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Fernando Alonso wins thrilling British Grand Prix as Red Bull slip up
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Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Jul 2011   |  3:13 pm GMT  |  344 comments

Fernando Alonso won a thrilling British Grand Prix at Silverstone ahead of the Red Bull pair Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

Vettel lost the lead to Alonso when his second pit stop went disastrously wrong. He lost further time behind Lewis Hamilton and could not bridge the gap to the Ferrari driver.

It was Alonso’s first win of the season, the 27th of his career and his second at Silverstone. Earlier in the day he had driven the Ferrari which won this race 60 years ago and he was proud to have delivered the win on such an important anniversary, which underlines how long Ferrari have been in F1.

“It’s difficult to know what would have happened without the problem of Sebastian. It’s not easy to overtake so for sure the pit stop problem helped,” said Alonso.

There was heavy rainfall in the hour before the race start, particularly around the old pits building and the complex of corners leading to Copse.

So wet was the track, with Perez losing control on the formation lap, the intermediate tyre was the only choice for the start.

Sebastian Vettel won the start against his team mate the pole sitter Mark Webber. Vettel got a perfect getaway, while Webber bogged down. Starts have been a consistent problem for Webber all season and the initiative he had gained in qualifying was lost in the first 200 metres of the race.

Button got a good start up to fourth from fifth on the grid., as did Lewis Hamilton, who made up four places on the opening lap.

Schumacher was the first to take the soft slick tyres on lap 11, he was forced to stop after sliding into Kobayashi and losing his nose cone.

As he set fastest sector times, Button switched too, with Alonso and Webber coming in a lap later, as did Hamilton.

Vettel had the luxury of taking an extra lap before making his stop. Vettel had a 6 second lead before the stops and afterwards it was down to 3.3 seconds.

The McLaren worked well on slick tyres on a damp track; Button passed Massa for P5 and shortly afterwards Hamilton passed Alonso on the wettest part of the circuit for third place.

Webber closed up on his team mate on the slick tyres.

Hamilton’s tyres began to drop off and Alonso was able to repass him using DRS on the Wellington Straight.

Paul Di Resta was going very well in seventh place, lapping faster than the cars behind including Rosberg’s Mercedes, but a disastrous stop on lap 26 cost him a lot of time. The team was ready for Sutil. Then Di Resta’s race was ruined by contact with a Toro Rosso.

A disastrous stop for Vettel also cost him the lead to Alonso. On a track still damp in parts the lesson was that old tyres up to temperature were faster than brand new tyres. Alonso and Hamilton used this to undercut Webber and when Vettel had his problem, both men found themselves ahead of the world champion.

As Alonso drove away from them, Vettel was faster than Hamilton and had to try to make a pass.

Alonso was almost two seconds a lap faster than Hamilton around lap 32. Still Vettel didn’t try a move on Hamilton.

Red Bull had to wait until lap 37 to pit Vettel – because any earlier and he may not have made the finish – and he duly undercut Hamilton for second place.

Alonso pitted a lap later and maintained his 10 second lead. Button pitted at the same time but his front right wheel not wasn’t attached and he had to stop the car at the pit exit.

The new interpretation on Engine mapping for blown diffusers meant a change in fuel consumption for the race and with 15 laps to go Hamilton had to go into fuel saving mode, allowing Webber to close on him and pass for a podium place with five laps to go.

At the front Alonso was able to continue to drive away from Vettel, who fell into the clutches of Webber at the end. But the Australian was told by the team to ‘maintain the gap’ and did not try a pass.

Meanwhile Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari got into the points from the lower third of the grid for the third race in a row.

BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Silverstone, 52 laps
1. Alonso Ferrari 1h28:41.194
2. Vettel Red Bull + 16.511
3. Webber Red Bull + 16.947
4. Hamilton McLaren + 28.986
5. Massa Ferrari + 29.010
6. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:00.665
7. Perez Sauber + 1:05.590
8. Heidfeld Renault + 1:15.542
9. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:17.912
10. Alguersuari Toro Rosso + 1:19.108
11. Sutil Force India + 1:19.712
12. Petrov Renault + 1:20.600
13. Barrichello Williams + 1 lap
14. Maldonado Williams + 1 lap
15. Di Resta Force India + 1 lap
16. Glock Virgin + 2 laps
17. D’Ambrosio Virgin + 2 laps
18. Liuzzi HRT + 2 laps
19. Ricciardo HRT + 3 laps

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the numbers are symbolic:

-27th win… 27 legendary number at Ferrari (GV)

-60 years at same circuit where 1st Ferrari win was given

-Drove the same Ferrari a few hours before.

Alonso= made for Ferrari!


it was interesting listening to Alonso in the post race press conference about all the history at Ferrari etc etc… and gushing with pride…

and all that Sebastian Vettel could do is listen to Fernando…(and by the look of his expression.. wondering about this magic at Ferrari)


It was a real shame that Button lost his wheel- if he had been amongst the Red Bulls it would have been an even more exciting finish! Now that Massa seems to have got his act together as well then this bodes well for the next few races.

I was wondering Why Hamiliton had a fuel problem and Button did not, or had that story not fully played out as he ( button ) had to retire


Ha Ha “We let our drivers race”. F1 “circus” indeed. And Horner is the lead clown!


Indeed, it’s quite simple really.


I would like to thank the FIA for ruining the British GP.

How many rule changes in one weekend?

Secret deals with different teams re blowing percentage.

And all the while Ferrari stayed silent.

I’ve been watching F1 for 50 years and it never ceases to amaze me how ‘Ferrari politics’ rule F1.

Why would Ferrari bother to build a competitive car when its Machavallian back room antics do the trick every time.

Frankly disgusted.

The commentators on the Australian Ten Network didn’t cover themselves with glory when they explained that the exhaust blowing issue was too complicated to explain to the the poor dumb viewers. I take offense.


Not sure how you come to the conclusion that this was Ferrari’s doing. It’s amazing…Ferrari complain and they bad, Ferrari keep quiet and they bad…guess they just can’t do anything right can they?


Final race with a very intense, strategies, and struggles precious as Massa and Hamilton. I wish all races were well and they had the intrigue and excitement until the end.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing it from my house, so he could watch live the final battle for fourth place must have an incredible memory. Let’s see if I can soon have the opportunity to go to an F1 race and feel the noise and speed near! So far I have no recourse to competitions like this, I never touch, but one day will come!


I want to ask your opinion on Rookie of The Year to the moment. I like Perez and DiResta. Paul especially has been doing some great laps lately. Perez is very smooth. Both great young drivers. What do you guys think? What about James?


Another race weekend, another fine mess by McLaren. Something needs to change there, I like Martin Whitmarsh, but under his leadership there seems to be far too many mistakes creeping in which just were not there in years gone by. Wrong tyres for qualifying, not enough fuel for race unless someone told them it was only going to be 43 laps! and just a careless pitstop – releasing the guy without checking the mechanics. Just an utter shambles. Jenson and Lewis two very competent drivers being seriously handicapped by their team. Distinct possibility that they could have finished 2nd and 3rd in that race.

Lewis back to his best, overtaking Alonso into copse was just incredible.

Finally Vettle shown that its not as easy when you are not in the lead. Couldn’t get past Hamilton and wrecked his tyres trying to. Under pressure from Webber at the end so lost loads of pace somewhere.

Massa, starting to think this guy is a joke, absolutley zero defending when he let Vettle through. Didn’t even bother to put up a fight and can recall him doing the same earlier in the season. The racer in him seems to have disappeared.

Schumacher penalty was a joke. Sure Kobayashi spun, but c’mon its a racing incident. Track was wet and Schumi just dropped it under braking. Not intensional at all and its a real real shame the stewards feel that they have to flex their muscles at every coming together these days.

Great sportsmanship from Domenicali at the end saying that Hamilton/Massa was fine. Racing should be like that and you should fight for every position.

All in all, more of the same please. Drop Dullencia, Bahrain etc and lets go to Spa, Silverstone, Monza and all the other fantastic old circuits more often please.


It was a great win by Alonso and Ferrari, catching Vettel and Red Bull off-guard. It was also a very good performance by Hamilton in 4th place, holding off Massa in the dying stages. Alonso and Hamilton are the only ones that have a chance of catching Vettel in the World Championship.

Schumacher had a good race despite the stop-and-go penalty, which I didn’t agree with. Without this, he would have comfortably finished ahead of his teammate, Rosberg in 6th place. In terms of overall ultimate speed, he is still about 3 tenths down from where he was back in 2006. I say by this time next year, Schumacher will be back to his vintage best, give or take a tenth of a second.

Ricciardo had a good weekend on debut, but it was hard to judge his speed in comparison with Liuzzi due to the changeable conditions.


Slightly off topic, but I got the geel for the first time this weekend that Lewis might actually benifit from a team change. In recent races it feels like a trust is missing between him and the team, iz’s time for a change.

Personally I now think it would be great to see him in a Red Bull for 2012.

Mclaren may be his home but he needs to see what else is out there!


My bet is that Paul DiResta has been specially drafted-in and will eventually replace Hamilton at McLaren in the not-too-far-distant-future … I doubt that Ferrari or Red Bull will take on Hamilton and I can’t see him going to a lesser team … I could be mistaken but as far as I’m concerned he’s been progressively hammering the nails’ into his own coffin … time will tell??

Regards … Jane


Great report James, we have had a thrilling British GP and particularly the end where Massa and Hamilton fought it out to the line.

However, after a replay I saw on TV, I found that Hammy was doing a bit of dirty driving. You can see this again here:

In the replay, you can see Hamilton steering into Massa in attempt to ram him off, and from Massa’s point of view, you can see him taken the hit and his car got swerved to the right.

Although I like Hamilton’s aggressive style, isn’t this over the top and unsportsman, and even dirty driving?

Michael got peanlised for a mistake, while this type of dirty driving wasn’t looked into by the stewards. So is it FIA accepting unsportsmenship and think mistakes cannot be forgiven and must be punished??


To be precise, watch from 0:47 onwards, with Hamilton steering into Massa at 0:54.


It’s called oversteer, anyway Massa was guilty on a more than one occassion on Sunday of desperately closing the door on drivers. See his defence of Button for a good example. It’s becoming something of a trademark.


Thank you for your reply.

First I must state again that I do not dislike or hate Hamilton, and I’m a fan of his take-no-prisoner style approach to racing, which makes things colourful for us audience here.

However, having replayed that bit of the race again and again and many many times again, I seriously do not see oversteer from Hamilton’s side. His rear wasn’t sliding so much that required such an aggreesive counter-steer to correct hsi car. Compare that with Massa when he was hit by Hamilton, Massa’s rear was sliding then he had to counter-steer to make up for the oversteer from the rear.

Massa over-defending at other times, maybe. I don’t know as I am not on those topics, focusing solely on this incident. In this incident however, Massa already overshot the corner in order to give racing enough racing room, and was on the outside of the corner so he couldn’t possibly have been over-defending.

I stand by my view on Hamilton being over-aggressive and a little dirty driving here. Again, not that I dislike Hammy, just purely objective point of view speaking.



James, slightly off-topic but also relevant, can you clarify: (a) it is FIA (or is it FOM?) who decide what radio transmissions WE hear? (b) Do the other teams get to hear any other transmissions further than those that we hear? (c) So, who decides which messages get broadcast to US (and hence the other teams)? My point is (not wishing to stir up another Conspiracy Theory, but…) since some messages can be ‘damaging’ info for one team and advantageous to another (eg: “Lewis, you need to save fuel…”) so could it be argued the people who decide which messages to put out, could be biased, even influencing a race outcome! Or, are they like BBC News during Political Coverage, where the political parties (F1 Teams) have a stopwatch on how many seconds of airtime (number of radio messages) each party is given, to ensure they all come out equally?!!


It is the FOM race director who decides. The teams do not hear anything else on TV, but they do all monitor each other’s radios. It seems a and c are the same question


Looks like we’ll be hearing more of RBR team order ‘maintain the gap’ topic till Germany. Team order or not, I felt Mark could not pass Vettel.

And I feel the Vettel bashing is totally unfair. Vettel will be aiming for as much records in F1 history this season. I’d do that.

Only consolation is Alonso won the race with a superb drive even though he benefitted from Vettel’s botched pit stop. Could Vettel have caught up if not for Lewis’s strong defence.

All in all it was a great race, no doubt.



I really like Massa as a personality, but he is always lacking something. Look at the last race, he could really overtake lewis…..if he was pushling through the entire race as hard as he did in last 5 laps. You never know what will happen later in the race and therefore you always need to think that this 0.1 sec per lap could make a huge difference.



Ferrari won today due to several things that unfolded in their favour:

1. EBD rule changes as red bull and mclaren lost a bit more by the look of things

2. Red Bull made a rare mistake with the pit stop of vettel and then vettel was stuck behind slow hamilton nit wanting to risk too much knowing how can hamilton defend

3. Ferrari never needed to try the hard tyre, which is not the best type of tyre for them

4. Obviously updates on the car seem to work.

Now we need to wait 2 more races to see how the season is going to unfold. We shall see when things are going to be back to where they were and then we wiol realize that ferrari indeed suffered the least from the EBD rule changes, but then I do not understand why Domenicali agreed to return to what it was.

Another thing that is clear-vettel is not so impressive when he needs to overtake, fight for trhe win in a not so dominant car. He was nit abke to overtake hamilton when lewis was a lot slower. Can you image lewis doing this?


yes i can. lewis couldnt overtake sutil in malaysia last year because the force india was faster on the straights despite the mclaren being much faster around the circuit. the redbull was slower on the straights were overtaking was possible yesterday and therefore very hard foe vettel to overtake. vettel always has a slow car on the straights so makes it lots harder for him to pass than lewis or fernando who have more powerful engines and less drag overall.


Vettel I think has shown today and in Montreal that on a track where Red Bull’s race pace in the dry was not the quickest (Button caught him at 2s/lap in the dry in Montreal, and Alonso sped of at 1s/lap in the dry Silverstone) when the rain comes, he can pull away at 1 second a lap. That is absolutely astounding, as that meant he found 2 or 3 more seconds compared to these guys (to cover the deficit, and have a 1s pace advantage).

Had the race not started wet, I think we would’ve seen a different picture as we haven’t seen Ferrari’s hard tyre issues being dealt with head-on, and that could’ve been a joker. Had the rain started during the race again, I think Vettel would’ve been a shoe-in for the victory


Horner can’t have it both ways, if he wanted a safe race so all the RB staff got to see their cars finish why did he allow Vettel to pass Webber at the start on a wet track which was arguably more dangerous???


Any chance of making ANY comment at all on Red Bulls team orders James? As a journalist I thought it would be at the top of your list.


If Mr Horner believes his call was in the best interest of ‘The Team’ and they already have the Constructors and (I believe) the Drivers championships locked up, should they not be trying to also secure Marks position in 2 on the Drivers table and therefore let him pass Seb so as to get a bigger buffer to the 3rd place driver on the table?

Some people are quick – Take a look at the final parragraph on the Christian Horner wikipedia site for what the ‘facts’ say about RBR after last nights race.


If what Mr Horner says about ‘The Team’ being the important thing and with RBR having the Constructors Championship and I’m sure the Drivers Championship already locked up isn’t it in ‘The Teams’ best interests to now make sure they secure the 2nd palce on the Drivers Championship and therefore should have let Mark race/pass Vettel so he would have a bigger buffer to the 3rd place driver in championship points?

Some people are very quick take a look at the last parragraph of info on Christian Horners wikipedia site for what the ‘facts’ say about RBR after last nights race.


Webber contained himself on the podium and at the post race conference, but you can see he was really frustrated and why shouldn’t he be.

Tell me this Mr Horner, if it was reversed i.e. Webber in front of Vettel would you say “maintain gap”…. I think not.

Actually I think we are being too hard on Horner, that order came from higher up the ranks within RB IMO anyway.

If they really wanted to try and secure a RB 1&2 for championship the orders should have been “Webber is faster, allow the pass”. This would have given more points to Mark and edged him further away from Alonso, Hamilton and Button. It’s unlikely that Vettel won’t win this year given his form and current points standing.

I just don’t understand the RB management and I hope this really fires up Webber to now go and win the German GP!!

Also well done to Alonso, hope we see more of this and more of the others taking wins, we need it!!


Can someone please explain this to me:

Last year:

When Seb crashed into Webber (Horner/Helmut said otherwise), Mark was blamed and Horner/Helmut said that he should have let Seb go as Seb is much faster (lets just ignore that Mark was told to go on fuel saving mode when clearly there was no need).

Silverstone 2011:

Mark was told to maintain the gap (read: dont overtake Seb) when clearly he was the faster man.

I am really confused…

Good on Mark for ignoring the team order (if he really did ignore it) but I am afraid that this will damage his chances of retaining the seat at RBR.


What wasn’t Mark permitted past Vettel to have a crack at Alonso ?

Horner talks about consolidating points. The team loses nothing by letting Mark past to have a crack at Alonso.

Horner lies when he sais they want to consolidate points and no-one is bigger than the team.

They are protecting Vettel and he IS bigger than the team.


Ahh team orders. Alonso could have cut back Seb’s championship lead even further if Webber had gotten 2nd.

I love the irony.


I realize that Vettel-bashing is a favorite pastime with many, but I see no problem with Red Bull telling Webber not to pass on the last lap. It was the sensible team decision and quite legal this year. Whether or not Vettel has the “race craft” to please some, his strong points make him a deserved WDC. Amongst them, today as in Montreal, he is a superb rain driver. If rain is the great equalizer, then he is more equal than most. His failure to pass Hamilton I believe can be attributed to Hamilton’s expert ability to defend. Also, kudos to Button for not crying about his misfortune.


In agreement there. It’s probably Mark’s strongest track and alas I can’t see him winning a race this year now. Hope I’m wrong.


Seb, isn’t this a sham? You’re the World Champion, you’re supposed to be best driver in the world and Red Bull are reduced to begging on the radio to make your team-mate slow down, so he doesn’t overtake you, suggesting the results aren’t really what we’ve seen. How do we know you’re a worthy champion?


Can’t blame Vettel for that. Chris Horner comes off more than a bit hypocritical after his remarks regarding Ferrari’s management of the German GP last year.

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