Webber wins to close gap on Alonso as Hamilton and Button struggle at Silverstone
14:10 GMT, 8 July 2012
Mark Webber proved himself a genuine Formula One world title contender this season with victory in Sunday's British Grand Prix.
Last year at Silverstone Webber was contentiously ordered to hold station behind Sebastian Vettel as he closed in on his Red Bull team-mate in the dying stages at Silverstone.
Job done: Webber's Red Bull team rush to congratulate him as he crosses the finishing line
HOW THEY FINISHED
1 Mark Webber (Red Bull)
2 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
3 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
4 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
5 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
6 Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
7 Michael Schumacher (Mercedes)
8 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
9 Bruno Senna (Williams)
10 Jenson Button (McLaren)
But on Sunday it was Webber and
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso battling at the front at the death, with the
former grabbing the lead on lap 48 of the 52, going on to claim the
ninth victory of his career.
More importantly it has allowed
Webber to close the gap on Alonso at the top of the championship
standings to 13 points, with Vettel having to settle for third on this
occasion, and lying 29 points down.
Webber said: 'It was another great day for us, a great day for me. To win here again is a fantastic feeling.'
For the Britons, in front of a
sell-out 125,500 crowd, it was a day to forget as McLaren pair Lewis
Hamilton and Jenson Button were eighth and 10th, whilst Force India's
Paul di Resta retired after two laps.
High hopes: Webber jumps for joy after clinching his second British Grand Prix win
After two days of rain that have caused havoc on and around the circuit this year, with car parks turned into mudbaths, drivers and fans were able to enjoy a dry race.
To that end, as qualifying ended in the wet on Saturday, teams were given a free rein when it came to tyre choice at the start, and it was McLaren who opted for the wrong strategy.
They chose the hard compound for Hamilton and Button, while six of the seven ahead of the former – Alonso the exception – opted for the soft Pirellis.
In starting from pole and managing to
get the run into the first corner, Alonso was able to make his two-stop
plan work for the most part.
That was until his soft tyres in the final stint proved no match for
Webber on the hards, with the Australian making his move into Brooklands
with just over four laps remaining.
Leading the way: Webber overtook Alonso late in the race
As for Hamilton, he finished where he started, with Ferrari's Felipe
Massa fourth ahead of Lotus duo Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, with
Mercedes' Michael Schumacher seventh.
Hamilton now finds himself 37 points down on Alonso, with Button cast
adrift in eighth, 79 points off the pace and with his title hopes fading
The 32-year-old, who started 16th, at least managed to collect a point
courtesy of a mistake on the penultimate lap from Force India's Nico
For Di Resta, it was not the British Grand Prix he dreamed of as the Scot suffered his first retirement for 24 races.
Clear skies: The expected rain stayed away
Coming out of The Loop at turn five on the opening lap, Di Resta was
sent spinning into the large run-off area, sustaining a left-rear
Although Di Resta managed to limp back to the pits, he sustained damage
to the floor that forced him back into the garage at the end of the
second lap, and ultimately out of the race.
Di Resta said: 'I've no indication as to what happened. I don't know if
someone caught me, but I picked up a puncture, and then the heavy damage
to the floor. There was no point carrying on.'
There was bitter frustration for Di Resta, felt by Sergio Perez too on
lap 12 as Pastor Maldonado again proved a danger to all around him.
From the seventh and ninth positions the duo pitted together, and after
returning to the track Perez was soon alongside Maldonado going into
Missing out: Alonso had led the race from pole position before being overtaken
Although there was enough room for Perez to go round the outside,
Maldonado tried to shift to that line, only to bundle the Mexican off
track and out of the race.
It was the second time in successive races Maldonado has seemingly lost
the plot given his incident with Hamilton on the penultimate lap of the
European Grand Prix in Valencia a fortnight ago.
And for the second successive race Maldonado faces a post-grand prix
investigation by the stewards, with Perez demanding they take serious
action before another driver gets hurt.
A furious Perez said: 'He has no respect for other drivers. He is a very stupid driver.
'I don't know why the stewards don't take more action against him. He deserves a big penalty.
It's the pits: Webber comes in for a pit-stop
'We are risking our lives out there and if they (the stewards) don't do something he will hurt someone.
'For all the drivers he is very dangerous driver on the circuit.'
Team-mate Kamui Kobayashi later proved a danger to his own pit crew as
he sent four flying in coming in for his second stop at the end of lap
That prompted Kobayashi into issuing a sincere apology to his team over
the in-car radio, in particular as he left two of his mechanics
requiring medical attention.
A delighted Webber said: 'At the start Fernando had good pace, Fernando
started on a different tyre to us but we never gave up and kept pushing.
'It didn't work out for Fernando at the end, it was very, very close for him but we were able to capitalise.
Close encounter: Alonso got off to a good start
'It's a special win for the team, we are a local team based just down
the road and it's incredible for them and it's another victory for
Renault Sport in the UK and I am very proud.
'Thanks to all the fans for sticking with us over the last few days.'
Alonso remained upbeat despite being denied a second consecutive victory
so late on, and echoed Webber in praising the Silverstone fans for
braving the sodden conditions.
'At the end Mark was much quicker than us and he deserves the win so
congratulations to him and the Red Bull team, but I am proud of
Ferrari's recovery in the last couple of weeks,' he said.
'We have fought for the wins in the last four races.
'Thanks to the fans for coming through the bad weather, I hope they enjoyed it.'
Mud bath: The car parks remained closed at Silverstone
Champagne moment: Webber is right in contention for the driver's championship title