Red Bull driver Mark Webber took his second victory of the season at the British Grand Prix this past weekend, following an intense battle with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in the closing laps that centred around tyre strategy. The consistent Aussie now closes up to Alonso in the Drivers’ Championship, who continues to lead one of the closest title battles in history. Webber also joins Alonso in becoming the second two-time winner this season.
With so little dry running before the race start, teams had very limited information about the behaviour of the hard and soft tyres at Silverstone, as they had only been used briefly during the final free practice session on Saturday. The race started with track temperatures double those of Friday and Saturday.
Alonso qualified on pole and started on the harder compound tyre, whereas Webber, who qualified second, started on soft rubber. Despite the pair’s contrasting strategies they found themselves battling over the top spot on the podium in the closing stages of the race, when Webber took advantage of his superior grip to pass the Spaniard with just four laps remaining.
Sebastian Vettel rounded off the podium places, almost managing to make it a Red Bull one-two as he rapidly made ground on Alonso’s ailing Ferrari near the end.
Troubled Ferrari man, Felipe Massa spent the opening laps held up behind the out-of-place Mercedes of Michael Schumacher, who found himself in third place after a disrupted qualifying session. With 11 laps down the Brazilian finally made a move stick, by which time his hope of a podium spot was all but gone. Having allowed Vettel to close in, Massa lost his position in the following pit sequence, later having to resist the fast-closing Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen to take fourth.
Romain Grosjean’s bad luck continued, breaking his front wing in a brush with Paul di Resta on the first lap. The incident ended the Force India’s race, leaving Grosjean in last place. The young Frenchman drove impeccably to finish sixth – leaving Lotus with a decent points haul.
The McLaren duo of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button could only finish eighth and tenth. Hamilton spent a while in the lead after an exceptionally long first stint, after which he enjoyed a spirited battle with Alonso. His stint on the soft compound was short lived and thereafter struggled for ultimate pace. He lost seventh place to Schumacher late on. Button continued his poor run of form and was largely a non-entity, only managing his points finish due to a late off from Hulkenberg.
2012 British Grand Prix: Final classification