Mark Webber passed Fernando Alonso for the win with just four laps to go in the 2012 Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix. England is having the rainiest summer on record and the drenched Friday practice and Saturday qualifying at the Silverstone circuit were no exception.
All signs were pointing to a slip-n-slide fun Sunday race. However, mother nature decided to switch it up and spoiled more than one hundred and forty thousand attending spectators with a nice sunny day. The race teams were not as pleased with this drastic weather change. All cars were forced to run the bone-dry race with wet setups from qualifying and most had very little dry tire testing time.
Fernando Alonso overcame standing water and rain delays to score Ferrari’s first pole position in almost two years. Mark Webber, Michael Schumacher, and Sebastian Vettel rounded out the first two rows on the starting grid. Alonso and Massa found themselves outside the top ten in the second qualifying session when qualifying was red flagged with little more than six minutes remaining. Once the rain slowed and qualifying was re-started, both Ferrari drivers were able to advance. McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button struggled. Lewis could only manage an eighth starting position and Jenson’s sixteenth spot did nothing to improve his poor season.
Alonso went on the defensive just seconds after launch as he cut across the bow of Webber’s RedBull. The Spaniard started on the harder Pirelli compound and quickly settled into a comfortable lead. First lap saw some shuffling of positions in mid-pack, and Paul di Resta fell victim to very close side by side racing when his rear tire was clipped and punctured. The incident forced him to retire. Sergio Perez was the other car that retired due to an accident. He was going for an outside pass on Pastor Maldonado, when Pastor continued to push wide and finally hit into the side of Perez. The pit stops were generally smooth and quick for most teams, although Kamui Kobayashi’s last pit stop went bad when he could not stop in time and went wide to the right, side swiping several of his crew workers. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries.
Alonso found himself in the lead after the last pit stop with about a ten second cushion to second place Webber. However, Alonso was now on the soft compound tire, while his rivals switched to the harder tire. Ferrari’s pace was slowing as the soft tire started to deteriorate after a few laps, and Webber continued to close in. Finally, Alonso could do nothing to keep Webber behind and the RedBull took the lead. Vettel also had a strong pace in the closing laps of the race, but he ran out of time and crossed the finish line in third. Felipe Massa was having a good weekend, but he could not relax to the very end as Kimi Raikkonen was all over him and fighting for fourth. Kimi had to settle for fifth. The Lotus teammate, Romain Grosjean, also had a good showing as he improved from ninth to finish sixth. Hamilton could not improve his starting position, but Button moved up through the field and sneaked into the final point paying spot.
Webber showed that he still has a few tricks up his sleeve, so his contract with RedBull should be continued next year. The exciting 2012 season moves on to Hockenheim in two weeks for the Grand Prix of Germany. Can’t wait!
More result details HERE.
About the writer:
Andre Smirnov is a Software Engineer by trade and a life-long automotive enthusiast. On the weekends – you may find him at a car show, an auction, watching a race, or tinkering in the garage. When not working or spending time with the family – he often scours the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.