Race - Webber untouchable at Silverstone 11 Jul 2010
Mark Webber offered the greatest response to all of Red Bulls qualifying hoopla by dominating Sunday's British Grand Prix from the start, and rebuilding his lead after a safety-car period that allowed team mate Sebastian Vettel to get back in the game after a disastrous first corner had seen the German go off track after a light brush with McLarens Lewis Hamilton. The puncture that he sustained dropped him to the tail of the field.
Hamilton challenged Webber mightily on that first lap, but it was soon clear that only a major drama could take a richly deserved success away from the Australian. He was in a class of his own, as was the indefatigable Hamilton who maintained his world championship lead with a gutsy run to second.
As Vettel had to make a pit stop and switched to hard tyres at the end of the lap, Renaults Robert Kubica ran in third place ahead Mercedes GPs Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso, whose brush with Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa on the run through Copse left the Brazilian to a frustrating afternoon after he, too, stopped for fresh rubber first time around.
When Kubicas Renault suffered a rare retirement, Rosberg was always in play for the final podium slot, but after a great start and a long first stint on the soft Bridgestones, McLarens Jenson Button was able to stay within a second of him all the way home.
The crucial safety-car period came on Lap 28 after Adrian Sutil hit the back of Pedro de la Rosas BMW Sauber on the pit straight, leaving debris on the track. That proved to be Vettels lifeline. Gradually he made his way up the order, passing fellow countrymen Nico Hulkenberg in the Williams and Mercedes GPs Michael Schumacher until he came behind Sutil. The Force India driver kept him at bay lap after lap as Vettel struggled on increasingly worn tyres, but finally he made it through after a robust move resulted in a minor collision, with both able to continue.
But this was Webbers day, and he was seven seconds ahead of Hamilton before he wound things down to take the flag 1.3s to the good. Hamilton was in turn 20s ahead of Rosberg and Button. Behind them, Rubens Barrichello and Kamui Kobayashi drove great races to fifth and sixth for Williams and BMW Sauber respectively. Behind Vettel, an angry Sutil was eighth ahead of Schumacher, who just contained Hulkenbergs challenge to the end.
It was a disastrous day for Ferrari, as Alonso got it wrong again by passing Kubica at Club on the 17th lap after running wide into the right-hand section and cutting in ahead of the Renault. Had he surrendered the place all would have been well and he would have been in a position later to challenge for third; instead his resultant drive-through penalty coincided with the safety-car period, dropping him from fourth to 15th. For many laps he was unable to find a way past Vitantonio Liuzzis Force India, and when he finally made it they touched, necessitating a late stop for a fresh set of tyres.
Thus, as Liuzzi, Toro Rossos Sebastien Buemi and Renaults Vitaly Petrov filled the 11th to 13th places, Alonso had to be content with 14th ahead of Massa, who also needed a late stop for tyres after surviving a spin. The two fastest laps were zero consolation for the troubled Scuderia.
Jarno Trullis 16th place secured the new team honours for Lotus, after Timo Glocks Virgin had separated the Italians T127 from team mate Heikki Kovalainens for much of the race. In the end Glock took 18th from the HRTs of Karun Chandhok and Sakon Yamamoto, but team mate Lucas di Grassi fell prey to hydraulic problems.
Toro Rossos Jaime Alguersuari had a good race for a long time after a long opening stint took him as high as sixth, before ending up in the gravel late on thanks to a brake problem. De la Rosa also failed to finish after his rear wing delaminated further on the Hangar Straight.
Some will fear Webbers victory, and some harsh words afterwards, may have destabilised relations within Red Bull. They still trail McLaren, with 246 points to their 278. Ferrari are trailing with 165, while Mercedes have 126.
In the drivers stakes Hamilton still leads, with 145 points to Buttons 133, Webbers 128 and Vettels 121.