Mark Webber’s making a habit of doubling up his grand prix victories. He’s won at Interlagos twice, he’s won on the streets of Monaco twice, and now he has a second victory at Silverstone to add to the collection. In 2010 he lead from the first corner of Silverstone to the last; this year he stalked Alonso for most of the race, only taking the lead on lap 48 of the 52. Alonso contested the place but he didn’t labour the point – Webber had the faster car and the writing was on the wall.
Alonso started the race on the hard tyre, as did McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, the rest of the top 10 opted for the soft tyre. The hard tyre was plainly the better rubber today, and Alonso sprinted away at the start. Webber hung on to second and Michael Schumacher kept third. Felipe Massa slipped past Sebastian Vettel into fourth. Alonso and Webber pulled away while Schumacher held up the field.
Vettel played his cards early and made a stop on lap 11. On the fresh, hard rubber he put in a brace of quick laps and managed to steal two places when everything played out. “I used the momentum and got past Felipe and Michael at the same time,” said Vettel. “We brought the right strategy which brought us back – but you always have a little more on the tyres at the end. I was a little bit too far away to get Fernando at the end – but I’m very happy with third today.”
For a while it looked like Fernando had a bit too much for everyone. Running two hard tyre stints he pulled out a lead of six seconds over Webber – but the Australian started to come back late in the race. He took his second stop before Alonso and, with fresh hard tyres versus old hard tyres began to close the gap.
Alonso, haemorrhaging time, pitted for his mandatory set of soft tyres perhaps earlier than he would have liked. It maintained his lead but Webber ate up the four second gap as the Ferrari struggled on the softs. Mark made a textbook pass with the DRS down the Wellington straight, emerging in front out of the Brooklands corner.
“It’s still sinking in,” said Mark afterwards. “It’s a very special victory for the team, being from just down the road. Thanks to the team for doing a great job – and thanks to all the fans for sticking with us over the last few days…”
Alonso didn’t seem too upset, he emerges from Silverstone still leading the Championship, albeit by a reduced margin. “We lost seven points to Mark but we gained on the rest of the field, so a pretty good Sunday for us,” he said.
Behind the top three Felipe Massa drove a strong race to fourth as Schumacher faded. The two Lotuses were fifth and sixth with Räikkönen outgunning Grosjean after the Frenchman ran a compromised race having pitted in the early exchanges. Schumacher held onto seventh though the Mercedes didn’t look very competitive today. Lewis Hamilton was eighth for McLaren after failing to make any impression on the race despite leading out-of-sequence for a short while. Bruno Senna was ninth for Williams and Jenson Button took the final point in the second McLaren.
Elsewhere the Toro Rosso’s had a lacklustre day with Daniel Ricciardo finishing 13th and Jean-Eric Vergne recovering to 14th from the back of the grid after his Valencia penalty. Paul di Resta took some damage in his Force India and was out of the race early, while Sergio Pérez and Pastor Maldonado had a collision which ruined promising races for both men. Pérez was incandescent and less than complimentary about Maldonado’s driving.
But the sun was shining on Webber and Red Bull Racing. Fernando Alonso now has 129 points to Webber’s 116, with Vettel third on 100. In the Constructors’ Championship Red Bull moved onto 216 points with Ferrari moving into second on 152. McLaren’s disastrous weekend saw them relegated to fourth in the championship, behind Lotus. The championship moves on to Germany.