Red Bull Hunts down Ferrari

Mark Webber chose the perfect strategy and paced his race to
perfection to catch and pass Fernando Alonso in the closing stages and
clinch his second British Grand Prix victory.
It was the ninth win
of Webber’s career and his second of 2012. It was also his second
British Grand Prix win to go with his second Monaco victory earlier this
year. Webber’s Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel completed the
The result moved Webber to just 13 points behind Alonso in
the drivers’ world championship and confirmed him as Alonso’s closest
championship rival. The double podium finish extended Red Bull’s
advantage at the top of the Constructors’ Championship.
After a
weekend of heavy rain, Silverstone surprisingly remained dry throughout
the race, which was run entirely on slick tyres. With track temperatures
fluctuating between 34 degrees and 29 degrees,
There was a
further surprise in the race as the hard compound tyre proved to be
faster than the soft and ultimately it was the final stint that proves
decisive as Webber, who had started the race on the softs, ended on the
hards, while Alonso was the other way around.
The greater
structural strength of the hard tyre was important through the lateral
loads in the high speed corners of sector 2 in particular, while drivers
found that the soft tyre understeered more in the race. Pre-race
expectations that it was up to a second faster than the hard proved
Ferrari had started Massa on softs and had data from
his runs which indicated that the softs would perform reasonably well at
the end, but Webber’s pace on hards was too much for Alonso, who had
not been able to build enough of a lead over Webber in the early part of
the race to maintain his position at the end. Webber stayed in touch
with Alonso throughout the first two stints of the race, never allowing
him to get too far ahead and then was able to catch and pass him with
one decisive move around the outside of Brooklands corner with there
laps to go.
“I have a few wins now, but this one is taking a
little bit to sink in,” Webber said. “I think it didn’t look like a
spectacular race with Fernando initially but it was on. There was a
little bit of strategy involved, particularly pacing stints on tyres.
knew he was running a different way, and I thought after first stint he
was in very good shape to close the win out, but it came our way in the
last stint and I am absolutely over the moon.”
Alonso had
controlled the race throughout as he kept a steady gap ahead of the Red
Bull duo. However, the superior speed and durability of the prime tyre
turned the race in Mark Webber’s favour as he took the lead with just
four laps remaining. Vettel came close to making it a Red Bull 1-2 after
an early pit stop put the double World Champion in contention for the
race win. He had earlier been in a train of cars stuck behind Michael
Schumacher but opted for the early stop after seeing the performance of
the prime tyres. In the clear air he was able to jump from fifth to
Lewis Hamilton was the only other driver in the top ten to
start on the prime tyre. But he was not able to exploit the advantage of
the tyres; being caught in a queue of traffic behind Schumacher. When
the traffic did clear during the first phase of pit stops he was 18
seconds off Alonso. He shortly held the lead but Alonso quickly regained
first on fresher tyres. Hamilton eventually finished the race in 8th
Felipe Massa put in arguably his best drive of the
season and his highest finishing position since Korea in 2012 to hold
off a fast-charging Kim Raikkonen and take fourth place. Massa looked
racey throughout as he hassled Schumacher in the early stages, taking
third place but losing that position to Vettel after the pit stops.
headed home Lotus team mate Romain Grosjean as the pair gained another
good haul of points for the team after swapping fastest laps in the
closing stages of the Grand prix. Grosjean in particular produced yet
another very good performance to overcome an early front-wing change and
pass Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.
Schumacher and Hamilton both
had difficult races, starting from third and eighth and finishing
seventh and eighth respectively, lacking pace throughout. Schumacher’s
main struggles were on the prime tyre relative to other teams as he
slipped down the field during the second half of the Grand Prix.
Hamilton did a very short middle stint on the soft tyres, after running a
long first stint on the hards which looked like it might have got him
into contention for a strong points finish.
Bruno Senna and Jenson
Button completed the top 10 of a lively race. Button made up four
positions on the opening lap to make up for his poor qualifying but did
not have the pace to progress in to the major points scoring positions.
the early stages of the Grand Prix Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez
were in amongst the points scoring positions. But a overtaking manoeuvre
around the outside by Perez quickly ruined their days as Maldonado lost
control and continued his run of assisting other drivers in early
retirements. Maldonado managed to finish the race but in a lowly 16th.
Perez described the Venezuelan as “stupid” and said that he and other
drivers felt that he shouldn’t be in F1, with such driving.
Kobayashi compounded a bad day for Sauber when he locked up on the way
into the pits and struck a member of his team. Kobayashi continued to
11th place, while the mechanic went to the medical centre for attention.
three podium finishers all got trophies, but the fans deserved a medal
for putting up with difficult conditions, muddy car parks and traffic
problems all weekend. In the end the race provided a great end to the
weekend, which had started off in such trying circumstances due to heavy
[Additional reporting: Matt Meadows]
BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Silverstone, 52 Laps
1. Webber Red Bull 1h25:11.288
2. Alonso Ferrari + 3.060
3. Vettel Red Bull + 4.836
4. Massa Ferrari + 9.519
5. Raikkonen Lotus + 10.314
6. Grosjean Lotus + 17.101
7. Schumacher Mercedes + 29.153
8. Hamilton McLaren + 36.400
9. Senna Williams + 43.300
10. Button McLaren + 44.400
11. Kobayashi Sauber + 45.300
12. Hulkenberg Force India + 47.800
13. Vergne Toro Rosso + 51.200
14. Ricciardo Toro Rosso + 53.300
15. Rosberg Mercedes + 57.300
16. Maldonado Williams + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham + 1 lap
18. Glock Marussia + 1 lap
19. Pic Marussia + 1 lap
20. De la Rosa HRT + 2 laps
21. Karthikeyan HRT + 2 laps

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