Webber shines at Silverstone

Mark Webber claimed his second win of the season in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. For most of the race it looked like Fernando Alonso was going to repeat his 2011 Silverstone victory for Ferrari, until Red Bull’s Mark Webber was able to dramatically pass the Ferrari driver with just five laps remaining.

Webber and Alonso dominated proceedings having both started from the front row. Alonso on pole took advantage of his hard-compound Pirelli tyres to race away from the field, leaving Webber on the soft Pirellis to chase him from a distance. Alonso maintained his advantage after their first round of pit-stops, but after that stop Webber also changed to the hard compound. This would make the final stint critical as Webber had the options on which tyres to use, Alonso however would be forced to change to the less competitive soft tyres.

The gap Alonso had was maintained through the second stint but when Webber pitted on lap 33 it forced Alonso’s hand. Alonso made the switch to the soft tyres on lap 37 and the fight was on. The gap was 3.9s on Lap 38, but then it started to gradually reduce as Alonso struggled with his new tyres and traffic. By Lap 45 Webber was on his prey, but he was unable to find a way past as Alonso held on for two more laps. On lap 48 however he would finally succumb to the inevitable as the Red Bull swept round the outside of him at Luffield and raced away to what was ultimately an easy victory.

Alonso hung on for second, and finished just ahead of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. Vettel had a poor start and had to fight back through the field. He also sustained some front-wing damage in the early running having fallen behind Merecedes’ Michael Schumacher and the Ferrari of Felipe Massa. Great pit-stop strategy from Red Bull, bringing him in on lap 10, allowed him to pump in some quick times to then jump Massa and Schumacher on his way to claim the final place on the podium.

Massa just about took fourth place as Kimi Raikkonen yet again ended a race with great pace in the Lotus. The Finn was less than a second adrift of the Brazilian in the end. Romain Grosjean made it a good day for the Enstone team by climbing from last place after a brush with Force India’s Paul di Resta on the opening lap, to take sixth. Di Resta was the first retirement as a result, with suspected suspension damage.

After an impressive qualifying performance, Schumacher could not hold on to the third place he held initially. As the race went on he gradually slipped back to seventh, he did however have a small highlight by overtaking Lewis Hamilton as the Briton struggled to keep up the pace. Hamilton had led briefly after Alonso’s first stop after a terrific opening stint which had seen him go six laps further than Alonso had gone on the same hard-compound tyres. The McLaren struggled more than anyone on the soft tyre, and when Hamilton’s final set of hard tyres did perform as well as his first, he was unable to do better than eighth.

McLaren team-mate Jenson Button took 10th, but only after Bruno Senna ahead of him had unsettled Nico Hulkenberg who had held ninth for many laps in the surviving Force India. The German slid off trying to repass the Brazilian’s Williams at Copse on the second last lap, handing Senna two points and Button the final one for McLaren. Much like Hamilton, Button once again complained of a general lack of grip with the car as his recent struggles continued.

Kamui Kobayashi took 11th after a strong race, unfortunately his performance was marred by him hitting three mechanics when he overshot his pit during his second stop. Thankfully no-one was seriously injured, but the stewards understandably were not impressed and fined the Japanese driver €25,000.

Hulkenberg ultimately fell to 12th, ahead of the duelling Toro Rossos of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, who swapped places at the end and were only two seconds apart. Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes could only manage 15th, after dropping out of point contention when his left-front wheel presented problems during his second pit stop.

Pastor Maldonado was another who should possibly have scored points, but after he came into the pits with Sergio Perez for their first pit stops on the lap 11; the Venezuelan was involved in another clash when he clipped the Sauber of Sergio Perez as they battled for position. They both spun, however the incensed Mexican was forced to retire thanks to suspension damage. The stewards subsequently reprimanded Maldonado and fined him €10,000 for causing an avoidable collision.

With Vitaly Petrov’s Caterham engine failing in the pit lane prior to the start, Caterham squad were down to just Heikki Kovalainen who was first of the start up squads of 2010 when he brought his Caterham home 17th, well ahead of the Marussias of Timo Glock and Charles Pic, and the HRTs of Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan.

Webber’s win moves him to 116 points, with Alonso still leading on 129. Behind them, Vettel is now third on 100 from Hamilton on 92 and Raikkonen on 83. Red Bull have also managed to extend their sizeable lead in the constructors’ championship. They lead with 216 points, with Ferrari and Lotus behind on 152 and 144 respectively. They both leapt ahead of McLaren who are on 142 following this weekend‘s race.


The British Grand Prix
Silverstone, Britain;
52 laps; 306.198km;
Weather: Dry.


Pos Driver Team Time
1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1h25:11.288
2. Alonso Ferrari + 3.060
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 4.836
4. Massa Ferrari + 9.519
5. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 10.314
6. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 17.101
7. Schumacher Mercedes + 29.153
8. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 36.463
9. Senna Williams-Renault + 43.347
10. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 44.444
11. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 45.370
12. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 47.856
13. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 51.241
14. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 53.313
15. Rosberg Mercedes + 57.394
16. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
18. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
19. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
20. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
21. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps

Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:34.661

Not classified/retirements:

Driver Team On lap
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 14
Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 3
Petrov Caterham-Renault 1


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