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2008 Brazil GP Glock Escorted Amidst Threats

Glock Receives Death Threats Post 2008 Brazil GP

16/06/2024

After the 2008 Brazil GP, Timo Glock faced severe threats, requiring police to escort him from the circuit.

“Is that Glock?”

Everyone remembers the Hollywood-style climax of the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Timo Glock, in his Toyota, was almost at a standstill on the Interlagos track in the final laps. In the last few hundred metres of the final lap, he was overtaken by Lewis Hamilton—for the crucial fifth position.

This position was just enough for the McLaren F1 driver to clinch the world championship by a whisker, even as Felipe Massa was already being celebrated as the champion in the Ferrari garage.

This Brazilian race may well be remembered as the defining moment of the German’s F1 career and his 91 Grand Prix appearances—a perhaps unfair legacy, especially considering the negative impact it had on Glock’s everyday life and career trajectory thereafter.

Firstly, Glock firmly denied any conspiracy theories: he was simply unable to continue with his slick tyres as the rain began to fall at Interlagos.

“After the race, I experienced my craziest six months…”

“I had no idea where I was positioned. I think we were ninth or tenth, or maybe even out of the points—I don’t quite remember. Then the rain came, and the team decided we had nothing to lose. They said, ‘Stay out…’ I said, ‘Guys, it’s still dry enough to continue on slicks. And if it starts to rain and they cool down, you lose all grip.'”

“Then I was on the penultimate lap, and it was already raining in the final corner. I said, ‘Guys, I need to come in. I won’t survive the last lap. I stand no chance.’ They said, ‘Timo, you can’t come in because they were already placing barriers around the podium, and people panicked because the pit lane was blocked, much like in Baku (2023, where Ocon had to dodge people in the pitlane at the end of the race).'”

“I just tried to keep the car on the track and survive. Many cars passed me. I wasn’t really aware when Sebastian and Lewis overtook me. I was heading towards the pits and my engineer told me: listen, Lewis has won the championship.”

And in that moment, Glock did not realise that he had inadvertently crowned Lewis Hamilton!

“I went to see Lewis, congratulated him and said well done, and the cameramen and journalists ran towards me. I stepped aside because I thought they all wanted to see Lewis. They came to me and asked those questions. Did you do it on purpose? Why did you let Lewis pass? I wondered what was going on! Then my physio grabbed me, took me back to the pits, took my helmet, and explained what had happened.”

What followed was far less amusing: the Brazilian crowd, disappointed for Felipe Massa, held a grudge against Timo Glock…

“From that moment, it was mayhem. I was heading to the airport under police escort because they were afraid the Brazilian public might go mad. It was madness.”

“My parents received letters about me, saying that I should be killed. I should be banned from racing. It was really frightening for a long time, until Formula 1 released the onboard cameras. Once people saw what had happened, things calmed down a bit.”

“In the weeks and months following the race, I was afraid to leave my house, and when I thought about going to Brazil for the F1 race, I decided no, I was not going to do that race.”

“It was a crazy period.”

2008 Brazil GP Glock Escorted Amidst Threats

2008 Brazil GP: Glock Escorted Amidst Threats. 2008 Brazil GP: Glock Escorted Amidst Threats

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