Tag Archives: British GP

Webber wins as Vettel struggles in Silverstone

Mark Webber took the win today at the British Grand Prix today, as pole sitter Sebastian Vettel suffered a puncture on the first lap. There was more controversy for Fernando Alonso, as the stewards dealt him a harsh drive-through penalty. Here is the full race report:

At the start, Vettel made a mistake with the clutch, and span his wheels too much. This allowed Mark Webber to get alongside him at the first corner, and he pushed Sebastian wide. Also, Lewis Hamilton’s front wing was seen to clip the back of Sebastian’s car. This caused a puncture on Vettel’s rear tyre, and he crawled back to the grid to the pits. He switched his tyres, and emerged at the back, 63 seconds down on the leaders. Felipe Massa also suffered a puncture on Lap 1, as a slow-starting Fernando Alonso came into contact with the other Ferrari.

Mark Webber leads, after Sebastian Vettel runs wide after contact with Hamilton

Mark Webber leads, after Sebastian Vettel runs wide after contact with Hamilton

Robert Kubica made a fantastic start, getting up to third position by Lap 2. However, he was unable to keep the pace up, and fell into the clutches of 4th placed Nico Rosberg. Pedro de la Rosa’s good starting position was lost, as he fell to 11th, while Jarno Trulli was now 16th.

Massa was 20 seconds behind Sakon Yamamoto on Lap 5. But, by Lap 9, he had already got past the HRT driver. The Force India drivers were pressurising Trulli’s 16th place, but Jarno did well to hold them back. At the front, Mark Webber began to carve out a lead from Lewis Hamilton in 2nd.

Behind the front 2, a very large train of cars was beginning to form, from 3rd to 9th, with Robert Kubica, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button and Kamui Kobayashi all in the mix. At the first stops, Ferrari tried to leapfrog both Rosberg and Kubica, but Nico managed to stay ahead and get past Kubica at the same time, after delaying their first stop.

On Lap 19, Alonso made a controversial move on Kubica. At the Vale corner, Kubica pushed Alonso, which forced Fernando to cut the corner. He emerged ahead of Kubica, but failed to give the position back. It took a long while before the stewards announced that they were investigating the incident. There was a twist, though, as Kubica retired into the pits on Lap 21, meaning that now no driver had completed every lap this season. Now, the stewards couldn’t instruct Alonso to give the position back.

Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica battle at Vale

Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica battle at Vale

Fernando assumed the matter was over, and proceeded to overtake Jaime Alguersuari for 6th, and then hassling Rosberg for 5th. Meanwhile, Jenson Button, who started from 14th, had a longer first stint, and when he pitted, emerged in 5th place.

On Lap 28, the stewards finally handed out their penalty: a drive-through penalty for Fernando Alonso, for cutting a chicane and gaining an advantage. However, it got even worse for the Spaniard, as the safety car was deployed a lap later, for debris on the track. It came from Pedro de la Rosa’s rear wing, which also caused the retirement of the Sauber car.

This safety car prompted Hulkenberg to make his first stop on Lap 29, as he had started on the harder tyre, and had banked on a safety car, like Kamui Kobayashi did in Valencia. It only worked to an extent, and he emerged in 11th. The debris was cleared soon, and the safety car pitted on Lap 30. This is when Fernando Alonso served his penalty.

The safety car gave a chance to Sebastian Vettel for some points. He was in recovery mode after his first lap puncture, and was now lying in 15th place, and was elevated to 14th after Alonso’s penalty. The bunched-up field gave him a chance to overtake them and get into the points. He, and Adrian Sutil, were the men on the attack. On Lap 34, Sutil dived down the inside of Michael Schumacher, and although he was squeezed a bit, got past for 7th place.

Sebastian Vettel was on fire, getting up to 11th place by Lap 37, and now harassing Vitaly Petrov for position. Ahead of the Russian was Nico Hulkenberg and Michael Schumacher, so points were definitely on the cards. Vettel got past Petrov and Hulkenberg within 2 laps, and muscled his way past Schumacher 2 laps later, getting him up to 8th.

Felipe Massa, despite being in 13th place, was still pushing hard, and spun at Club corner, flat-spotting his tyres. He pitted for a new set, but caught his team out, and lost even more time.

Within another 2 laps, Vettel was all over the back of Sutil, but the Force India’s straight line speed kept the Red Bull behind. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso was caught up in a battle with the other Force India, Vitantonio Liuzzi. With 3 laps to go, Fernando finally got past, but got tagged by Liuzzi as he overtook, and was forced to pit again for repairs. Vettel finally got past Sutil with only 2 laps to go.

While all of this went on, Mark Webber was having a fantastic race keeping Lewis Hamilton well at bay, and he crossed the line first, with Lewis 2nd and Nico Rosberg hanging on against Jenson Button to take the final posium spot. Jenson had the pace to get past, but unfortunately had to conserve fuel near the end. Rubens Barrichello and Kamui Kobayashi impressed with 5th and 6th, Sebastian Vettel was 7th ahead of Adrian Sutil, and Michael Schumacher and Nico Hulkenberg finished off the top 10.

Mark Webber celebrates after winning the British Grand Prix

Mark Webber celebrates after winning the British Grand Prix

The Ferraris languished in 14th and 15th after their dismal afternoon, but oddly enough didn’t complain much about the stewards’ decision on Fernando Alonso. However, there wasn’t much focus on Ferrari, as much as Mark Webber. He had overcome the rumoured favouritism on Saturday, when the team gave Vettel a new front wing and left Mark in the cold. However, Mark wasn’t going to forget quickly about this, ending his race with a short message to the team:

“Not bad for a number 2 driver”.

The standings have been updated, you can view them here.

British Grand Prix qualifying in pictures

Sebastian Vettel took pole position today, which was Red Bull’s 9th of the season. Here are the pictures from today’s racing:

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Liuzzi given 5-place penalty for impeding Hulkenberg

Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi has recieved a 5-place penalty for the British Grand Prix, after being deemed by the stewards to have held up Nico Hulkenberg in Q2 in qualifying. At the Becketts corner, Liuzzi was too slow ahead of Nico, and also moved across slightly just before the corner.

This means that Liuzzi will drop 5 places, from 15th to 20th on the grid. The penalty was issued because blue flags were waving as Liuzzi exited the pits, into the path of Hulkenberg.

Vettel storms to pole in Silverstone

Sebastian Vettel took pole position for the British Grand Prix, ahead of Mark Webber, after a dominant performance from the Red Bull team. Fernando Alonso was 3rd, Lewis Hamilton 4th, but Jenson Button didn’t even make it through to Q3. Here is the full report:

Q1

As the session started, every single car remained in the pits, although it seemed unclear why. After 3 minutes, Schumacher and the Lotus cars finally went out, and the session was underway. The teams were quick to warn their drivers that the wind was picking up, and would cause troubles at the high-speed corners.

The tyre choices were nicely mixed for Q1. The first fast lap was set by the Lotus cars, but was swiftly beaten by Jenson Button’s 1.32.668, although he was clearly held up by Vitantonio Liuzzi. Fernando Alonso went fastest, and Schumacher went 2nd.  His team-mate, Nico Rosberg, then went fastest of all drivers so far. Lewis Hamilton’s first lap was abandoned after he ran wide at Club corner.

Mark Webber was the first driver to get under the 1.31 mark, getting a 1.31.9. Sebastian Vettel then went 2nd fastest, although he was half a second off Webber’s time. Webber and Alonso improved their times, but Vettel then got a 1.30.8 to get on top.

As Q1 neared its end, Button was lying in 15th place, and Jaime Alguersuari nearly took him down another spot, although he remained 17th. This left Vitantonio Liuzzi in the dropout zone, even though he was only 1.6 seconds slower than Vettel. He tried again, and got 16th place, knocking Alguersuari out, as a miscalculation in times meant he couldn’t go out for another run.

The last flying lap was by Sakon Yamamoto. He was completely miles off the pace, and would have been excluded from the race under the 107% rule. His neck seemed completely worn out, after only 8 laps today. The Lotus and Virgin cars improved their times, and impressively were only 2.1 seconds slower than Sebastian Vettel.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Jaime Alguersuari

19) Heikki Kovalainen

20) Timo Glock

21) Jarno Trulli

22) Lucas di Grassi

23) Karun Chandhok

24) Sakon Yamamoto

Q2

Unlike Q1, most cars were out quickly enough in Q2. Fernando Alonso was first out, although he abandoned his lap because of backmarkers, as did Felipe Massa. McLaren were incredibly nervous about failing to get through to Q3, so they sent out Button and Hamilton on soft tyres, and it was clear that both drivers were pushing hard. Hamilton managed a 1.31.2 on his first run.

However, both Alonso and Webber were easily able to beat that time, with Webber getting a 1.30.4 on the harder tyre. Jenson Button was quickly on the radio, complaining of a lack of rear grip. With 7 minutes left in the session, all the cars pitted before their final runs. Vitaly Petrov needed a little push though, as his car suffered a loss of power.

The final runs commenced with 4 minutes to go, and Vettel was first out, setting a 1.30.48, going 2nd behind Webber. Meanwhile, Nico Hulkenberg was held up by a dangerous manouvere by Liuzzi at Becketts, and the stewards would probably investigate soon.

As the session concluded, Button was in the knockout zone, and couldn’t improve his position, ad remained 14th. Pedro de la Rosa and Rubens Barrichello were 2 surprise entrants to Q3, but the main shock was Button’s exit. Also, Adrian Sutil failed to get through to Q3, meaning both Force Indias were out in Q2.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Adrian Sutil

12) Kamui Kobayashi

13) Nico Hulkenberg

14) Jenson Button

15) Vitantonio Liuzzi

16) Vitaly Petrov

17) Sebastien Buemi

Q3

Like Q2, the Ferraris were the first out, with Vettel not far behind. Webber and Hamilton were also out soon after. The other 5 drivers appeared to be going for 1 run rather than 2. Felipe’s time was the first, a 1.31.7. Soon though, Mark Webber blasted the timesheets with a 1.29.7, and this was promptly beaten by Sebastian Vettel, with a 1.29.6.

With 5 minutes to go, the other 5 drivers went out on their runs, and the previous 5 drivers soon joined them as the session neared its conclusion. Rubens Barrichello went 6th, which was matched by Felipe Massa. Oddly enough, the Ferraris and Renaults were struggling in this session, and Alonso was further infuriated when he was held up by Nico Hulkenberg.

Mark Webber’s lap time was not enough to take pole, so Sebastian Vettel, even though 1st was already sealed, he further improved his time to rub it in and take pole position. Lewis Hamilton took 4th, Nico Rosberg was 5th, Barrichello 8th, De la Rosa 9th, and Michael Schumacher 10th.

Full times from qualifying:

Webber leads British FP2 session

Mark Webber led the way for the second practice session of the British Grand Prix, at the revised Silverstone circuit. Mark was fastest, ahead of Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa. However, McLaren seemed to make a step back in this session, after introducing new upgrades to the car.

Several top drivers made mistakes this session, such as Vettel, Massa and Hamilton. Nico Rosberg was 5th, ahead of team-mate Michael Schumacher and Vitaly Petrov. The McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were 8th and 13th respectively.

There were problems this session for Lotus. Jarno Trulli took back over his car from Fairuz Fauzy, but his car broke down after only 3 laps. Heikki Kovalainen stopped out on track with a steering issue near the end of the session.

Since Trulli only managed 3 laps, and therefore didn’t set a fast lap, Sakon Yamamoto was again the slowest driver this session, as he was 7 seconds off the pace, and 1.3 seconds slower than team-mate Karun Chandhok. For the second session in a row, Heikki Kovalainen was the fastest of the new teams.

Times from FP2:

Vettel fastest in new Silverstone in FP1

Sebastian Vettel was fastest in Friday Practice 1 at the revised Silverstone circuit. He finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica. This session also saw the appearances of test drivers for Lotus, HRT and Force India, as Fairuz Fauzy, Sakon Yamamoto and Paul di Resta took over from their team-mates.

There were many difficulties this session, most notably at the Abbey corner. The bumps there were causing many drivers, including Hamilton and Michael Schumacher, to run wide. The first lap of the new track was set by Jenson Button, a 1.37.994, but this time was cut by more than 5 seconds as the session concluded.

Mark Webber was 4th, followed by impressive finishes by Adrian Sutil and Nico Rosberg. Nico Hulkenberg was 7th, while Jenson Button, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello finished off the top 10.

As they seem to do in Friday Practice sessions, the Ferraris were very poor, with Fernando Alonso 13th and Felipe Massa 17th. Paul di Resta was 14th, but Fairuz Fauzy and Sakon Yamamoto were 23rd and 24th respectively.

Full times from FP1:

Britain 2009 flashback: Red Bull turn the season around

There were two reasons why the 2009 British Grand Prix was memorable in many people’s minds. First of all, Donington Park had been selected to host the 2010 British Grand Prix, so this could well be the last race in Silverstone for years. Secondly, and more importantly, it marked the point where Red Bull finally put the pressure on Brawn GP for the rest of the season.

Jenson Button had just finished his 6th win in 7 races, and held a massive 26 points lead to Rubens Barrichello, who was another 8 points behind the two Red Bulls. However, before the race even began, there was a problem. The FOTA-FIA-FOM war had boiled over, and several teams were now threatening to drop out of the 2010 season because of the infamous budget cap suggestion. The main leaders of FOTA, as well as Max Mosley, remained tight-lipped over the weekend as to the outcome of this argument, but the worst-case scenario was that a breakaway series would be formed. This was the peak of the troubled times in F1 2009, and the British Grand Prix helped everyone be reminded why they were there in the first place: the racing.

With Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button practically switching grid positions from 2008 to 2009, the home crowd were happy to support both over the weekend. However, qualifying proved troublesome for both British drivers. In Q1, Adrian Sutil had a massive crash near the end of the sesssion, thanks to a brake failure, and brought out the red flag. Because of the bad timing of the red flag, many drivers had to abort their finals Q1 runs, leaving Hamilton 19th on the grid.

For the rest of the session, Vettel and Webber were completely unchallenged at the front, as their new raft of aerodynamic updates were working a treat in the cool conditions. Button, on the other hand, finally found the weak spot of the Brawn car: it couldn’t heat its tyres in cooler temperatures. This lack of grid left him 6th, his worst grid spot of the season so far. Vettel had more fuel on board than his rivals, but still got the pole position time. Webber would have been alongside him, but he was held up by Kimi Raikkonen, and fell to 3rd behind Barrichello. After yet another poor qualifying session, BMW Sauber meanwhile announced that they were ditching their KERS programme for good.

Sebastian Vettel leads away at the start

Sebastian Vettel leads away at the start

The second the lights went out, Red Bull were on fire. While Webber was unable to get past Barrichello, Button was held up by Jarno Trulli, and dropped down to 9th place. Sebastian began to pull away from Rubens at a rate of a second per lap, although Mark was struggling to get past the Brawn. Further back, Button finally made progress at Massa’s expense to move up to 8th. Hamilton made some progress as well, jumping 4 positions in the first 2 laps.

While the new fastest team streaked away at the front, it was an incredible sight at the back. From 13th to 16th, there was a huge list of top-level drivers: Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica. Despite their awful cars, they still fought like always, with Kubica initially getting the upper hand on Hamilton, after Lewis ran onto the grass trying to pass Alonso.

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton battle, with Robert Kubica watching closely behind

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton battle, with Robert Kubica watching closely behind

At the first round of stops, Rubens pitted one lap earlier than Webber, and lost 2nd place in the process. This left the Red Bulls completely unchallenged at the front, although the battles at the back were still ongoing. When Hamilton got past Alonso on the pit straight, the crowd went wild, despite it being a pass for 15th place. Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa benefited from the stops, getting up to 4th and 5th respectively.

Lewis, despite trying as hard as he could, was unable to keep his McLaren on track, going off track several times. He finally passed team-mate Heikki Kovalainen for 14th, but when Sebastien Bourdais tried the same move on Heikki, they collided, with Bourdais needing a new front wing, and giving Kovalainen a puncture. Later on, Hamilton spun again, falling behind Alonso yet again.

Heikki Kovalainen and Sebastien Bourdais collide

Heikki Kovalainen and Sebastien Bourdais collide

At the second round of stops, Button took advantage of a longer middle stint to get past Raikkonen and Trulli to get up to 6th position. Massa, meanwhile, used the same tactic to take 4th off Rosberg. When Button caught up to Rosberg and Massa, he decided not to make a move, since he couldn’t risk colliding and losing more points, despite being on the faster tyre compound.

Eventually, after a dominant performance, Vettel crossed the line 1st, and 15 seconds ahead of Webber. Rubens Barrichello was another 25 seconds behind. While he was disappointed not to have challenged for the win, Mark was reasonably happy with 2nd place. Further back, Hamilton finished 16th, but still did some burnouts, to thank the crowd for still supporting him. Having said that, there were better celebrations at Red Bull, where Adrian Newey proceeded to take his Ferrari and do donuts on his own front lawn.

The updated RB5 was unstoppable at the moment, and Brawn had to work hard to sort out the tyre temperature problems. Despite this, Button was still 23 points ahead of Barrichello, who was only 2 ahead of Vettel. The British Grand Prix ended with a statement from Bernie Ecclestone, saying that of construction for Donington Park wasn’t finished in time, the British GP would return to this venue in 2010. A glimmer of hope for Silverstone?

Silverstone Arena circuit nearly completed

The Silverstone Arena circuit’s tarmac has been laid, as well as the other improvements to the circuit, which have nearly been completed.

The Silverstone track, which recently got a new 17-year contract as part of the renovations, is well on course to have all of this done before the British Grand Prix in July. As well as the new tarmac for the Arena section, there are now revised run-off areas on the Brooklands and Woodcote corners.

Also, there are new spectator areas opposite the pits, and raised grandstands at the Becketts complex. Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Richard Phillips said work was progressing according to schedule:

"Work on the circuit and venue is on schedule. The team has been working 
around the clock, through some pretty terrible weather conditions, 
to make sure the circuit is ready on time. The track works at Brooklands 
and Woodcote are now complete, including the new run-off area for the fast 
entry into Pits Straight, while the major new development – the new section 
of circuit from Abbey, up to the Arena Complex and round to the National 
Straight – is also coming along nicely.
There is still a considerable amount of work going on at Silverstone, 
including the new elevated banks and spectator viewing areas, which will 
continue beyond March. Conference and hospitality buildings are also 
being built on the new Stowe."

Having seen these pictures and how well they’re going, I’m getting more skeptical about the Korean Grand Prix photos I reported on yesterday. Yes, there are 3 months between these races, but the track will still have to be homolgamated before F1 cars can race on it. Hopefully we can escape this imminently boring race for another year.

Photos of the development:

Silverstone close to using “Arena” circuit

Silverstone's proposed layout for 2010

Silverstone's proposed layout for 2010

Silverstone is getting closer to a decicion that will see them decide on whether they will use the Arena circuit for their F1 race or not.

The managing director Richard Phillips said that, while he is hopeful that the circuit would be used, the final decicion rests with Bernie Ecclestone.

“It’s yet to be decided,” he told AUTOSPORT during a site visit to the Silverstone works. “We need approval from three sides. So far two have said yes and one [Ecclestone] says maybe, so we’ll work on that.”

“Allsport [F1's corporate hospitality company] has said yes. And while the FIA needs to homologate the new track of course, it is happy with the plan in principle.”

As long as the FIA stays happy, which they probably will, there is little to stop the circuit from being approved as an F1-suitable event. However, Ecclestone makes the final decicion, as his Formula One Managment (FOM) company has the authority to decide on the layout of the F1 calendar.

At the moment, the circuit is undergoing construction work. A new infield circuit is being constructed (not related to the Arena circuit), and mojor changes to grandstands and spectator facilities.

The Woodcote to Copse grandstand (to the left of the start-finish straigh) has been torn down, and will be moved further back, so as to allow the start-finish straight to be widened. The new grandstand will still be nearly as close to the track as the last one. As part of this upgrade, 180,000 tonnes of earth have alrady been moved, and 8,000 tonnes of asphalt have already been laid.

The only loss of the Arena circuit will be the the exclusion of the corners Bridge to Abbey (known as the Complex). Since this is a very tight series of corners with no chance of overtaking, I’m not sad to see it go. Not that it was bad, but it was slow and boring, a complete contast to the rest of the circuit.

The road replacing the Complex will consist of a right, instead of a left, before Bridge, then a straight, followed by a right jink, wide hairpin, and another straight to rejoin at the Woodcote corner.

The 2010 British Grand Prix is scheduled for the 11th July.

Silverstone plans revised circuit

Silverstone's proposed layout for 2010

Silverstone's proposed layout for 2010

Silverstone has announced its intention to use a new circuit layout for 2010. The first half of the circuit will remain the same, but the high-speed Bridge corner will be removed.

This new circuit has already been approved by FIM, the Moto GP governing body, but it will take a while for the FIA to make a decicion.

As shown in the picture, the circuit will now take a right hand turn just before Abbey corner, a sharp left, then two small straights will bring the cars back to the Brooklands corner. This means that Bridge, Abbey and Priory will now be missed by the new layout.

If the new layout for 2010 is used and found unsuccessful, the old layout may be used again at the next race onwards.

Silverstone's proposed layout for 2010

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