Silverstone – Red Bull gives Webber wings
Mark Webber has become the second driver to win twice in 2012, by taking victory at a surprisingly dry Silverstone.
After a weekend of torrential rain, the sun shone brightly at Silverstone, which mean the teams went into the race not knowing how their dry tyres would last. Most of the top ten started the race on the softer option tyres, and found that they fell off quite quickly. Fernando Alonso had started from pole on the harder prime tyres, and it proved to be a good decision as the Spaniard easily maintained the lead before pitting later than most of his rivals.
For most of the race, it looked like Alonso was in complete control, but Mark Webber was always not too far behind in second. After the last round of pitstops, Webber made his move, reeling in the championship leader before passing with the aid of DRS. From that point on, there was no challenging the Australian as he calmly went on to take his second British Grand Prix win in three years.
Sebastian Vettel finished third for Red Bull after making a poor start from fourth on the grid. The World Champion found himself fighting with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa for much of the early part of the race, but eventually found his way past in the final round of pitstops. Massa had his strongest race since 2010, finishing fourth after his best drive of the year.
Raikkonen and Grosjean finished fifth and sixth respectively for Lotus, continuing their reasonably competitive season. Onboard footage from Raikkonen’s car showed lots of suspension travel on the Lotus, presumably as part of a wet weather setup that ultimately proved unnecessary and possibly prevented better finishing position.
Mercedes had a disappointing day, with Schumacher finishing seventh from third on the grid and Rosberg 15th from 11th at the start. There were no particular incidents that put the Mercedes drivers out of contention. It seemed that the car was just not on the pace. It is possible that it was simply a matter of driving in the dry with a wet weather setup, but if not there may be some head scratching at Brackley.
McLaren seemed similarly slow, with Hamilton not managing to improve on his eighth place grid position. Button started the race 16th, and improved to tenth, but never seemed to have the pace to challenge for more points.
The major on-track incident of the race occurred when Sergio Perez attempted to pass Pastor Maldonado round the outside of Brooklands corner at the end of the DRS zone. Maldonado lost the back end of his Williams and slid into the side of the Sauber, causing the two cars to engage in some synchronised spinning and ending Perez’s race. When interviewed by Lee McKenzie in the pitlane following the incident, the Mexican was very outspoken in his criticism of Maldonado, placing blame squarely at the feet of the Venezuelan and calling on the stewards to take harsh action against the Williams driver.
The results of this race showed the superiority of the Red Bull and Ferrari teams. The rest of the field had no answer to the pace of the front-runners, and will now have to play catch-up through the middle of the season. Two races – in Germany and Hungary – remain before the summer break, and Ferrari and Red Bull will each want to go into that break with a clear advantage.