NUERBURGRING, Germany (AP) _ Johnny Herbert of Britain won the European Grand Prix on Sunday and Mika Hakkinen took the lead in the drivers' standings.

Herbert drove safely through intermittent rain for the third Formula One victory of his career and the first for the Stewart-Ford team in its three seasons on the circuit.

Hakkinen finished fifth and assumed sole possession of first place in the standings after none of the other three contenders finished in the points.

The Finn charged back in his McLaren-Mercedes after dropping far behind. He gained two points to take the lead at 62 points, two ahead of seventh-place finisher Eddie Irvine of Ferrari. There are two races left in the season.

Herbert finished in 1 hour, 41 minutes, 54.314 seconds. Jarno Trulli in a Prost-Peugeot was second, 22.618 seconds behind. Rubens Barrichello, in the second Stewart, placed third.

Only nine drivers finished the race out of 22 starters and the lead changed hands six times.

Pedro Diniz of Brazil crashed badly at the start when his car flipped in a collision with Alexander Wurz of Austria.

Diniz was taken from his wrecked Sauber, with a brace placed around his neck. He was seen giving the thumbs-up sign as he was taken into an ambulance.

Wurz, driving a Benetton, was trying to avoid Damon Hill's Jordan when he drove into Diniz in the second corner of the first lap. Wurz escaped unhurt and Hill had to abandon the race.