Mark Webber showed dominant form at the British Grand Prix today, reeling off fastest lap after fastest lap and winning the season's 10th Formula One race in convincing fashion over Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Mark Webber, Red Bull...
Mark Webber showed dominant form at the British Grand Prix today, reeling off fastest lap after fastest lap and winning the season's 10th Formula One race in convincing fashion over Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
"Not bad for a number two driver," quipped Webber on the team radio after taking the chequered flag, referring to yesterday's "front wing incident" on the Red Bull-Renault team. The team had decided to take back Webber's updated front wing and give it to his teammate, Sebastian Vettel, after Vettel damaged his own wing in morning practice.
"It's great to win here in Silverstone," Webber said. "It's got such a lot of history and to win big races like this one and Monaco is so rewarding. It was a special day and a lot of hard work has gone in from the team - you don't get results at this level if you're not putting the effort in. They deserve this today. Yesterday was a unique situation, but I'm confident we can sort everything for the future."
Following yesterday's disappointing qualifying results for Britain's "home team", Button and Hamilton at McLaren-Mercedes, all eyes were on their rival team, Red Bull, at the start of today's British Grand Prix.
Germany's Sebastian Vettel, the pole sitter, had a disastrous first lap, after Webber slipped by and then contact with Hamilton led him to run wide. This resulted in a right rear tyre puncture, and Vettel rapidly dropped from 1st, to 24th position.
"The start was ideal," Webber recounted. "When I got to the first corner I was ahead and thought, 'let's get on with it'."
Meanwhile, Vettel's Australian teammate, Webber, completed flying lap after flying lap, leaving the rest of the pack behind him. However, Hamilton managed to keep up with Webber's pace and followed closely behind, but Webber just seemed to be unstoppable.
Red Bull's closest rivals, McLaren, had better luck in the race, than yesterday's poor qualifying performance. Hamilton finished 2nd on the podium, after attempts to catch dominant Webber, failed to come of anything.
"At the start, I was able to jump Fernando (Alonso) and take a step forward," Hamilton explained. "After that I chased Mark for the whole race, but the Red Bull was about four or five tenths a lap faster than our car, so it was very difficult to stay close to him."
Hamilton finished ahead of Mercedes driver, Nico Rosberg, who collected a few more points for the team, with a fifth third-place finish. This also demonstrates his improving race pace, and he once again out qualifying his teammate, Michael Schumacher. The seven times World Champion, managed a ninth-place finish.
Both Ferrari drivers had a bad day on the track, with the two going wheel to wheel, at one point in the race. As a result of this battle between the teammates, Alonso ended up with a puncture, and had to pit unexpectedly to repair the damage. The Spaniard also suffered at the hands of the race stewards, after racing for position with Kubica on lap 17. Alonso decided to go round the outside of the Renault driver, by avoiding the kerbs, and cutting the corner at Club.
Although it was assumed that Alonso would have to let Kubica re-pass him, the Polishman retired from the race, before Alonso got the chance to do so.
The Ferrari driver was still forced to face the consequences of his actions, with a drive drive-through penalty, but this was delayed when the safety car was deployed on lap 29. This came as a result of debris on the track, from Sutil and Pedro de la De La Rosa coming into contact.
When the restart finally arrived, Alonso's race went from bad to worse, and the drive-through put him right in the middle of the field.
"I do not wish to comment on the Stewards' decision (on the Kubica incident)," said Alonso. " The team acted correctly but the instruction to hand back the position arrived when I had already passed another driver and in the meantime, Kubica was visibly slowing down before retiring. On top of that, the penalty coincided with the Safety Car and so, rather than just losing a couple of positions, I lost around a dozen."
Alonso, like Vettel and Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa, also had a puncture, which seemed a common problem facing some drivers today. Alonso's occurred after touching with Force India's Vitantonio Liuzzi. Alonso finished out of the point scoring positions in 14th, just ahead of Ferrari teammate, Massa. With three laps to go before the race ended, Massa had to pit for new tyres, after he spun on the track.
Vettel continued to make his way from the back of the grid during the race, while making some fantastic manoeuvres. He probably did not imagine that he would be in such a position, when he began the race as pole sitter. As he made his way through the field, he had battles with Hulkenberg, Sutil and Schumacher. Vettel had secured a 7th seventh-place finish, when the chequered flag waved.
Button drove an impressive race in front of the home crowd, working his way from 14th position at the start. Button timed his pit stop perfectly, and managed his tyres longer than other drivers, which resulted in a 4th place finish for the current World Champion.
"It's hard to overtake around here, so I knew I had to make up a lot of places off the start-line," Button said. "In the event I made up six places, but I then had to push really hard on the Option tyre in the first stint. That strategy worked for us and I came out behind Fernando, who had a drive-through, so I picked up fourth."
Elsewhere in the field some of the outside teams had a positive race. Rubens Barrichello for Williams was one, who finished fifth, with Kamui Kobayashi just behind him. The Sauber driver maintains his good race performance, after his 7th place finish in Valencia two weeks ago.
In the Drivers' Championship, Button is still on the tail of Hamilton, who still leads his teammate by only 12 points as they head next to the German Grand Prix in two weeks time. Today's British Grand Prix winner, Mark Webber is 3rd in the Driver's Championshipchampionship battle, with Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel in 4th place.