Jack Evans, F1 Correspondent
Mark Webber stole victory from Fernando Alonso in the dying moments of the FIA Formula One British Grand Prix, taking the lead with four laps to go and finishing a mere three seconds ahead of the Ferrari.
While Alonso seemed to have the race locked down and Webber seemed content in second place with around twelve laps left, the gap suddenly began to shrink along with Spaniard’s Pirelli’s until Webber was within DRS range. He simply pulled the trigger and barely got around.
But I know Fernando is a wily old fox,...
“It’s taking a while to sink in this one,” Webber later said. “I think it was the circumstances of the race - for most of it I was marking off second place. Fernando was not quite out of touch and after the last stop, my engineer Ciaron came on the radio saying that Fernando was not doing much on the option tyres.
“But I know Fernando is a wily old fox, I thought he was looking after the tyres and just waiting to pull the pin and go a little bit. But when I got within two seconds I thought maybe he’s in a little bit of trouble and it was real. It was completely game on when I knew the DRS was available, I made the move stick and our hard work paid off for the win.”
Surprisingly, the race was entirely dry, despite the miserable conditions in practice and qualifying. Some teams benefitted while others lamented the lack of precipitation, such as third place finisher Sebastian Vettel.
“I saw some clouds coming and it might have helped my race,” he said. “But I was very happy for the people in the grandstands. I think they appreciated it staying dry.”
The results bring Webber within thirteen points of Driver’s Championship leader Alonso, with Vettel trailing his teammate by 16. It brings Red Bull firmly to the top of the Constructor’s.
By coming home fourth, Felipe Massa proved that Ferrari’s F2012 may be one of the dominant chassis of the season, second (and fourth) only to the Red Bull RB8.
For Massa himself, it was certainly a improvement over recent form; he actually scored more points in this round than in the every previous round of the 2012 combined.
Fifth and sixth were occupied by Lotus duo Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, the latter clawing his way up to P6 and proving his Silverstone potential after changing his front wing early on.
“I had an incident on the first corner at the start of the race where I was on outside of Lewis and had a Force India that hit me and broke my front wing,” Grosjean told reporters. “That’s when I thought that our race was going to be seriously compromised, which it would have been if the rain had come.”
But as the rain never came, it was position after position ticked off by the Frenchman, fast lap after fast lap until the end.
Hometown heroes McLaren were notably absent from the major points-scoring positions, with Lewis Hamilton equaling his starting spot at eighth and Jenson Button charging from a dismal 18th to a dismal 10th.
“It was good to get a point in my Grand Prix,” Button said. “But of course that’s not what we ought to be doing. We’re a front-running team and we’ve got a bit of work to do to start running at the front again.”
The only other Briton on the grid, Paul Di Resta, was put out by contact in the opening corners.
Michael Schumacher got around Hamilton late in the race to score seventh, albeit after starting third, and Bruno Senna ended ninth.
The only major on-track accident was Sergio Perez’s contact with Pastor Maldonado, who seems to be attracting such collisions recently. Perez exited the car and returned to the paddock in time to announce that Maldonado was “dangerous” and “stupid.”
Off-track however, four Sauber mechanics were injured when Kamui Kobayashi overshot the pit box. Their condition is not serious, and only one, a front-right tyre changer may have significant damage, to his knees.