Aussie Mark Webber wins British Grand Prix
Mark Webber claimed the ninth win of his career on Sunday when he swept to a dramatic and perfectly-judged victory in an incident-filled British Grand Prix.
MARK WEBBER claimed the ninth win of his career on Sunday when he swept to a dramatic and perfectly-judged victory in an incident-filled British Grand Prix.
In a race run in welcome, if rare, dry conditions, the 35-year-old Australian steered his Red Bull through 52 laps of complex tactical and strategic racing to overtake pole sitter and longtime leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari close to the end.
It was Webber’s second win this year, after triumphing at Monaco, his fourth straight podium at Silverstone and his second British GP victory in three years.
“Great day for us and a great day for me,” he said over the team radio.
Webber’s Red Bull team-mate and defending double world champion Sebastian Vettel came home third to ensure the champions had two men on the podium.
Webber’s win was watched by a capacity Silverstone crowd of 120,000 spectators who had braved torrential rain for most of the weekend.
Alonso’s second place enabled him to stay on top of the drivers’ title race with 129 points ahead of Webber on 116.
Felipe Massa finished fourth in the second Ferrari ahead of his former Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and his Lotus colleague Romain Grosjean.
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher of Mercedes finished seventh ahead of home favourite Lewis Hamilton who produced some spectacular racing on his way to eighth for McLaren.
“I really enjoy driving here – I think this one’s, bizarrely, taken a little bit longer to sink in than some of the other ones I have had,” an ecstatic and exhausted Webber said after the race.
“I don’t think I’ve had a win where I’ve grabbed the victory so late. Strategy wise the team did a great job, I needed to make those stints work very, very well.”
Webber said he and his team would be “traditionally” partying long into the night so celebrate such a special win.
“Sensational day for the team and I am very proud, very proud – to win here again is very special for me.”
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Alonso made a near-perfect start in the rare dry conditions when the lights went out.
The Spaniard pitted after 16 laps and rejoined ahead of Webber, but Hamilton stayed out on his hard tyres and inherited the lead which he fought to retain during a remarkable battle with Alonso on lap 19.
First, Alonso passed the Briton, then Hamilton responded and regained the lead only to be re-passed by the Spaniard again in thrilling fashion.
By lap 21, Alonso led Hamilton, who pitted to allow Webber back into third place.
Hamilton was fast again, but as the leading cars pitted again for fresh tyres amid a flurry of fluctuating strategic decisions which also saw Alonso dash in for his set of compulsory soft tyres, 14 laps from the finish, after 38 laps.
One lap later Japanese Kamui Kobayashi clattered into his own mechanics when he made a major error as he rushed into the pits.
Alonso, on fast-wearing tyres, was left to struggle to preserve them in the closing laps as the field closed up and Webber moved within reach of the Spaniard, finally diving past him to take the lead at Brooklands on lap 49.
That set up a thrilling finish with Webber pulling away ahead of Alonso in the final laps. - Tim Martin with sources