The first lap saw both the Red Bull drivers of Webber and Sebastian Vettel’s rivalry at its most intense since Turkey. Vettel started from pole but it was Webber who made the better start. The young German (Vettel) tried to squeeze his team-mate against the pit wall but in fact gave Webber the better line going into Copse corner. Lewis Hamilton stuck his car right up Vettel’s inside and his front wing just brushed Vettel’s right rear tyre. This caused the tyre to deflate and Vettel lost control of his car and went off the track as he followed Webber into the Maggotts-Becketts complex. The first lap also saw both of the Ferrari’s of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso touch. Massa suffered the same misfortune that Vettel did and their races were ruined. When Massa and Vettel rejoined the race after changing their tyres they were 23rd and 24th respectively.
Webber and Hamilton in the meantime raced off into the distance, and by lap ten were over 13 seconds clear of third place man Robert Kubica (Renault).
Lap 17 was eventful to say the least. Hamilton pitted and rejoined the race just ahead of his team-mate Button, but further round the lap was where the real action took place. Alonso pulled out to pass Kubica was they approached Vale. Kubica defended the inside line and Alonso cut the corner to avoid hitting the Pole. In doing this he gained the position and should have given it back to Kubica there and then, but instead the Spaniard drove away from Kubica.
Two laps later Alonso had a great view of Nico Rosberg passing Toro Rosso’s Jamie Alguersuari. Kubica retired with a driveshaft problem on the next lap.
Jenson Button left his pit stop until lap 22 and rejoined in sixth. There’s nothing like making the best of a bad situation.
On lap 27 Fernando Alonso was issued with a Drive-Through Penalty for not letting the now retired Kubica pass him after he illegally overtook him. Ferrari and Alonso felt hard done by as another decision went against them for the second race running, but if Alonso had just let Kubica pass him he would have been fine.
However, Alonso couldn’t serve his penalty just yet because the Safety Car was out on track. A couple of laps earlier, Force India’s Adrian Sutil touched the back of Pedro de la Rosa’s Sauber on the pit straight, causing bits of the Sauber’s rear wing and diffuser to come off the car. More bits exploded off the Sauber on the high-speed Hangar Straight. The marshals were unable to safely remove the debris so the SC had to come out and bunch the pack up again (much to a certain Sebastian Vettel’s delight).
The race was restarted at the end of lap 30 and Webber tore away from the field with Hamilton again keeping him honest.
Vettel was now in a position to be able to fight for some good points and passed William’s Nico Hülkenberg on lap 39. The Red Bull driver took on his hero (Michael Schumacher (Mercedes)) on the next lap. As the two Germans sped down the new Wellington Straight, Vettel pulled out to Schumacher’s left so he could have the inside line for the new look Brooklands corner. But Schumacher pulled across the track and almost forced Vettel onto the grass. Young Sebastian held his nerve and pulled off the pass.
But the drama wasn’t over yet. On the very last lap Vettel barged his way past Adrian Sutil’s Force India as they raced around the new Arena section for the final time. So from starting on pole then going down to last, Vettel had driven his way (with the help of the SC) to seventh place and six points.
But the day and the race belonged to his team-mate Mark Webber, who had his front wing taken away from him and given to Vettel just before qualifying the day before and was very angry with his team. As he waved to the crowd on his lap of honour we heard the Australian say the quote of the season so far: “Not bad for a number two driver, eh?”
Webber showed his delight on the podium (see above) but I felt a lump in my throat when the legendary Sir Stirling Moss gave Lewis Hamilton his second place trophy. Sir Stirling had a nasty fall at his home earlier this year, but has now made a full recovery. 🙂We are now into the second half of the 2010 season, and I predict that we will see more spectacular racing in what is turning out to be one of the best seasons in many years. The next race is in Germany at the nowhere-near-as-good-as-it-was-and-please-make-it-what-it-was-again Hockenheimring.
HRT, who replaced Bruno Senna with Sakon Yamamoto for Silverstone have dropped Karun Chandhok for Yamamoto for next weekend’s race. The team have also told young Senna that he will have a seat for the rest of the season.