8 Jul 2012

F1 - British Grand Prix - Race Review

After only one hours dry running over the previous two days 23 F1 cars lined up on the Silverstone grid at 1pm waiting for the lights to go out.

Alonso had put in a fantastic lap in treacherous conditions on Saturday to take pole.  Webber too had driven a spectacular qualifying and was second.  The old man of the field, Schumacher, was third.  The British drivers had fared less well.  Hamilton was eight, DiResta tenth and Button was a lowly sixteenth.  Petrov didn't make the grid.  He lost oil pressure on the warm-up lap and he pulled into the pits.

Anticipation was running high as the lights went out and the race started.

Alonso, who started on the left hand side of the grid, immediately chopped across Webber.  Webber pulled left.  They just missed each other and after the first corner they held positions.

As we have already seen in F1 this year the drivers, aided by KERS and DRS, seem to have adopted the mindset that they can actually overtake during the race.  This has often led to less than hectic first laps but at Silverstone convention was swept aside and we were treated to a grand spectacle.  Massa and Vettel touched whilst cars scrambled for position.  Kimi, seemingly driving in Playstation mode, steamed up the inside of three cars and kissed Vettel's tyres.

DiResta came together with Grosjean and spun off.  He punctured his right rear tyre and damaged his suspension.  Paul crawled back to the pits and retired.

By the end of lap one the top three positions were unchanged.  Button had done well to move up to thirteenth.

Grosjean popped into the pits for a new nose and then Michael Schumacher, struggling with his tyres, found himself at the head of a long train of cars.  Vettel, in fifth, dived into the pits for tyres on lap ten.  he was shortly followed by Maldonado and Perez.

Two laps later Massa finally passed Schumacher.  Shortly after that Williams deployed the Maldonator. Whilst trying to overtake Perez, Maldonado repeated his move on Hamilton in Valencia and crashed into the side of the Sauber.  Perez was out and Maldonato lost his front wing.

Over the next few laps the front two held station whilst Schumacher went backwards and Grosjean moved forwards.  The McLarens looked woeful.  With all their talk of upgrades and Lewis full of confidence before the race they grained the soft tyres and didn't have the pace on the hards.  All they could try and do was hold station but were both passed by cars generally considered to be slower.

The final fifteen laps of the race were compelling.  Alonso had generally held a five second ago to Webber behind him but towards the end Webber upped his pace whilst Alonso's dropped off.  Webber edged closer and closer until on lap 48 he pounced at Brooklands.  The move was beautifully performed and was only possible because both drivers respect each others safety and skill.  Had the hapless Maldonado been in Alonso's position then maybe Webber would have thought twice.

Behind the leaders Hulkenberg, Senna and Button battled for ninth, tenth and eleventh.  Senna passed Hulkenberg who tried to defend his line but in the process briefly left the track and was demoted to twelfth.

So Webber won the 2012 British GP, Alonso was second and Vettel third.  Jackie Stewart conducted interviews on the podium, which was a bit weird, and the British fans cheered on Mark Webber - an honorary Brit for the day.

On reflection Mark Webber drove an incredible race.  The Ferrari is now the second fastest car in the field and Alonso in the form of his career.  But Webber overcame the odds, and his number two driver tag, and beat not only his hugely rated team-mate but Alonso too.  He is now only the second driver to win two races in 2012.  He is on a roll and has moved to second in the standings.

Most people thought Alonso was a shoo-in for the win and was on his way to a third title but if  Webber continues to maintain the pace he showed today then he may be in with a chance of overhauling Alonso's fifteen point lead.

After the race we learnt that the Stewards had hit Maldonado with a reprimand and a 10,000 euro fine.  The driver was, however, unrepentant and absolved himself of any blame.  Perez, meanwhile, was telling anyone who would listen that Maldonado is dangerous and doesn't respect other drivers.

Also, Kobayashi, who over-ran during his second pitstop and injured three of his mechanics was fined 25,000 euros for a dangerous pitstop.