Monday, July 9, 2012

Webber Works Late Race Magic to Win at Silverstone

Photo Credit: Pirelli Photo Service 

Entering the 2012 season with low expectations, the Ferrari F2012 race car has nonetheless shown excellent pace during moments of this Formula 1 tour. Winning in the wet weather Malaysian Grand Prix in a race many observers dismissed as an anomaly of not-so potent effort, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso has added to legitimacy to a still-active 2012 campaign by winning the European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain. Alonso and the once-discounted Ferrari F2012 took pole for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone skating to the fastest time on a damp race course. 

While forecasts leading up to the British Grand Prix weekend allowed many to believe a wet race would be imminent, rain held off on Sunday's 52-lap event. The 24 cars of the Formula 1 series assembled on the gird for the historic United Kingdom track which was been a famous World Championship stop ever since the sanctioning body's inception in 1950.

Photo Credit: Sauber Motorsport AG.

Before the race even started, the Caterham-Renault of Vitaly Petrov became the British Grand Prix's first DNF. When driving to his grid position, the Renault racing engine suffered a smokey failure causing the Russian driver to set out the event. The second Caterham vehicle of Heikki Kovalainen fared better during the British Grand Prix ultimately going the full distance less a lap. Another early retirement in the British Grand Prix would be the Force India-Mercedes of Paul di Resta who survived just two laps before spinning off course.

Despite the third place starting Mercedes GP of Michael Schumacher holding at the front in the early stage of the event, the 2012 British Grand Prix at Silverstone race was ultimately a battle between the Ferrari team and Red Bull Racing organization cars. Holding ownership of the top-four through almost the entire 52-lap distance. At the time in 4th and 5th place, Felipe Massa for Ferrari fought off Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull-Renault through the opening laps. fighting closely, Vettel made contact with rear end of Massa's car causing carbon fiber debris to fly through the air. While dramatic, both competitors would continue however Vettel would require an earlier than scheduled pit stop.

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

For almost the entire grand prix on the Silverstone track, Fernando Alonso had the advantage over the competition. However, the three victory by the Ferrari Spanish driver in 2012 was thrown off balance by the second pit stop in the event. After going to entire race distance up to lap 33 on hard compound Pirelli tires, series competition rules required Ferrari to involve the soft compound slick tires in what was their final stop. During the final run, a battle ensued as the Red Bull-Renault of Mark Webber began to aggressively track the leading Ferrari of Alonso. A less than 4-second gap at lap 38, Fernando Alonso was reeled in by the Red Bull Racing driver. Ten laps later, Mark Webber found a way around Alonso's Ferrari taking the lead in the Silverstone Circuit's Luffield section. Leading the final laps and pulling out a 3 second interval on Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber sailed across the start-finish line to win the British Grand Prix.
A second time winner in 2012, Mark Webber's victory at Silverstone makes two victories in the British Grand Prix event. Red Bull Racing's win as a constructor on the day makes for three victories in four years at the course. Enduring an early race bout with Massa, Sebastian Vettel backed-up Webber's result by pulling the second Red Bull-Renault on a podium spot in third place behind Alonso's Ferrari.

Felipe Massa crossed the line in a steady fourth place with his #6 Ferrari. Massa finished ahead of a pair of Lotus-Renault race cars driven by Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean to a fill out the top-6 of the 2012 British Grand Prix.

The McLaren race cars endured a rough outing in what is considered a home grand prix for the organization. Lewis Hamilton finished 8th while Jenson Button finished 10th as both drivers complained about handling issues during the 52-lap race. The Williams-Renault piloted by Bruno Senna split the McLaren teammates.

Losing out on points-scoring positions, Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado were involved in a lap 12 coming-together when the Williams-Renault drifted into the Sauber-Ferrari. While Perez was knocked out of the grand prix, Maldonado carried on through the remaining race distance. An incident that caught the ire of Formula 1 stewards. There was also an incident where the remaining Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi had overshot his pit stall and ran into several crew members. Fortunately isolated to minor injuries, a regretful Kobayashi was also reviewed after the race. Both Maldonado and Kobayashi would receive cash penalties only. Pastor Maldonado additionally was put on notice by Formula 1 with a reprimand for his incident.

The next race on the Formula 1 circuit is two weeks away with the German Grand Prix set for July 22nd.

2012 Formula 1
British Grand Prix
Race Results

1 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
2 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
4 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari
5 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
6 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
8 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
9 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault
10 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
11 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
12 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
13 16 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
14 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
15 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
16 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
17 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault
18 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth
19 25 Charlie Pic Marussia-Cosworth
20 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT F1
21 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT F1
22 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
23 11 Paul di Resta Force India
24 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault

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