, he goes quicker and quicker according to the Longines-Olivetti time sheets. Before his spin he has been lapping in the mid-1'25"0. By lap 29 he is down to 1'24"6 and reduces this to 1'23"9 by lap 43 and makes his fastest lap in 1'23"729 sec on lap 48. Lauda is giving it all he has got to make up for that error. One by one they begin to drop out, de Angelis with a turbocharger failure, Laffite and Alliot likewise, Fabi with gearbox trouble, Mansell with a spectacular engine blow-up which spews oil all over his rear tyres just as he brakes for the last hairpin, which spins him smartly off onto the grass, Palmer with engine trouble, Gartner with a shortage of fuel and Cheever with plenty of fuel but no pressure from the pump.
Both Renaults fail to last the distance, Tambay dropping back from a certain second place when his engine begins to cut-out on left-hand bends. It becomes so chronic that he makes a pit stop to see if anything can be done. The ignition unit is changed and he tries once more, but this is not the trouble, and after two snore laps he packs it in. Warwick’s comfortable run in fourth place, which becomes third when Tambay slows, evalwated when the left-hand exhaust system splits, making a horrid noise and losing boost-pressure on that bank of cylinders. He struggles on as best he can but eventually the lop-sided power output is more than the engine can stand and it brakes. This leaves Piquet pursues by Alboreto, in second and third places respectively, with Lauda fourth and the Ferrari driver is doing all he can to close the gap on the Brabham, but the little Brazilian has it all well under control. As Prost finishes lap 67, waving both hands at the chequered flag in relief that everything has gone right for him for a change, Piquet and Alboreto are coming up the back leg of the circuit. Suddenly the BMW engine coughs and dies, the fuel tank running dry, and the Ferrari surges by into second place, but as it rounds the last corner its engine also dies through lack of fuel. The momentum carries it towards the finishing line and behind it Piquet is weaving the Brabham about to try and get the last dregs from the tank. The BMW gives one more burst of power which accelerates the Brabham up to the tail of the Ferrari and then past it, but they are then both beyond the finishing line. Alboreto is second and Piquet third as they coast to a stop at the end of the pits lane. At the same time Hesnault’s Ligier runs out of petrol and he also coasts to a stop. Luckily being three laps behind the winner so he only has to complete 64 laps. A chastened Lauda arrives fourth, his McLaren-Porsche going as well as ever, and Proses McLaren-Porsche has run to perfection throughout the race, while the curly-haired little Frenchman has driven it to perfection to win his fifth race of the season and the 1th for McLaren International this year.