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Mark Webber continued his and Red Bullâ€™s superb recent form as he overcame Fernando Alonso and Ferrari to take the chequered flag at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The Australian played second fiddle to Fernando Alonso for the best part of 50 laps, but a late surge saw him catch up and pass the Ferrari just 3 laps from the finish. Alonso though would be reasonably pleased with the result having showed some strong race pace in the Ferrari in what was a straight race with no inclement weather. Sebastian Vettel capped a great day for Red Bull joining his teammate on the podium in third place.
Massa had his best result this year finishing in 4th in a good solid showing by Ferrari. The teamwork continued with Lotus taking the next two spots with Kimi Raikkonen leading Romain Grosjean. Schumacher continued his recent outperformance of his teammate Nico Rosberg finishing seventh, but the lack of consistent race pace will worry Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton failed to gain any places from his qualifying slot finishing in a relatively uneventful 8th place. Senna finished 9th in the Williams ahead of Button who would have been pleased with his comeback drive as he claimed the final championship point having started 18th.
Fernando Alonso keeps his lead in the WDC on 129 points with Webber closing the gap having collected the full complement of points pulling him up to 116 points. Defending champion Vettel keeps himself in touch completing his century of points today. Red Bullâ€™s stranglehold on the Constructorâ€™s championship continues but Ferrari's strong showing vaults them into second place. McLarenâ€™s challenge is correspondingly going south and Lotus have now moved upto third place ahead of the Woking outfit.
Final Point Scorers: Webber (Red Bull), Alonso (Ferrari), Vettel (Red Bull), Massa (Ferrari), Raikkonen (Lotus), Grosjean (Lotus), Schumacher (Mercedes), Hamilton (McLaren), Senna (Williams), Button (McLaren)
In blazing sunshine, Mark Webber made a fantastic start but Alonso out dragged the Red Bull to stay in the lead going into the first corner. Vettel, Massa & Schumacher all got off to clean starts as well and kept the crowd involved with some wheel to wheel racing with Kimi joining in the fun too. Schumacher managed to keep the rest of the quartet behind him, but his lack of pace showed as a train of cars began to form behind the 3rd placed German.
Massa and Vettel continued their tussle through the early laps and touched on lap 10 with some debris falling from the Red Bull front wing. Vettel then pit on lap 10 re-emerging on a fresh set of tyres. Meanwhile Sergio Perez clashed with Maldonado in an incident that took the Sauber driver out of the race. Perez was clearly upset placing the blame squarely on the Columbian and called for stringent action against the driver who he claimed had no respect for the other drivers.
The Ferrarriâ€™s finally pit on lap 14 with Massa and Alonso a couple of laps later staying on the harder compound in each case. This gave the British crowd something to cheer about as Hamilton briefly took the lead. On a fresh set of tyres, Massa made the charge, overtaking first Rosberg and then Button. Alonso also was showing his pace as despite the pitstop he soon caught up to Hamilton by lap 18. Alonso then passed him on lap 20 after a dogfight that saw the pair exchange the lead before Alonso took it decisively and whistled away into the distance. Hamilton finally pit on lap 21 and exited in 7th place just behind the Schumacher, Raikkonen tussle for 5th. Alonso now lead the race by about 5 seconds from Webber who inturn lead his teammate Vettel by over 3 seconds. Massa followed in 4th in the second Ferrari ahead of Schumacher in 5th place pursued by Raikkonen and Hamilton. Grosjean, Kobayashi and Hulkenberg completed the top 10.
Schumacherâ€™s pace was clearly dropping and having held off the Lotus for a while was passed by the Finn on the 24th lap and Hamilton followed suit in the same lap. Raikkonen now released from following Schumacher immediately set a purple lap which was overturned by Alonso on the next. Grosjean pit for the second time on lap 27 and another set of hard tyres were strapped on to his Lotus. He exited in 13th place behind Rosberg and Button on his recovery drive from 18th. Hamilton in 6th pit on lap 29 and went back to the hard tyres rejoining behind Rosberg in P12 in what was expected to be his final pit stop. The order remained in order through most of this stage with the top 6 staying in formation without making any major dents in the time gaps.
On lap 31, Vettel pit from 3rd staying on the harder compound rejoining in 5th ahead of Schumacher. Button followed suit on separate strategy from most others rejoining in 14th. The Lotus often this season has shown some terrific pace and today was no different with Raikkonen running in 3rd and Grosjean terrorising Hamilton for 9th place. Webber was the next of the front runners to stop on lap 34 having made up some ground on Alonso.
After the final set of pit stop for the front runners, Alonso by lap 41 lead the race ahead of the Red Bulls of Webber & Vettel respectively. His Ferrari compatriot Massa was in 4th keeping the hard charging Lotusâ€™ of Raikkonen and Grosjean at bay. Hamilton and Schumacher followed with Hulkenberg and Senna completing the top 10 at this stage.
The final 12 laps of the race saw a nail-biting battle between Ferrari and Red Bull as the old order seemed to have been restored at Silverstone. Alonso was chipping away from Webber, while Brazilian Massa set the fastest lap to remind us of his brilliance whilst he was in hot pursuit of Vettel for the final place on the podium. The Lotus duo of Raikkonen and Grosjean were steadily catching up with the battle at the front as they were running 5th and 6th respectively. Grosjean brought his A-game when he needed it the most as after an early first pit stop, he has continued to pile the pressure on the leaders with a string of fastest laps.
By lap 44 Grosjean and Raikkonen traded fastest laps as there was action all round the grid. Webber was beginning to get glued to Alonsoâ€™s tail as Webber launched an assault on the Spaniard. The wily Spaniard had his tyres beginning to reach its shelf life, as Webber was within 0.3 s behind the race leader. It was a straight battle between the ultra-defending Ferrari ace versus the menacingly quick Aussie for victory in one of the classic races which Silverstone dishes season after season.
With 4 laps remaining Webber drove past the Ferrari driver with a DRS+ KERS enabled move as Alonso was left helpless due to a quickly degrading rear tyre on his Prancing Horse. Webber displayed controlled aggression to take his 9th career victory, while Alonso brought home his Ferrari in 2nd place, with Vettel finishing on the last step of the podium in 3rd place.
Felipe Massa absorbed pressure from his former teammate Raikkonen to finish 4th ahead of the Lotus duo of Raikkonen and Grosjean. Schumacher finished a topsy-turvy race in 7th place, with Hamilton limping home in 8th place, with the Williams of Senna 9th and a late charge from Button saw the Briton claim the final championship point.
- 08/07/2012 21:27 - Achilles Heel of Mercedes team exposed in Silverstone as cars struggle with tyres, Schumacher fights his way to finish in 7th place
- 08/07/2012 20:08 - Webber stamps his authority to win a thrilling race at Silverstone, Vettel finishes 3rd to mark an excellent race for Red Bull
- 08/07/2012 19:53 - Lotus forced to be satisfied with 5th and 6th places at British GP, Grosjean drives a stunning race to bring home crucial points