|Eyes on the prize. Webber at the
British Grand Prix. ©Getty/Red Bull
Mark Webber has joined Fernando Alonso in the double winners club for 2012, after adding the British Grand Prix to his Monaco victory. The Red Bull Racing driver claimed the victory from Ferrari's Alonso in a close fought battle late in the 52 lap race. The weather held out for the race, with rain threatened towards the end but not materialising, the full race was run on slick tyres.
It was the winner's team mate who rounded out the podium, on which, after the bubbles had been served, Jackie Stewart interviewed the winners. The young German carried strong pace at the end of the race, almost catching the fleeing Ferrari. Had the race been four laps longer, the result may well have been very different.
Felipe Massa continued his improved form, running in fourth for most of the Grand Prix. He deprived his old team mate and mentor, Michael Schumacher of third, only to lose out to Vettel on the first round of pit stops and was unable to make further gains on the circuit. Attention in the #6 Ferrari switched to avoiding the unwelcome advances of Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus later, the Ferrari finished fourth ahead of the Finn's black and gold steed.
In fact it was a very good day for Lotus F1, especially given the damage and early stop which hobbled Romain Grosjean's hopes of podium, or higher. Contact with Paul diResta dropped the Lotus to the back of the pack, as he pitted on the end of the first lap to repair damages. The Force India driver would retire when he recovered to the pits with severe damage from a punctured rear wheel. Grosjean pulled sixth from the jaws of defeat.
Starting high and falling back may not have been the plan for Michael Schumacher, who placed seventh in the race. He spent a large part of the race getting beasted down the Wellington Straight, though he finally had the chance to return the favour for seventh, when he came across a struggling Lewis Hamilton in the closing phase of the Grand Prix.
Of McLaren, it was Hamilton who came highest, placing eighth after leading the Grand Prix. The Stevenage born driver was struggling with both his single set of options, and the second set of prime tyres on his car. Still that was better than Jenson Button, who jumped from 18th to 12th on the first lap, then spent much of the rest of the race in the same place. Only an error from Nico Hulkenburg allowed him into the points, from where he gained a single point finishing tenth behind his team mate and Bruno Senna.
The race was not without incident though. The most severe came during pit stops, as Kamui Kobayashi failed to both correctly position his Sauber, and stop it before hitting two members of the Sauber pit crew. While there were no serious injuries in the accident, both crew members were taken to the circuit medical centre for checks. Kamui placed eleventh after a promising run.
And this is not where the pain ends for the Sauber outfit either. Sergio Perez, after a strong start, was bumped into retirement after Pastor Maldonado lost control of his car at Brooklands while the pair were battling. The Venezuelan driver, who was involved in a similar incident with Lewis Hamilton at the last race in Valencia earning a 20 second penalty, continued his race but the damage to the Mexican's machine was too much for him to continue.
The only other retirement during the day was Petrov, and the words were chosen carefully there. The Russian driver did'nt even make it to the grid after suffering an engine related failure on the out lap and grinding to a halt on the circuit.
In the points that puts Fernando 29 points clear of the defending champion, though Webber sits 13 points behind. Hamilton is 37 points behind the championship leader. Red Bull hold their now customary dominant position at the top of the constructors battle, with a 64 point margin over the Ferrari team. Lotus Renault hold third in the title chase with McLaren slumping to fourth place.
Next up is the Grosser Pries Santander von Deutchland, in two weeks time, from Hockenheimring Baden-Wurtenburg.
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 + 36.400 9. Senna Williams-Renault + 43.300 10. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 44.400 11. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 45.300 12. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 47.800 13. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 51.200 14. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 53.300 15. Rosberg Mercedes + 57.300 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
Driver Team On lap Perez Sauber-Ferrari 14 Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 3 Petrov Caterham-Renault 1