Webber wins dramatic race in dry conditions
Mark Webber claimed the ninth win of his career yesterday when he swept to a dramatic and perfectly-judged victory in an incident-filled British Grand Prix.
In a race run in welcome, if rare, dry conditions, the 35-year-old Australian steered his Red Bull through 52 laps of complex tactical and strategic racing to overtake pole sitter Fernando Alonso of Ferrari close home.
It was Webber’s second win this year, after triumphing at Monaco, and his second at Silverstone in three years.
“Great day for us and a great day for me,” he said over the team radio.
Webber’s Red Bull team-mate and defending double world champion Sebastian Vettel came home third to ensure the champions had two men on the podium.
Webber’s win was watched by a capacity Silverstone crowd of 120,000 spectators who had braved torrential rain for most of the weekend.
Alonso’s second place enabled him to stay on top of the drivers’ title race with 129 points ahead of Webber on 116.
Felipe Massa finished fourth in the second Ferrari ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and his Lotus colleague Romain Grosjean.
Michael Schumacher, of Mercedes, finished seventh ahead of home favourite Lewis Hamilton who produced some spectacular racing on his way to eighth for McLaren.
Bruno Senna finished ninth for Williams and Jenson Button was 10th in the second McLaren.
Alonso made a near-perfect start when the lights went out.
Briton Paul di Resta was the first victim of the conditions and the traffic when, on the opening lap, Grosjean collided with him.
Russian Vitaly Petrov had also been forced to retire before the start when his Renault engine failed in his Caterham.
Vettel was the first of the leading men to pit after 11 laps when he came in from fifth, rejoining 15th.
One lap later, Massa threw his Ferrari past Schumacher at Stowe in one of many close battles before the German pitted and Pastor Maldonado appeared to lose control of his car and crash into the Sauber of luckless Mexican Sergio Perez.
Both cars spun and the resultant damage left Perez forced out of the race while Maldonado, frequently involved in collisions with other drivers, steered his damaged Williams back to the pits.
Alonso pitted after 16 laps and rejoined ahead of Webber, but Hamilton stayed out on his hard tyres and inherited the lead which he fought to retain during a remarkable battle with the Spaniard on lap 19.
First, Alonso passed the Briton, then Hamilton responded and regained the lead only to be re-passed by the Spaniard again in thrilling fashion.
By lap 21, Alonso led Hamilton, who pitted to allow Webber back into third place.
Hamilton was fast again, but as the leading cars pitted again for fresh tyres amid a flurry of fluctuating strategic decisions which also saw Alonso dash in for his set of compulsory soft tyres, 14 laps from the finish.
Alonso, on fast-wearing tyres, was left to struggle to preserve them in the closing laps as the field closed up and Webber moved within reach of the Spaniard, finally diving past him to take the lead at Brooklands on lap 49.
1. M. Webber (Red Bull) 1:25.11.288
2. F. Alonso (Ferrari) at 3.060secs
3. S. Vettel (Red Bull) 4.836
4. F. Massa (Ferrari) 9.519
5. K. Raikkonen (Lotus) 10.314
6. R. Grosjean (Lotus) 17.101
7. M. Schumacher (Mercedes) 29.153
8. L. Hamilton (McLaren)36.463
9. B. Senna (Williams) 43.347
10. J. Button (McLaren) 44.444
11. K. Kobayashi (Sauber) 45.370
12. N. Hulkenberg (Force India) 47.856
13. D. Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) 51.241
14. J.E. Vergne (Toro Rosso) 53.313
15. N. Rosberg (Mercedes) 57.394
16. P. Maldonado (Williams) 1 lap
17. H. Kovalainen (Caterham) 1 lap
18. T. Glock (Marussia) 1 lap
19. C. Pic (Marussia) 1 lap
20. P. de la Rosa (HRT) 2 laps
21. N. Karthikeyan (HRT) 2 laps
Drivers not classified
P. di Resta (Force India)
S. Perez (Sauber)
V. Petrov (Caterham)
Fastest lap: Raikkonen (1:34.661) – lap 50.
Next race: Germany GP, July 22.
1. Alonso 129, 2. Webber 116, 3. Vettel 100, 4. Hamilton 92, 5. Raikkonen 83, 6. Rosberg 75, 7. Grosjean 61, 8. Button 50, 9. Perez 39, 10. Maldonado 29, 11. Di Resta 27, 12. Schumacher 23, 13. Massa 23, 14. Kobayashi 21, 15. Senna 18, 16. Hulkenberg 17, 17. Vergne 4, 18. Ricciardo 2.
1. Red Bull Racing 216, 2. Ferrari 152, 3. Lotus 144, 4. McLaren 142, 5. Mercedes 98, 6. Sauber 60, 7. Williams 47, 8. Force India 44, 9. Toro Rosso 6.