Great Britain analysis - Alonsos timely triumph 11 Jul 2011
Fernando Alonso had said that Ferrari needed to deliver at Silverstone if they were to retain any hope of 2011 titles - and deliver they did, in some style. Yes, their win owed something to a botched Red Bull pit stop for Sebastian Vettel, but there was no question over the 150° Italias pace, as victor Alonso and fifth-placed Felipe Massa clocked the fastest laps of the race.
As the wheels (quite literally) came off McLarens challenge, it was left to the red and blue cars to fight it out at the front. It made for a thrilling spectacle, unless you were Red Bull boss Christian Horner, who had to watch Mark Webber push Vettel all the way in a scrap for second, despite team orders to retain position.
After a weekend of controversy surrounding the off-throttle diffuser rules, the Grand Prix was a welcome reminder of what Formula One is really about - flat-out racing of the highest order. We review a fascinating 52 laps, team-by-team
Fernando Alonso P1
Felipe Massa, P5
Alonso said victory was a a wonderful surprise! It was also a massive boost for Ferrari, 60 years to the race since Froilan Gonzalez scored their first victory at Silverstone in Bernie Ecclestones 375 that the Spaniard demonstrated on race morning. When his tyres had come in fully, Alonso was very quick and matched Red Bulls pace. He was pulling in Vettel before the Germans problem in the pits when they both stopped on the 27th lap, and went on to win easily thereafter.
Massa was mighty on intermediates as he battled with the McLarens, but sustained floor damage after hitting some debris from a crash between Schumacher and Kobayashi at Brooklands on the ninth lap. He was running fifth towards the end but soon caught the ailing Hamilton, and lost out for fourth place by just 0.024s after a mighty dust-up between the pair in the final corner.
Sebastian Vettel, P2
Mark Webber, P3
Vettel disappeared in the early going, lost more than half of an 8.5s lead in the switch to slick tyres, and then opened up an advantage again over Webber. But he lost time with a sticking rear wheel in his second stop on the 27th lap, when in any case he was being caught by Alonso, and that turned the tide in Ferraris failure. He closed on Hamilton, beat him in the final stops, but then had no chance of catching Alonso. Instead, Webber hunted him down as he struggled with his tyres in the final stint and made repeated attempts to pass the champion, ignoring team orders to hold station.
Lewis Hamilton, P4
Jenson Button, retired lap 39, loose front wheel
At one stage it seemed that McLaren might just have a chance of victory, as Hamilton boiled through to third place after a brilliant early run on intermediates and later overtook Alonso with an aggressive run on slicks into Copse. But later the Spaniard was able to use DRS to pass him into Brooklands and then pulled away, and Hamiltons chances of keeping ahead of Webber for third were killed by the need to save fuel. He was challenged for fourth by Massa in the last corner, but robustly defended himself and won the place by 0.024s.
Button bided his time early on after a big fight with Hamilton and Massa, then held second during the final rash of pit stops and was a podium contender until his final stop on lap 39. Due to a misunderstanding in the pits, his right front wheel was not secured and he had no option but to park by the side of the road before regaining the track.
Nico Rosberg, P6
Michael Schumacher, P9
Rosberg had the straight-line pace to keep Perez at bay and did a strong job for Mercedes to take an eventual sixth. Schumacher had an adventurous time, spinning Kobayashi at Brooklands on the ninth lap, being the first, perforce, to switch to slicks as he stopped for a new nose, then serving a 10s stop-and-go penalty for the incident five laps later, and subsequently battling past Alguersuari and challenging Heidfeld to the flag for eighth. He blamed the incident with Kobayashi on using the DRS for the first time and arriving at the corner on the over-run as a result, underestimating the effect of the wing, and getting his braking wrong.
Sergio Perez, P7
Kamui Kobayashi, retired lap 24, oil
Perez drove an excellent race and never gave Rosberg a moments peace until the Mercedes driver managed to sneak away towards the finish. The Mexicans result was consolation for Sauber after Kobayashi was taken out of an early seventh when he was spun at Brooklands by Schumacher. Later the Japanese driver got a 10s stop and go penalty when the team released him unsafely in the pits, and retired soon after with an oil leak that was a result of the earlier collision.
Nick Heidfeld, P8
Vitaly Petrov, P12
Heidfeld drove a fine, attacking race through to eighth place, saving his intermediates nicely in the early going and later fending off the urgent attentions of Schumacher for a long time before pulling clear by the finish. Petrov was less impressive, but was right on Sutils tail as they chased Alguersuari for the final point.
Jaime Alguersuari, P10
Sebastien Buemi, retired lap 26, accident/rear tyre
Once again Alguersuari scored points after a strong performance. He couldnt hold off Schumacher, but enjoyed a tight dice with team mate Buemi until the Swiss cut his left rear tyre in a clash at Brooklands with Di Resta. That ripped open his left rear Pirelli, and once that flew into shreds he had no option but to pull off at Chapel.
Adrian Sutil, P11
Paul di Resta, P15
Force India lost a points-scoring opportunity when a blunder on the pit wall saw di Resta get Sutils tyres during his second stop. The German had radioed in that he was coming in because of a puncture, but the pit crew didnt manage to stop Di Resta in time from coming in as planned, so there was a lengthy kerfuffle which ruined the Scots excellent race, in which he matched Buttons pace on intermediates. Later he clashed with Buemi. Sutil came through for 11th, but couldnt quite find the pace to sneak by Alguersuari for the final point.
Rubens Barrichello, P13
Pastor Maldonado, P14
The Williams FW33s lacked pace early on on the Pirelli intermediates, and by the time the track had dried out they were far too far behind. Barrichello and Maldonado went at it in the final stages, finishing nose to tail but well out of the points the Venezuelans excellent qualifying performance had dangled as a tempting carrot.
Timo Glock, P16
Jerome DAmbrosio, P17
Once the Lotuses had gone, Glock had no competition in the new team stakes so focused on achieving Virgins objective of finishing both cars. DAmbrosio struggled against Liuzzi early on but managed to pass him in the second stint, then nursed his MVR-02 to the finish after the left front tyre Pirelli lost all of its grip.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, P18
Daniel Ricciardo, P19
Liuzzi expected a tough race and got one as HRTs F111 struggled round Silverstones fast sweeps. Ricciardo was happy to make the finish of his debut race, but was a lap behind his team mate.
Jarno Trulli, retired lap 11, oil
Heikki Kovalainen, retired lap 3, transmission
Lotus had a tough race. Kovalainen only lasted two laps before a transmission problem brought him to a halt, while Trulli ran near the back before succumbing to an oil leak.
For tickets and travel to 2011 Formula One races, click here.
For Formula One and F1 team merchandise, click here.