Mark Webber charges to superb British Grand Prix victory
|By Matt Beer||Sunday, July 8th 2012, 13:31 GMT|
Red Bull's Mark Webber trimmed Fernando Alonso's Formula 1 championship lead to 13 points by hunting down and passing the Ferrari in a dramatic conclusion to a totally dry British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Sebastian Vettel completed the podium and almost managed to make it a Red Bull one-two as he gained on Alonso's tyre-troubled car at the end.
Alonso pulled out a five-second lead over Webber in the first stint and maintained it for the majority of the race. But while most of the field used soft tyres early then switched to hards, Alonso waited until his final stint to try the softs, and could not keep up his previous pace.
Webber caught up rapidly and was on the Ferrari's tail with seven laps to go, trying several moves before deploying his DRS on the run towards Brooklands on lap 48 out of 52. Alonso defended the inside as Webber swept around the outside, and after attempting to retaliate at Luffield, the Spaniard had to let Webber go and concentrate on staying clear of Vettel.
The world champion had run fifth in the opening stint before a slightly early first stop helped him jump to third, where he would finish, unable to catch Alonso in the end.
Felipe Massa spent the opening laps trying ever-more creative attempts to overtake Michael Schumacher's Mercedes for third, finally managing at Stowe on lap 11. The Ferrari lost out to Vettel in the following pit sequence, then resisted the fast-closing Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen to take fourth.
Lotus got two cars in the top six despite Romain Grosjean breaking his front wing in a brush with Paul di Resta on the first lap. The resulting puncture and associated damage ended the Force India's race, while Grosjean charged back from last to sixth.
Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button could only finish eighth and 10th in the McLarens. Hamilton spent a while in the lead and enjoyed a spirited dice with Alonso as he ran a very long first stint on hards, but then did just a handful of laps on softs before switching back to harder Pirellis. The Briton's pace then faded and he lost seventh place to Schumacher late on.
Although Button jumped to 12th at the start, his progress was less dramatic thereafter. In the closing laps he was in the thick of an epic dice for ninth with Bruno Senna and Nico Hulkenberg, won by the Williams. Hulkenberg (Force India) ran wide at Copse in the heat of battle and dropped out of the points.
The other major incident of the race involved Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez. Running seventh and ninth in the first stint, they pitted together on lap 11 but then collided at Brooklands on their out-laps. The furious Perez sustained terminal damage to his Sauber, while Maldonado dragged his Williams back to the pits for repairs and finished 16th.
Completing a bad day for Sauber, Kamui Kobayashi hit several mechanics at his final stop. Initial reports suggested there were no serious injuries and the Japanese driver continued to 11th ahead of Hulkenberg.
Nico Rosberg had a less dramatic bad pitstop during what was already a low-key midfield race, which ended with his Mercedes 15th.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The British Grand Prix Silverstone, Britain; 52 laps; 306.198km; Weather: Dry. Classified: 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 World Championship standings, round 9: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Alonso 129 1. Red Bull-Renault 216 2. Webber 116 2. Ferrari 152 3. Vettel 100 3. Lotus-Renault 144 4. Hamilton 92 4. McLaren-Mercedes 142 5. Raikkonen 83 5. Mercedes 98 6. Rosberg 75 6. Sauber-Ferrari 60 7. Grosjean 61 7. Williams-Renault 47 8. Button 50 8. Force India-Mercedes 44 9. Perez 39 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6 10. Maldonado 29 11. Di Resta 27 12. Schumacher 23 13. Massa 23 14. Kobayashi 21 15. Senna 18 16. Hulkenberg 17 17. Vergne 4 18. Ricciardo 2 All timing unofficial