Peter Anderson | Jul 9, 2012

Mark Webber and Red Bull executed a perfect strategy to defeat Fernando Alonso in an intense battle that stretched across the entire race at this weekend's 2012 British F1 Grand Prix.

Webber's Red Bull teammate finished third, with Ferrari taking second and fourth in a race that stayed dry and sunny throughout.

 

Race

The grid formed under welcome sunny skies, something in short supply this weekend, with Webber on the front row beside polesitter Alonso.

Poor Vitaly Petrov didn't even make it to the grid from the pits, his Caterham suffering a fuel pressure failure on the way to his slot.

Alsonso took an aggressive posture off the start, reminiscent of the man behind him, Michael Schumacher. Webber had to swerve to avoid contact as Alonso cut across him, but he maintained his second place and his front wing.

Behind him the field mostly stayed off each other, but Paul di Resta's miserable weekend saw him gain a puncture and he had to limp to the pits. The contact was with the Lotus of Romain Grosjean.

Kimi Raikkonen almost pulled off the move of the season by going down the inside of both Massa and Vettel, but ended up on the kerb, pushing his prey wide. Vettel swiped Massa's gearbox with his front wing but escaped major damage.

Williams' Bruno Senna made up five places while Button picked up several spots and fought hard with the Lotus of Grosjean and the Mercedes of Rosberg.

Hamilton kept eighth while Perez rocketed up behind him and attacked mercilessly but unsuccessfully, settling for ninth.

Grosjean pitted for a new front wing on the second lap and had a horror stop while the Lotus team struggled to fit the new wing.

Webber stayed within a second of Alonso but was unable to do much about him even with DRS. Daniel Ricciardo stayed out of trouble in the first few laps and moved up a place to fifteenth.

Alonso and Webber were in a race of their own as Michael Schumacher backed up the cars behind him, third to ninth covered by 2.5 seconds on lap 10.

Vettel was the first to pit on lap 11, the reigning champion switching to the prime tyres, a purely strategic move to put him in clear air. The move dropped him into the clutches of the mid-pack.

Massa put a fantastic move on Schumacher on lap 12 passing his former teammate and pulling away.

Maldonado and Perez pitted on the same lap, putting them almost in touch with Vettel. Perez didn't last the out lap, courtesy of Maldonado.

Perez tried to take Maldonado on the outside, gave the Venezuelan plenty of room but the Williams understeered and shoved Perez off the road.

The Williams driver was fined and reprimanded, Perez saying that he was a 'stupid driver.'

Webber was falling away from Alonso who was making hay both while the sun shone and while he was on the prime, harder tyre. The prime tyre was considered the one to race on, so the Spaniard had to pull out a gap to put in the bank for the soft tyre stint.

Webber pitted on lap 15 into reasonably clear air, in front of Hulkenberg and, crucially, in front of his teammate.

Vettel knew he was in with a chance for the podium too, passing Button who promptly locked up all four wheels. While this went on, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton who was yet to pit, took the lead at his home grand prix.

Alonso caught Hamilton and eventually passed him at Aintree, but Hamilton came back at him at Brooklands, not willing to let the lead go without a fight, despite his ageing tyres.

Alonso and Webber traded fastest laps up front as the battle intensified for the top step of the podium. Alonso maintained a five second gap back to Webber, the but RB8 was cantering while the Ferrari was on the edge.

Hamilton's second stop, on lap 29 was also a clean stop, but he rejoined behind Rosberg and Button. Hamilton passed Rosberg a lap later and Grosjean slip-streamed him through, a brave move given Rosberg's reputation for sturdy defence.

Sebastien Vettel pitted on lap 31 in an attempt to jump Webber at the pit stops, Vettel re-emerging behind Raikkonen.

Webber's side of the garage reacted straight away to outsmart his teammate. Red Bull's stop was lightning fast and although he came out behind Raikkonen, he was in front of the German.

Webber went out hard, setting a series of fastest laps. It was to be a straight fight between the two Red Bulls and a Ferrari nervously awaiting a change to the soft tyre.

Alonso had a pit-stop of a lead in hand but Webber was having none of it, determined to be there or thereabouts after the Scuderia man's final stop.

The gap was 21.145 second before the stop and after Alonso's out lap it was 3.9s. The battle was on as the gap ebbed and flowed between them.

Vettel wanted to stay with his teammate and be part of the three-way battle.

Kamui Kobayashi's stop on lap 38 was chaotic as he missed his marks and skittled his pit crew. It looked terrible but nobody was seriously injured, a small mercy after the events at Duxford earlier in the week for Marussia.

Romain Grosjean got past Lewis Hamilton and was flying, coming up behind his teammate despite having to stop for a front wing in the first few laps. Sadly, his challenge faded and a battle with his teammate was not to be.

2012 british formula 1 grand prix 00e
Webber got the gap down to 2.2 seconds with nine laps to go. A lap later it was 1.3s.

Behind them Button was going hard for Senna's tenth place, trying to go around the outside at Stowe, the Brazilian holding him off.

Webber drawing closer to Alonso was cause for much excitement - the Australian has been something of an Alonso-passing specialist in the past couple of years, with amazing moves at Spa and Singapore during the 2011 season.

On lap 46 Webber was so close he could almost see the gears engaging in the Ferrari's gearbox. Webber's tyres were in far better shape than the Ferrari's, his car turning in faithfully and accelerating smoothly out of corners while the red car squirmed and understeered.

Webber dived down the outside on lap 48 and took the lead, Alonso tried to come back at him, but the Australian was past in yet another memorable movement at 290km/h.

"I had a single opportunity to pounce and I wasn't going to let that slip," Webber said after the race.

Webber pulled away at a second a lap and took the victory with a three second margin. The win moves him seven points closer to the lead of the world championship and moves him further ahead of teammate Vettel. His victory leap on the podium said it all.

On the final lap, Hulkenberg was pushed aside by Bruno Senna. Trying to defend, he ended up off the road, handing Button the points Force India so dearly wanted.

Despite a relatively ordinary race, and an eighth place finish, Hamilton entertained the home crowd with a few burnouts on his way back to pitlane. Daniel Ricciardo finished thirteenth, just ahead of his Toro Rosso teammate Jean Eric Vergne.

Lotus teammates Raikkonen and Grosjean finished fifth and sixth, Schumacher came home a slightly disappointing seventh (his teammate was miles behind in fifteenth) while Senna and Button completed the top ten.

"It didn't work out for Fernando in the end," Webber told Jackie Stewart on the podium. "So we were there to capitalise."

It was better than that. Webber took on the double world champion, kept his head, kept the gap and pulled off a signature brave manoeuvre that won him the race.

 

Race Results

1. Mark Webber - Australia Red Bull-Renault 1hr 25m 11.288s 52 laps
2. Fernando Alonso - Spain - Ferrari-Ferrari - +0m 03.0s
3. Sebastian Vettel - Germany - Red Bull-Renault +0m 04.8s

4. Felipe Massa - Brazil - Ferrari-Ferrari - +0m 09.5s
5. Kimi Raikkonen - Finland - Lotus-Renault - +0m 10.3s
6. Romain Grosjean - France - Lotus-Renault - +0m 17.1s
7. Michael Schumacher - Germany Mercedes-Mercedes +0m 29.1s
8. Lewis Hamilton - Britain - McLaren-Mercedes +0m 36.4s
9. Bruno Senna - Brazil - Williams-Renault +0m 43.3s
10. Jenson Button - Britain - McLaren-Mercedes +0m 44.4s

11. Kamui Kobayashi - Japan - Sauber-Ferrari - +0m 45.3s
12. Nico Hulkenberg - Germany - Force India-Mercedes +0m 47.8s
13. Daniel Ricciardo - Australia - Toro Rosso-Ferrari +0m 51.2s
14. Jean-Eric Vergne - France - Toro Rosso-Ferrari +0m 53.3s
15. Nico Rosberg - Germany - Mercedes-Mercedes +0m 57.3s
16. Pastor Maldonado - Venezuela - Williams-Renault +1 lap
17. Heikki Kovalainen - Finland - Caterham-Renault +1 lap
18. Timo Glock - Germany - Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap
19. Charles Pic - France - Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap
20. Pedro de la Rosa - Spain - HRT-Cosworth - +2 laps
21. Narain Karthikeyan - India - HRT-Cosworth - +2 lap

Rtd. Sergio Perez - Mexico - Sauber-Ferrari - 11 laps completed
Rtd. Paul di Resta - Britain - Force India-Mercedes 2 laps completed
Dns. Vitaly Petrov - Russia - Caterham-Renault Did not start

Fastest lap: Kimi Raikkonen - Finland - Lotus-Renault - 1m 34.661s lap 50

 

2012 Driver Standings

1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari-Ferrari - 129
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault - 116
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault - 100

4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes - 92
5 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault - 83
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes-Mercedes - 75
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault - 61
8 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes - 50
9 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari - 39
10 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault - 29
11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes - 27
12 Felipe Massa Ferrari-Ferrari - 23
12 (equal) Michael Schumacher Mercedes-Mercedes - 23
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari - 21
15 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault - 18
16 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes - 17
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari - 4
18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari - 2
ZERO: Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault, Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault, Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth, Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth, Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth, Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth

 

2012 Constructor Standings

1 Red Bull Racing - 216
2 Scuderia Ferrari - 152
3 Lotus F1 Team - 144

4 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes - 142
5 Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team - 98
6 Sauber F1 Team - 60
7 Williams F1 Team - 47
8 Sahara Force India F1 Team - 44
9 Scuderia Toro Rosso - 6
ZERO: Marussia F1 Team, Caterham F1 Team, HRT F1 Team