Daily Archives: July 11, 2010

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.