Alonso takes commanding victory at Silverstone

Vettel beats Webber to the first corner

Vettel beats Webber to the first corner

Fernando Alonso took total command of the British Grand Prix, winning by over 20 seconds. Sebastian Vettel was 2nd, but was hounded to the flag by Mark Webber, who may have passed if not for team orders on the final lap. Lewis Hamilton was 4th, after a vicious battle with Felipe Massa to the flag. Nico Rosberg held off Sergio Perez for 6th, Nick Heidfeld was 8th, Michael Schumacher took 9th despite a stop/go penalty, and Jaime Alguersuari took one point. Here is the full report:

WIth one half of the circuit wet, the entire grid started out on the intermediate tyres. At the start, Webber bogged down, while a perfect start from Vettel launched him into the lead. Jenson Button moved up into 5th, while Lewis Hamilton overtook 2 cars around the outside to move into 8th.

Button soon began to lose pace, and was swiftly taken by his teammate, and Paul di Resta began to challenge him for 6th place. Once he was past, Lewis harrassed Felipe Massa for 5th, but running wide at the end of the Wellington Straight lost him track time.

Despite DRS being enabled on Lap 6, most of the frontrunners were split up by several seconds, and lost the opportunity to use the rear wing. Further back, Michael Schumacher lost control at Turn 6, and hit the back of Kamui Kobayashi, spinning the Sauber and forcing Michael to pit for a new front wing – which gave him the opportunity to be the first to take on soft tyres.

However, Schumacher instantly started setting fastest sectors, prompting Button and Nick Heidfeld to pit for slicks. A new fastest lap from Schumacher was the final indicator, as most of the field pitted for softs.

However, with Webber and Alonso pitting, Vettel and Massa were forced to stay out for one extra lap. They pitted on Lap 14, but for Massa, the damage was already done, dropping him to 5th. Sebastian, on the other hand, survived the conditions well to exit the pits comfortably in the lead.

Button was much quicker than Felipe, and made a fantastic move around the outside of the Ferrari. Similarly struggling with his tyres, Alonso fell prey to Hamilton, who moved up to 3rd.

As in Canada, Vettel seemed to lack pace in the slightly damp conditions. Webber began catching his teammate at a rate of 2 seconds a lap, and very quickly began challenging the world champion. Jaime Alguersuari made a series of passes in a few laps, getting past Kamui Kobayashi and Maldonado to move up to 12th.

Beginning to lose pace, Kobayashi’s race was ruined by a stop-and-go penalty for an unsafe release, having swerved into the Force India pits to avoid a Williams, ripping out a few wheel guns. However, the 10 second wait overheated his engine, forcing Kamui to retire a few laps later.

Alonso used DRS to the max, passing Hamilton for 3rd. With this, Lewis decided he’d had enough of those tyres, pitting on Lap 25. Vettel and Alonso pitted on Lap 27, but a mistake with a wheel gun cost Vettel the lead, dropping the Red Bull to 3rd place.

The order of the field was completely shaken up, with Alonso now leading Hamilton, Vettel and Webber. Fernando tore away with the lead, while Hamilton was pressurised by Vettel, with Webber keeping an eye on proceedings behind.

Jenson Button's wheel detaches as he leaves the pit lane

Jenson Button's wheel detaches as he leaves the pit lane

A brilliant battle emerged between the two for several laps, which ended when Vettel pitted with 15 laps to go. Hamilton followed the Red Bull’s strategy a lap later, but it was too late, with Sebastian moving into 2nd place. Alonso pitted 3 laps later, comfortably in the lead.

Button pitted at the same time as Fernando, but stopped at the end of the pit lane, with a wheel not attached properly. Replays showed that the mechanic went to change wheel guns, but Button was released before the wheel was secured.

The battle for the final podium spot began to heat up, with Hamilton instructed to save more fuel, allowing Webber to move closer to the McLaren. A DRS-assisted move pushed Mark up into 3rd, while Lewis was left fuming.

Hamilton pips Massa in an enthralling finish

Hamilton pips Massa in an enthralling finish

It was set to get even worse for Hamilton, as Felipe Massa began a last-gasp charge for 4th place, ripping away at the McLaren’s lead every lap. Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel was reeled in by Webber with 2 laps to go.

Both battles reached a climax on the final lap. Webber pushed Vettel to his limits, but was ordered by Christian Horner to stay behind his teammate. Meanwhile, the most incredible battle developed between Massa and Hamilton – at the last corner. Felipe dived around the outside, then Lewis slammed into the Ferrari with some force. Massa moved to the outside for the race to the chequered flag, but slipped and ran wide as he crossed the line, allowing Hamilton to rip 4th place out of his hands with milliseconds to go.

With such tension on the last lap, very few even noticed Fernando Alonso crossing the line to take his first win of the season. It was a supreme drive from the Spaniard, extending a 20 second lead to Vettel in 20 laps.

Alonso takes his first victory of the year

Alonso takes his first victory of the year

Vettel was surely releived to keep 2nd, while it remains to be seen how Webber will react after clear team orders. Hamilton was still annoyed at his team, but Massa must have been furious after being hit by Lewis at the final corner.

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