Webber and Red Bull hunt down Alonso for brilliant Silverstone victory
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Jul 2012   |  3:47 pm GMT  |  188 comments

Mark Webber chose the perfect strategy and paced his race to perfection to catch and pass Fernando Alonso in the closing stages and clinch his second British Grand Prix victory.

It was the ninth win of Webber’s career and his second of 2012. It was also his second British Grand Prix win to go with his second Monaco victory earlier this year. Webber’s Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel completed the podium.

The result moved Webber to just 13 points behind Alonso in the drivers’ world championship and confirmed him as Alonso’s closest championship rival. The double podium finish extended Red Bull’s advantage at the top of the Constructors’ Championship.

After a weekend of heavy rain, Silverstone surprisingly remained dry throughout the race, which was run entirely on slick tyres. With track temperatures fluctuating between 34 degrees and 29 degrees,

There was a further surprise in the race as the hard compound tyre proved to be faster than the soft and ultimately it was the final stint that proves decisive as Webber, who had started the race on the softs, ended on the hards, while Alonso was the other way around.

The greater structural strength of the hard tyre was important through the lateral loads in the high speed corners of sector 2 in particular, while drivers found that the soft tyre understeered more in the race. Pre-race expectations that it was up to a second faster than the hard proved inaccurate.

Ferrari had started Massa on softs and had data from his runs which indicated that the softs would perform reasonably well at the end, but Webber’s pace on hards was too much for Alonso, who had not been able to build enough of a lead over Webber in the early part of the race to maintain his position at the end. Webber stayed in touch with Alonso throughout the first two stints of the race, never allowing him to get too far ahead and then was able to catch and pass him with one decisive move around the outside of Brooklands corner with there laps to go.

“I have a few wins now, but this one is taking a little bit to sink in,” Webber said. “I think it didn’t look like a spectacular race with Fernando initially but it was on. There was a little bit of strategy involved, particularly pacing stints on tyres.

“I knew he was running a different way, and I thought after first stint he was in very good shape to close the win out, but it came our way in the last stint and I am absolutely over the moon.”

Alonso had controlled the race throughout as he kept a steady gap ahead of the Red Bull duo. However, the superior speed and durability of the prime tyre turned the race in Mark Webber’s favour as he took the lead with just four laps remaining. Vettel came close to making it a Red Bull 1-2 after an early pit stop put the double World Champion in contention for the race win. He had earlier been in a train of cars stuck behind Michael Schumacher but opted for the early stop after seeing the performance of the prime tyres. In the clear air he was able to jump from fifth to third.

Lewis Hamilton was the only other driver in the top ten to start on the prime tyre. But he was not able to exploit the advantage of the tyres; being caught in a queue of traffic behind Schumacher. When the traffic did clear during the first phase of pit stops he was 18 seconds off Alonso. He shortly held the lead but Alonso quickly regained first on fresher tyres. Hamilton eventually finished the race in 8th position.

Felipe Massa put in arguably his best drive of the season and his highest finishing position since Korea in 2012 to hold off a fast-charging Kim Raikkonen and take fourth place. Massa looked racey throughout as he hassled Schumacher in the early stages, taking third place but losing that position to Vettel after the pit stops.

Raikkonen headed home Lotus team mate Romain Grosjean as the pair gained another good haul of points for the team after swapping fastest laps in the closing stages of the Grand prix. Grosjean in particular produced yet another very good performance to overcome an early front-wing change and pass Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.

Schumacher and Hamilton both had difficult races, starting from third and eighth and finishing seventh and eighth respectively, lacking pace throughout. Schumacher’s main struggles were on the prime tyre relative to other teams as he slipped down the field during the second half of the Grand Prix. Hamilton did a very short middle stint on the soft tyres, after running a long first stint on the hards which looked like it might have got him into contention for a strong points finish.

Bruno Senna and Jenson Button completed the top 10 of a lively race. Button made up four positions on the opening lap to make up for his poor qualifying but did not have the pace to progress in to the major points scoring positions.

In the early stages of the Grand Prix Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez were in amongst the points scoring positions. But a overtaking manoeuvre around the outside by Perez quickly ruined their days as Maldonado lost control and continued his run of assisting other drivers in early retirements. Maldonado managed to finish the race but in a lowly 16th. Perez described the Venezuelan as “stupid” and said that he and other drivers felt that he shouldn’t be in F1, with such driving.

Kamui Kobayashi compounded a bad day for Sauber when he locked up on the way into the pits and struck a member of his team. Kobayashi continued to 11th place, while the mechanic went to the medical centre for attention.

The three podium finishers all got trophies, but the fans deserved a medal for putting up with difficult conditions, muddy car parks and traffic problems all weekend. In the end the race provided a great end to the weekend, which had started off in such trying circumstances due to heavy rain.

[Additional reporting: Matt Meadows]

BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Silverstone, 52 Laps
1. Webber Red Bull 1h25:11.288
2. Alonso Ferrari + 3.060
3. Vettel Red Bull + 4.836
4. Massa Ferrari + 9.519
5. Raikkonen Lotus + 10.314
6. Grosjean Lotus + 17.101
7. Schumacher Mercedes + 29.153
8. Hamilton McLaren + 36.463
9. Senna Williams + 43.347
10. Button McLaren + 44.444
11. Kobayashi Sauber + 45.379
12. Hulkenberg Force India + 47.856
13. Ricciardo Toro Rosso + 51.241
14. Vergne Toro Rosso + 53.300
15. Rosberg Mercedes + 57.394
16. Maldonado Williams + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham + 1 lap
18. Glock Marussia + 1 lap
19. Pic Marussia + 1 lap
20. De la Rosa HRT + 2 laps
21. Karthikeyan HRT + 2 laps

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1

I was intrigued by the British GP. I noticed that Lewis Hamilton, while entering the pits in order to make his first stop, virtually overtook other drivers (according to the standings on TV). It appears that the fastest way to finish a lap while being in the Stowe corner is not via the regular track, but via the pits entry.

This reminded me to Ayrton Senna’s fastest lap in Donington ’93, which was set due to mistakenly entering the pits. I also had in mind Schumacher’s controversial race win in the 98 British GP, as he was penalized but served the stop&go penalty in the ultimate lap.

Now this leaves two questions:

– Is it still allowed to finish the race in the pit street?

– Do we have evidence that the fastest way to drive the third sector of the Silverstone track is via the pit street? Could Alonso have won the race that way if he would have been any closer to Webber?

All the best from the Netherlands, sweet country without Grand Prix winners 🙁

2

Good question about pits but this is what you should focus on….Your Dutch pride!!! You got Zandvoort, Assen, Jos ‘the boss’ Verstappen, Christijan Albers, Robert Doornbos and the one and only Jan Lammers…For me thats worth more than all of schumi’s gift wrapped GP wins.

3

Was it just my imagination, or did Button “block” Hamilton for a couple of corners knowingly that the latter is quicker and only to succumb rather easily to the Lotus? Surely it can’t be that Jenson deliberately hindered his team-mate’s progress.

4

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing! Not that it would’ve mattered. Grosjean would’ve passed Hamilton eventually, but Button did absolutely no favours for Hamilton (and McLaren), while pretty much rolling over right away for Grosjean after Hamilton had passed. Button’s useless.

This isn’t the first time Button has done this either, yet I can’t recall an instance where LH has held up Button if team strategy called for him to stand aside.

5

Mclaren started the year with the best car but now they are even behind the sauber and williams which makes them 6th best team just infront of str. I think they should have come out with the higher nose configuration jsut like the othes right from the start. Now they may need 3-4 more races to get back to the top by that time Alonso and the redbulls will have got more than 80 points advantage over hamilton and with one or two pit stop set backs lewis will lose another 20 points…chamionship for hamilton is dead but they can at least finish maybe in the top 4 r if they can beat the lotus 3rd at the end of the year.

6

Dunno about 6th fastest, but 4th definitely (RBR, Ferrari and Lotus ahead of them). Hard for me to believe that it’s down to the chassis, at least on the aero side. It’s all down to how the car can’t look after the tires while maintaining a competitive pace.

If they continue on as they have done, then yes, the championship is over for the team and both drivers. But there could just as easily be more twists and turns in the championship yet. I just remember the second-half of 2005 … the McLaren won 7 of the last 9 races that year (Raikkonen won 4; Montoya won 3).

In that year McLaren left it too late (common refrain), plus there was no other team besides Renault consistently a threat for wins. So Alonso was able to withstand KR’s late challenge by scoring podiums.

This year if McLaren were able to get back on top, and clearly on top, then RBR and Ferrari will take points off each other. I’m not holding out much hope, but ya never know.

7

Great win for Webber, and the RB8 is the car to beat now. Terribly disappointing day as a McLaren fan … they are floundering (though credit where credit’s due, their pitstops today were phenomenal). Where did that 5-tenth’s advantage from Barcelona go? Maybe they didn’t have as good a dry setup as the other teams today, but still it is what it is. They’re still nowhere on the tires.

Has the mandated floor change really hurt them that badly? I suppose it came at a most inopportune time, as there were perhaps developments meant to link up with that design that then had to be rethought, etc. But RBR dealt with a floor change effectively enough, though now it’s clear they were always going to be changing their floor at Valencia anyways (Webber alluded to this in the Thursday presser in Canada).

It seems now, with the tires as they are, that the MP4-27 is now the 4th fastest car, after the RB8, F2012, and the Lotus. If I was Lewis, and there was a chance to go to RBR and link up with Newey, I’d do it in a NY second!

Macca best in the development race??? Doesn’t look like it, AT ALL.

And with Murray basically crying uncle after failing to force the 2nd set tie-break, an awful Sunday for British sportsmen.

8

The Toro Rosso placings are transposed in the results at the top – Ricciardo pipped Vergne by 2 seconds.

9

Why do you have Vergne ahead of Ricciardo?

13. Vergne Toro Rosso + 51.200

14. Ricciardo Toro Rosso + 53.300

From my memory Daniel finished ahead of Vergne.

10

Brendan = Daniel Ricciardo

🙂

11

Guy’s hindsight is a wonderful thing, a lot of people telling us how it was going to turn out(matter of factly). Maybe some consulting work is on your horizon for a teams strategist position so they don’t make any more mistakes.

There have been a lot of calls for Domenicaly’s head over the past few weeks, has anyone stopped to think that along with Alonso’s great driving he is another reason that Ferrari is leading the WDC, the car they are using is not the class of the field is it ? Anyone working for Ferrari get scrutinised for for every tiny thing that is not a win.

James, hearing the guys talk about the HP battle of the engines it would be interesting to know the facts about them. Do you think that when these engines have finished their service next year we will find out the actual numbers/ could we find out the numbers ? A lot of people might be quite surprised, for example a car with a lot of downforce will be slower in a straight line .ie Redbull. Yet the Lotus’s with the same engine are quite often at the top of the speed trap at almost every circuit ?

Did any cartoon ever get drawn up with the Alonso/ Webber joke “Mark, Fernando is faster than you……. Well he’ll be able to get by then wont he !” =>

Great drive Mark i hope this is your year.

Sorry about the length guys.

12

James,

Webber is looking like more of a match for Vettel this season, as opposed to last year. Has it just taken him a year to get over the disappointment of 2010?

As for Pastor Mardonaro, and the other BTCC wannabe drivers, could they maybe learn a thing or two about overtaking from webber and alonso? They’ve had some epic battles over the years!

Cheers

13

Red Bull is the strongest team right now. I ‘m scared thinking of next video edit from F1 official website with dozens of replays of Webber’s pass to ALO and sad faces of Ferrari Garage.

14

I’m very happy with a Webber win.

Maldonado is rapidly becoming the bogie man of F1. Lewis will be pleased.

Just one question. That was Sutil at the GP wasn’t it? Did a team invite him or did he buy a ticket?

15

he seemed to be in a garage

16

Sutil’s picked up some work with Sky Germany, apparently:

http://motorsport.nextgen-auto.com/Sutil-still-pushing-for-F1-comeback,44754.html

17
Bring Back Murray

I agree. The grid-walk was a joke wasn’t it.

They should cut their losses on that and find something else to do.

18
Bring Back Murray

(Was supposed to reply to comment #33)

19

Oh yeah, brilliant from Mark Webber.

20

Good race seemed to be ruined by the producer showing lots of views of film celebs/tyre walls etc. ( both about the same in terms of interest!). Not an Alonso fan but he is definately a class driver. Not a Grosjean fan but he is consistantly quick and was undoubtedly “driver of the day”. Maldonado, first up against the wall when I’m in charge!!

21

Maybe you should consider becoming an Alonso and Grosjean fan!

22
Simon Russell

I left the Red Button Forum about half way into it. Even the presenters looked uncomfortable and it felt embarrassing. The Forum was compelling viewing in the past. Maybe with less budget this year, that has affected it?

I also agree about DC. By the way, I thought his grid walk was a shambles. He ended up interviewing Eddie Jordan!

23

Lotus was very quick today. If they only could quali better they should be able to win. Surprising to see Romain so high up, but if you look at it is maybe not so strange anyway. He could race all the race on the better tyres (even if he had to stretch the stints a little longer). He also could race more in free space. And the cars he came up to in the beginning he could easily pass (they were much slower). Kimi was not able to use his pace in the majority of the race. Being stuck behind cars that was almost as quick as him. A little bit more luck at the first lap and he could have a much better race.

24

Grojean was fast but he was helped by Maldonado/Perez incident.

25

How can people excuse Maldonado?  He chose the inside line, braked too late, missed the apex by a mile and still had his car at a shallow angle well after the proper apex point. By the time he looped his car he was no longer trying to make the turn, he was trying to avoid running into Perez.  How much more room can people expect Perez to yield when he already gave Maldonado twice as much room as he should have needed. 

26

What has happened to Webber’s DRS and KERS? They have been way too reliable lately; Redbull better get their act together !!

27

Ha! Funniest comment so far.

I think Webo is finally getting his head around the tyres. I notice he paces himself much better now and isn’t the first to head to the pits for new tyres like in the past.

28

Love it.

29

Don’t worry, Webbo’s mechanics are bound to go back to last years favourite prank sooner than later…. the old pull the park break up while at the stops trick…Webbo always falls for it!!

If that doesnt work im sure Helmut Marko (Dick Dastardly) and Vettel (Muttley) have something up their sleeve

30

It starts to look like 2010 Alonso and webber in front while better is trailing.

Pastor needs to do him self a favor and calm down. He is very fast but he needs to overcome his bad self.

It would be nice to see webber finishing in front of vetted for the championship just for a change. The way he won this race was very calm and he lost the championship in 2010 because he could not keep his calmness and have mediocre results in the last races. Maybe if luck is with him this year as in 2010 he could make it.

When will grosjean win a race?

31

James, do you think this race sees Mclaren and the drivers out of contention? Silverstone was their big upgrade weekend after weeks of no upgrades, yet they seem to be the 5th best team only slightly ahead of Sauber and Williams in pace (Button couldn’t get past Bruno Senna for all he tried).

Looks like their strategy to go with a more aesthetic but less efficient front section is proving detrimental now in the development race. Way back in February, Gary Anderson commented that the Mclaren design leaves little room for in-season development and he is proving right.

Heads will/should roll at Mclaren if they indeed finish 3rd/4th/5th in the Constructors. And with this race, I have a gut feeling that Lewis will say good-bye to the team he clearly loves to be with. But wins are all that count and look at ‘Drinks Company’ Red Bull… incredible pace of development under the stewardship of Adrian Newey. Even Ferrari is progressing well, albeit its easier in their case as the car had lots of room to improve.

32

Congratulations to Webber, special mention to Grosjean and his passing moves.

33

Great result so pleased for Mark! I don’t want to see that Ferrari win too often ! I cannot believe anyone could say that was not interesting ( Manish) – this was a good race. As predicted -Red Bull would be strong in the dry and what I think happened was Mclaren left the set up a little soft in case of late rain- just trying to read between the lines on Whitmarshs comments after the race. .James i would be interested to know if it was more set up compromise than Mclarens oughtright pace. I don’t think most teams were counting on a full dry race so the race was always going to be slightly unpredictable from tyre & set up as they all had very little dry running over the weekend .

Don’t we all wish Lotus can qualify just that little bit better ?? but then you can’t have it all I guess. I love watching Kimi race he is so good at having a go and avoiding trouble, and he was still the quickest at the very end taking time from the leaders.

I think the weather uncertainty from Sat / Sun mixed up the outright order a little . Red Bull will continue to dominate if Mclaren & Ferrari don’t get more from their updates . Bring on Hokenhiem !

34

I think Kimi quallied pretty well without KERS and for starting Q1 on the full wets and having to go in and change to inters. The first corner of the first lap messed his race up a bit but he’s brought in another solid bunch of points. Wish Lotus had just pitted him in China and he would have been a points finisher in every single race… Anyway – races always seem better won on a Monday

35

So, to sum it up, Alonso got “tyred” in the closing stages of the race. Honestly, I am getting “tyred” of reading every other week that the “tires” decided the outcome of yet another race (pun fully intended). Am I the only one?

36

Yes you are the only person who would have used “quotes” around his “puns” and then alerted us to the fact that you did in fact intentionally use them as “puns”……..

37

How very sad that you are the only one to take that personally. I was merely pointing out that the outcome of the race was yet again dictated by the tyres (and DRS for that matter) – with several laps to go it was pretty clear that Alonso would be a sitting duck and would have ro yield the lead.

38

Fantastic race after yesterday’s qualifying lottery!

The late pass by Webber on Alonso brought great joy and great racing from Massa, Raikkonen, & Grosjean made it all the more interesting.

Sadly, Hamilton and Schumacher didn’t have the pace to compete today.

And boy is Maldonado a rebel. I don’t think the 10000 Euro fine is enough let alone all of the previous fines he’s received…

James, I watched as Nico Hulk got passed by Senna however, I am not certain as to why he went off the track as he did…letting Button by. What happened there?

39

Hello All,

Am I saw right that Williams garage was at the end of the pitlane? Does anyone know why?

40

Yes. The new Pitlane complex built at Silverstone is actually below racetrack level by a couple of metres at the end entering back onto the track. So, visibility of the garages and pitstop action at that end of the pitlane are quite limited (obscured) to the crowds in the Pitstraight Grandstands opposite. I heard on SkyF1 commentary from Martin Brundle (I think) that the race organisers (or FIA?) allowed a re-ordering of pit garages to let the Big 4 teams be more pit-visible by positions mid-straight.

Someone may correct me, but I am certain this was the reason for the odd pit garage orders this weekend. JF

41

Didn’t see it myself, but if they were, its all political. The new Silverstone pitlane obscures half the teams garages from the fans in the opposite grand stand. So to give the Brits a bit of cheer(and to band aid a bit of design stuff-up), they move teams around from their regular garages so the fans can see the stops of some teams. Not sure what end Williams was at, but being a local favourite, I imagine they were at the end where the fans could see.

42
the pimp's main prophet

Alonso would lead the championship by 27 points, would he have won. Now it’s only 13 points. I’m sure Alonso considers to have lost 14 points today…

43

Alonso only lost WDC ground to one man – Webber. He extended the WDC lead over everyone else. Not all doom n gloom in that. JF

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