Mark Webber took victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone as the outcome was decided at the start of the race as pole-sitter Vettel ran wide and then picked up a puncture that ruined his race. Lewis Hamilton stuck like glue to the back of Webber and finished second in what will be seen as a great result, given their team’s woes over Friday and Saturday. Nico Rosberg scored the third podium finish for Mercedes this season as he finished third.
McLaren’s woeful weekend was bettered further by the fourth place finish for a resurgent Jenson Button. Williams’ Rubens Barrichello finished 5th, BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi in 6th place with Sebastian Vettel recovering to take home 7th place and leading an all-German line-up of Adrian Sutil in 8th, Michael Schumacher in 9th and Nico Hulkenberg in 10th.
The race went off to an exhilarating start as Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton, starting on the dirty side of the track, had a better start than pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, who were on the cleaner side of the track. As they approached the fist corner, Webber had his nose in front and Vettel was forced wide onto the grass and then got tagged in the back by Hamilton and picked up a rear puncture. In the blink of an eye, he went from pole-sitter to end-propper as an early pit-stop put paid to his hopes of a repeat win at Silverstone.
Felipe Massa was another big loser in the first lap as a coming together with his teammate Alonso caused a right-rear puncture and he too had to undergo a quick pit-stop. Renault’s Robert Kubica had a good start and was upto third ahead of Rosberg and Alonso and so did McLaren’s Jenson Button, who jumped up from 14th on the grid up into 8th. For the ensuing few laps, Kubica lead a train of 6-7 cars, some faster than him but unable to pass and all the time, Webber and Hamilton were edging ahead with each lap. By the time the pit-stops came up, Hamilton pitted and rejoined in second place whilst Webber held onto his lead after his stop.
If Ferrari’s race was compromised by Massa’s first-lap puncture and subsequent pit-stop, it was further ruined when Alonso overtook Kubica by cutting a chicane and was handed a drive-through penalty. Kubica’s race ended a few laps later with suspension problems but in spite of that, Alonso had to serve his penalty. And it went from bad to worse as the Safety Car was celled in coz there were debris on the track & while without it Alonso would’ve dropped back a couple of places, with the field bunched up, he dropped down to 16th. From starting on 3rd and 7th on the grid, they finished 14th and 15th and took home zero points!
There was racing up and down the order with several little battles and some aggressive overtaking manoeuvres, especially from Vettel who was barging up the order. Hulkenberg & Schumacher were left in the wake as Vettel stormed past them. The Force Indias were in the thick of the action as well as Sutil manfully held off Vettel towards the end laps but ultimately lost out on the last lap. Liuzzi had to fend off a marauding Alonso towards the latter stages of the race but he too lost out ultimately and finished just outside the points. The race saw just the four retirements – Lucas di Grassi, Robert Kubica, Pedro de la Rosa and Jaime Algersuari all not classified.
The result keeps Lewis Hamilton still in the lead of the Drivers’ Championship with a 12 point advantage over teammate Jenson Button. Mark Webber is in third with a 7 point edge over teammate Sebastian Vettel. Alonso lies 23 points adrift in fifth place with the championship hopes looking very bleak indeed for the Spaniard. McLaren hold a 29 point advantage in the Constructors’ Championship over Red Bull with Ferrari a further 84 points adrift. It seems to be a four-horse race for the Drivers’ and a two-horse race for the Constructors’ titles this year.
The next race is in a fortnight’s time, the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim – a race in which Mark Webber scored his maiden Grand Prix victory and Red Bull scored a 1-2. Who’s betting against them to repeat the feat again? Not if the McLaren’s have anything have to do with it!