Silverstone F1 GP: Ferrari’s rampaging horse beats Red Bull’s timid little veal - Vodafone McLaren runs out of luck

Silverstone (UK) -

Two times Formula 1 World Champion and Spanish Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso was the closest rival for Red Bull after qualifying and on Sunday afternoon he put Ferrari back in the long awaited Victory Lane with a beautifully-judged performance that was accentuated by the involutary delay during Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel’s second pit stop.

The German 2010 Formula 1 World Champion was convinced with second place once it became clear that he could not catch the red car, having lost crucial time in the pits when there was a problem with a rear wheel, thus crossing the finish line 16.5s behind the Spaniard. Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber was on his tail during the final stages of the race and was eagerly trying to pass Sebastian Vettel until team boss Christian Horner instructed them to “maintain the gap,� as they struggled with their tires in the closing laps and to avoid valuable points being thrown out of the window due to both an unnecessary and dangerous team duel

Behind the leading trio, Scuderia Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton had a real combat for fourth place. The Englishman had driven in style from P10 on the grid, climbing up the ranks hand over fist after a brilliant start in the early stages when lunchtime rain obliged everyone to shift for Pirelli’s intermediate rain tires. The series of pitstops to change them began on Lap Nine, and meant that nobody thereafter had to use the hard slicks but could run on the soft compounds.

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton overtook his previous team mate Fernando Alonso on the 15th lap and then started to chase Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, but a better timed pit stop for the Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso on the 27th lap put the Ferrari ahead of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes again. After Sebastain Vettel involuntary delay during the second pit stop, the Spanish Scuderia Ferrari moved into the lead, which he never thereafter surrendered.

Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel fell back to third place behind Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton because of his problem, but the Red Bull driver pushed ahead after their final stops. As a matter of fact, Sebastian Vettel got very close to Lewis Hamilton on Lap 35 exiting Woodcote but could not make it due to the defensive driving style of the latter, and opted therefore instead to stop for tires again on Lap 36. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton did likewise on Lap 37, but the German moved ahead after this round of pit stops, but after that Lewis Hamilton was instructed shortly afterwards to back off in order to save fuel. He could do not defend himself against emerging red bull driver Mark Webber, who overtook on the 46th lap, and that set up his fight with Massa.

Down into Vale on the last lap, Brazilian driver Felipe Massa pushed ahead but Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton refused to give up and pushed down the inside of the left-hander. They made brief contact which face-lifted the McLaren’s front wing, but as Hamilton dived back for the inside line exiting the first part of Club, Felipe Massa stayed to the outside but ran wide and then into the run-off area. They crossed the line officially split by 0.024s, with Hamilton dramatically maintaining fourth. Apparently both drivers are destined to spend a lot of time racing against each other, like spectators saw during the last few races!

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, who were able to convert their negative starting position into a challenging and promising race result due to the extra-ordinary fighting spirit of both drivers racing in front of their crowd, turned into a major disappointment when 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button had to retire at the end of the pit lane on the 39th lap, while running second during the final round of pit stops and fighting for a top four position, when his car was released from the pits too soon, with the nut not been fitted to the right front wheel.

Further back the point ranks, Mercedes’s Nico Rosberg kept his nerve of steel despite massive race-long pressure and continuous attacks from Sergio Perez’s Sauber, with Nick Heidfeld taking ninth for Renault after fending off Michael Schumacher. The Mercedes driver had earlier damaged his nose and earned a 10-second stop/go penalty for crashing into Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi as they fought over seventh place ahead of Rosberg and Perez; 7 times World Champion Michael Schumacher recovered, and was the first one in the field to opt for the soft tires, whereas the Japanese driver later retired.

Jaime Alguersuari took the final point after a determined chase of Michael Schumacher ultimately proved useless, and just held off Force India’s Adrian Sutil and Renault’s Vitaly Petrov by the chequered flag.

Misfortune had earlier hit the Force India team, as there had been a mix-up in the tires, when Paul di Resta, running a superb seventh early on, was accidentally given Sutil’s tires and lost a lap while this was rectified. The bitterly disappointed Scot finished the race in a devastating 15th place after driving a superb race.

There was also a close finish between the Williamses. Their hopes of points evaporated very early on, and Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado rarely featured after the opening laps and finished in that order, 13th and 14th, 0.8s apart.

Behind Di Resta, Timo Glock and Jerome D’Ambrosio were 16th and 17th for Virgin, as Tonio Liuzzi drove hard in his HRT to keep the Belgian honest and finished a lap ahead of rookie team mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Neither Team Lotus drivers made it to the finish line, as Heikki Kovalainen dropped out early with gearbox problems and Jarno Trulli likewise hit mechanical trouble with an engine oil leak. Sebastien Buemi joined the other five retirees after slicing his left rear tire in a racing incident with Di Resta, and had to stop when the rubber flew off the rim of his Toro Rosso and to minimize the damage of the bodywork of the car.

Sebastian Vettel, continues the leading the drivers standings, with 204 points, from Mark Webber on 124, as Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso jumps the McLaren drivers with 112 to 109 for each of them. Red Bull extends their constructors’ lead, with 328 points to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 218 and Ferrari’s 164.


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