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Mark Webber out to prove a point at packed Silverstone
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Mark Webber out to prove a point at packed Silverstone
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Jul 2010   |  7:12 pm GMT  |  28 comments

Mark Webber topped the times on day one of the British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone. In front of a record crowd for a Friday of 85,000 people, the Aussie who survived the worst accident of the season so far in Valencia, was on the pace in a chassis Sebastian Vettel rejected after problems in Spain and Monaco.

Webber with Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko


Webber has clearly got himself motivated for this weekend with the idea of beating Vettel in this chassis and it will make qualifying very interesting tomorrow.

Fernando Alonso set the second fastest time of the day on the fourth lap of a six lap run on the soft tyre, while Vettel did his third place time on the seventh lap of seven and Webber’s time was the first flying lap of a three lap run at the end of the session. Alonso was using the F Duct rear wing in the afternoon, having used the passive wing in the morning. It is clearly working well here.

Many teams have updated parts here, with McLaren’s exhaust fed diffuser the central feature of their package, as well as a new front wing. When I watched the car coming into the pits after runs in practice yesterday it looked like the mechanics were concerned about the new low exhausts overheating the suspension and bodywork. They had foam fire extinguishers at the ready, which they needed on occasions. McLaren have decided not to run with the low exhausts for the rest of the weekend, but they will use the new front wing.

Bruno Senna is watching this one from the sidelines as Sakon Yamamoto is in the car, clearly a late call as Senna did a PR visit to Cosworth two days ago. I spoke to Colin Kolles and he said that the team wanted to give its reserve drivers a run, but declined to give reasons and also refused to rule out switching Karun Chandhok out of the car at future events.

The wind changed direction and force from morning to afternoon and ended up as a 15km/h tail wind, which meant that some drivers were on the rev limiter going down the straight as the hear ratios were no longer correct. This kind of thing can easily catch people out in qualifying.

The track changes have received a mixed reception, some drivers like the new layout, such as Alonso and Sutil, but some really don’t like it and wish that they hadn’t messed around with a much loved old friend. Robert Kubica and Heikki Kovalainen were two of the drivers I spoke to who were definitely not fans of the changes. Kubica said that quite a bit of the challenge had gone.

All the drivers say that it seems odd to them that the new sections are so bumpy, particularly the one in the middle of the new high speed Esses at Abbey. This will pitch a few cars off the circuit in qualifying, no doubt.

The high temperatures – the track was up at over 40 degrees for much of the afternoon, will create some challenges for the teams in managing the soft tyre in particular and stopping it from overheating.

I think we will find that Red Bull is still the car to beat in qualifying, but I fancy McLaren will be close to their pace in the race and it should make for a fantastic British Grand Prix weekend.

BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Free Practice 2

1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:31.234 15
2. Alonso Ferrari 1:31.626 + 0.392 26
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:31.875 + 0.641 24
4. Massa Ferrari 1:32.099 + 0.865 25
5. Rosberg Mercedes 1:32.166 + 0.932 29
6. Schumacher Mercedes 1:32.660 + 1.426 27
7. Petrov Renault 1:32.745 + 1.511 28
8. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:32.757 + 1.523 22
9. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:32.787 + 1.553 27
10. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:32.967 + 1.733 32
11. Kubica Renault 1:33.019 + 1.785 30
12. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:33.164 + 1.930 28
13. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.200 + 1.966 24
14. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:33.402 + 2.168 23
15. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:33.728 + 2.494 27
16. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:33.836 + 2.602 36
17. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:34.051 + 2.817 29
18. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:34.643 + 3.409 36
19. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:35.465 + 4.231 25
20. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:36.237 + 5.003 24
21. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:36.553 + 5.319 21
22. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:37.019 + 5.785 27
23. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:38.303 + 7.069 32
24. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:42.901 + 11.667 3

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28 Comments
  1. I’m finding it hard to see past Vettel this weekend. Both the Red Bulls will be quick – McLaren are scrapping for third unless we get some unlikely rain.

  2. Robert McKay says:

    85,000 for Friday. What was the race day attendance in Turkey?

    Right there…is why there should never be any doubt about there being a race in Britain.

    1. N. Machiavelli says:

      Until Ecclestone, there never were any doubts, were
      there ?

      To the best of my knowledge, the answer is no.

    2. BiggusJimmus says:

      Attendance at Turkey was 4000 and something, or so I heard.

  3. Lee Gilbrt says:

    I was at Silverstone today (will be all weekend) and it was packed. I remember 2007 when Friday had 40,000 or so but reported today is 85,000, near Saturday levels. It was great to see the place so alive

    The McClaren’s are clearly sandbagging as they hardly got close to the top speed of the Speed Trap – they did at times but with the f duct and the high speed nature of Silverstone you’d think JB or LH would feature in the top 8 or 10 drivers at the speed trap. But for most of the morning and most of the afternoon session they were way outside. Jenson had his last run on the option but it was a long run consistently 5-7 seconds a lap slower than others. Lewis was a little quicker but again hardly setting the pace. They clearly were focusing on full tank race pace and checking the new updates

    I expect to see JB and LH nearer the top of the sheet in P3

    1. AlexD says:

      I do not think they were sandbagging – they ditched the blown diffuser for the rest of the weekend, so it should have been all wrong.

      1. Lee Gilbert says:

        Yeah – at the time it looked like sandbagging.

        But alas not and as news of the reversal came to light we had to acknowledge that JB had no excuses for his poor performance on Fri or Sat.

        At least LH put in a performance and time that frankly looked beyond the car earlier today (Sat)

    2. richard hughes says:

      I was hoping that they were sand bagging also – but after just reading that they are dropping the new package – i guess they are really having problems.

      1. James Allen says:

        They were overheating the rear suspension, when I looked at it in the pit lane after a run yesterday.

      2. Andy C says:

        Better to take it off and get it right for the next race than find the rear suspension fails in the middle of copse I guess.

        They didn’t sound convinced by the handling either which is more of a concern.

  4. Irish con says:

    As a Ferrari fan watching fp2 this afternoon although positive the worrying thing was the ease at which the redbull took copse flat on their first lap out of the pits is scary. I don’t think anybody can get close to them ina normal dry race sadly but things are alot tighter behind them.

  5. True Blue says:

    My favourite driver seems to have the bit between his teeth (whatever that means)
    He seems to be in a determined mood.
    C’mon Mark !

    1. Pat M says:

      Now we’re talking horse racing :). The bit is the metal cross bar in the horse’s mouth with the reins attached, when you pull on the reins the bit is pulled back against the back of his mouth and he slows down – unless he has the bit between his teeth, then he can bite down on it so when you pull on the reins it doesn’t hurt and he won’t slow down.
      I’m hoping Mark keeps the bit between his teeth and kicks Vettel’s butt in a car Seb said wasn’t up to par when he lost in it, but I’m biased against whiners….

  6. AlexD says:

    James, you are close to the action – what is happening to Ferrari? What are they going to do to get back to winning ways and to be trend setters again?

    It looks like the team is lost with no direction. They live by hope, but this is not the way to win in F1.

    What next?

    1. Bill Day says:

      Same question in my mind, thanks for asking it.

    2. Mark V says:

      They are working on a way to harness all that energy they spend yapping to the press about Kimi, Fernando, the new teams etc. When they do that, they will be unbeatable.

    3. CH1UNDA says:

      Ferrari looking good this weekend – they look like 3rd and 4th which is a big step forward

  7. Darren C says:

    I will be at copse on sunday and am so excited. The red bull’s dominated the british gp last year, the mclaren was so poor and brawn noticeably lost their dominance at this point. This year is so close, i am hoping they all push each other round, like turkey, with alonso in the mix as well. Just as long as it is it’s not the macca team and driver’s politiking on monday!

  8. Jason C says:

    It’s interesting to hear the mixed reception of the track; I must say I was dreading the changes to such a great circuit, until I saw the new layout, and thought it looked OK.

    I’m also glad that there are a few bumps in the new section. Hopefully this will give the drivers a bit of a challenge and provide a bit of unpredictability. If all else fails, at least we may have the weather throwing its usual spanner into the works of the weekend.

  9. Matt W says:

    85,000 fans on a Friday for a race constantly under threat. F1 should be ashamed at thevway they treat the classics.

  10. senna says:

    impresive after the big one at valencia. if he gets the pole tomorrow webber must be the driver with the bigest set of b… out there. What stands for a lot in my book.

  11. Dave Pool says:

    >> “All the drivers say that it seems odd to them that the new sections are so bumpy…” <<

    Paved, no doubt, by the same guy who did the extension to the track in Bahrain.

  12. Frenchie says:

    My gut feeling is that it’ll be a Red Bull parade on Sunday.

    With regards to Lotus, are they closer to Toro Rosso than in the last races?

  13. Diamond says:

    James, Doesn’t Webber have a second chassis? Why would he be in one that Vettel rejected? Does this mean if Mark wins this weekend, Vettel might want it back?

    I would have thought that all drivers would have two chassis’, with the possible exception of the new teams short on budget. Or is this a result of the cost cutting to the sport generally?

    1. James Allen says:

      Because they only build four a year now.

  14. john brink says:

    Hi James
    Why do all the journalist harp on the fact that Mark is running Sebs ‘rejected’ chassis. They mentioned that there was a problem with it when Seb complained and got a new one. Surely that chassis has been refurbished and not just given to Mark as it was!!, so what is all the drama about. Are the journalists trying to start the driver ‘wars’ as everyone is expecting between Lewis and Jenson as well as Mark and Seb?

  15. Legend2 says:

    Seb Vettel broke his new front wing in practice. They then gave
    Webber’s front wing to Vettel for qualifying. Webber loses by 14
    hundreths of a second. The new wing only had to give 7 hundreths of a
    second difference to have cost Webber pole position. Quite frankly, I
    don’t know why Webber are racing for this team. There is all this
    blatant favouritism which is visible to the public. God only knows the
    behind the scenes things, such as engine mappings etc.

    If Webber’s wing had have broken, then too bad to Webber. Likewise if
    Vettel’s wing broke it should have been bad luck to Vettel. But no,
    they are punishing Webber for Vettel’s reliability issue. A disgrace.

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Mark Webber is one of the
    greatest drivers of all time. Vettel has been incredibly impressive to
    match it with Mark. I think it appears obvious now why he is matching
    it with Webber. It is so, so disappointing. If Webber got the same
    preferential treatment that Vettel gets, he would win the championship
    this year easy. Very disappointed and angry. Webber, please go to
    Ferrari. Better driving for HRT or Virgin then getting sneakily
    disadvantaged at every opportunity by his own team.

  16. Andy says:

    What’s going on in the Red Bull team that pouty, petulant Vettel gets preferential treatment – Webber deserves better, is getting the results and should be backed for the championship. is it stated soewhere that MW is the No.2 driver? So what’s the real deal here – does Vettel bring more money into the team? Does he have a bigger support base? It’s certainly not based on talent.

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