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Tag Archives: 2011 British Grand Prix

WITH victory at this year’s British Grand Prix at the new pit complex Silverstone, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso equalled three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart’s tally of 27 Grand Prix victories. Only Nigel Mansell (31 wins), Ayrton Senna (41 wins), Alain Prost (51 wins) and Michael Schumacher (91 wins) have won more Grand Prixs.

Alonso’s 27th win. How fitting that he should achieve this milestone in a Ferrari.

This was also a special moment for the Ferrari team. Not only was this their first win since South Korea last year, but it was almost exactly 60 years ago to the day at the 1951 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, that the now 88-year-old Argentine José Froilán González won Ferrari’s first Grand Prix.

Alonso, the 2005 and 2006 world champion, took the lead from the reigning world champion and current runaway championship leader, Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) during the second round of pit-stops. Both drivers were in the middle of the fight for the lead when the pair of them pitted for new tyres at the same time. The Ferrari pit crew flawlessly serviced Alonso’s car, but the Red Bull guys fluffed Vettel’s stop, thus letting the red car out ahead of the Red Bull. And in this case, having something red in front a Bull didn’t make it go any faster as Alonso raced off into the distance.

Vettel would now have his team-mate, Mark Webber, for company in the closing laps of the Grand Prix. Webber was using all of his years of experience to try and get past Vettel, but Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, told Webber to: “Maintain the gap.” To me, this says ‘Don’t take Vettel off Mark, he’s going to win the championship this year but we don’t trust you to try and pass him.’ Webber ignored these anti-racing orders but failed to pass Vettel, finishing third just 0.4-seconds behind him.

Further back, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton turned the last moments of his battle with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa into a banger race to the delight of his home fans, including me as well.

The 2008 world champion (Hamilton) had been told by his team that he needed to save fuel urgently. This allowed Massa to chase Hamilton down at a rate of at least a couple of seconds per lap. Massa got alongside Hamilton as they entered Vale corner for the last time. Hamilton missed his braking spot and the two made contact. Massa was forced wide and rounded the last corner, Club, on the run-off area while Hamilton forced his damaged McLaren around the right-hander and into fourth place, 0.024-seconds before Massa crossed the finish-line.

Felipe was faster, but Lewis’s use of brute force and ignorance won their race.

McLaren’s second home driver, 2009 world champion Jenson Button, didn’t get to the finish because of a blunder in the pit-lane. His front-right wheel hadn’t been attached by one of his mechanics when he was given the all-clear. Button knew something was wrong as soon as he turned out
of the pit-lane, but because he had crossed the line separating the pits from the track, his team couldn’t go and get him. Button’s race ended right there in rather embarrassing circumstances.

Sign of a p***ed off racing driver. He keeps his crash-helmet on.

The other British driver in the race, Scotland’s Paul di Resta (Force India) didn’t have much luck in the pit-stops either. When he came in for his first set of new tyres his team were expecting his team-mate Adrian Sutil instead. This meant di Resta had to wait for his tyres to be brought out and Sutil’s removed. This dropped him well down the running order, and he would soon come together with Toro Rosso’s Sébastien Buemi. Buemi’s left-rear tyre was damaged and ripped itself apart, causing the Swiss driver’s retirement from the race. di Resta would go on to finish 15th and out of the points, utterly negating the sixth place grid slot he had started the race from.

This race wasn’t the best British Grand Prix I’ve seen, and I was very disappointed to see McLaren slip behind Ferrari and even further behind Red Bull.

But hopefully the Silver Machines will find something special at the German Grand Prix, which this year is back where it belongs at the Nürburgring, but it’s only the GP-Strecke and not the mighty Nordschleife. I can dream can’t I?

By the way, because the start-finish line at Silverstone has moved to between Club and Abbey and is no longer between Woodcote and Copse, the race now starts in Buckinghamshire and not Northamptonshire.

The 66th British Grand Prix Top 10

  1. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), 52-Laps in 1:28:41.194 @ 128.951-mph. Alonso also set the fastest lap of the race on lap 41 with a 1:34.908 (139.095-mph) lap. 25 Points.
  2. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), +16.511-seconds. 18 Points.
  3. Mark Webber (Red Bull), +16.947-seconds. 15 Points.
  4. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), +28.986-seconds. 12 Points.
  5. Felipe Massa (Ferrari), +29.010-seconds. 10 Points.
  6. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), +1:00.655. 8 Points.
  7. Sergio Pérez (Sauber), +1:05.590. 6 Points. His best finish in F1.
  8. Nick Heidfeld (Renault), +1:15.542. 4 Points.
  9. Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), +1:17.912. 2 Points.
  10. Jamie Alguersuari (Toro Rosso), +1:19.108. 1 Point. Despite not making it out of Q1 in the last four races, this is the third consecutive points finish for him.

 

Congratulations to Daniel Ricciardo (HRT) on finishing his debut race. He was classified 19th and last of the runners and was 3 laps down on Alonso at the end, but he finished. My one concern about him is that he is Red Bull’s and their sister-team’s (Toro Rosso) test driver. So in a way, Red Bull have five drivers out on track when they should only have two.

PS – This is my 250th post! 😀

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP – After 9/19 Races.

Pos

Driver

Constructor

Points

Gap From 1st

1

Sebastian VETTEL (GER)

Red Bull

204

2

Mark WEBBER (AUS)

Red Bull

124

80

3

Fernando ALONSO (ESP)

Ferrari

112

92

4

Lewis HAMILTON (ENG)

McLaren

109

95

5

Jenson BUTTON (ENG)

McLaren

109

95

6

Felipe MASSA (BRA)

Ferrari

52

152

7

Nico ROSBERG (GER)

Mercedes

40

164

8

Nick HEIDFELD (GER)

Renault

34

170

9

Vitaly PETROV (RUS)

Renault

31

173

10

Michael SCHUMACHER (GER)

Mercedes

28

176

11

Kamui KOBAYASHI (JAP)

Sauber

25

179

12

Adrian SUTIL (GER)

Force India

10

194

13

Jamie ALGUERSUARI (ESP)

Toro Rosso

9

195

14

Sergio PÉREZ (MEX)

Sauber

8

196

15

Sébastien BUEMI (SWI)

Toro Rosso

8

196

16

Rubens BARRICHELLO (BRA)

Williams

4

200

17

Paul DI RESTA (SCO)

Force India

2

202

 

CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP – After 9/19 Races.

Pos

Constructor

Engine

Points

Gap From 1st

1

RED BULL (AUT)

Renault

328

2

MCLAREN (ENG)

Mercedes

218

110

3

FERRARI (ITA)

Ferrari

164

164

4

MERCEDES (GER)

Mercedes

68

260

5

RENAULT (ENG)

Renault

65

263

6

SAUBER (SWI)

Ferrari

33

295

7

TORO ROSSO (ITA)

Ferrari

17

311

8

FORCE INDIA (IND)

Mercedes

12

316

9

WILLIAMS (ENG)

Cosworth

4

324

RED BULL’S Mark Webber will start today’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone from Pole-Position, continuing the utter dominance displayed by
the Austrian team this season.

Webber’s Q3 time of 1:30.399 (146.033-mph) was just 0.032-seconds quicker than the fastest time set by his team-mate and reigning world champion, Sebastian Vettel, who will start from second on the grid. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso will start the race from third on the grid, despite having slid off the track in Q1 at Luffield but kept his Ferrari going.

Q3, like the rest of qualifying, was affected by changeable weather conditions which resulted in some drivers being out of place on the grid.

Fourth to tenth on the grid for today’s race are: 4th) Felipe Massa (Ferrari), homeboys Jenson Button (McLaren) and Paul di Resta (Force India) are fifth and sixth respectively, 7th) Pastor Maldonado (Williams), 8th) Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber), 9th) Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and 10th) Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) in his home race.

He and Rosberg were really scuppered by the weather, but the pace of the McLaren is something to get worried about.

Q2 saw places 11-17 filled by: 11th) Adrian Sutil (Force India), 12th) Sergio Pérez (Sauber), 13th) Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), 14th) Vitaly Petrov (Renault), 15th) Rubens Barrichello (Williams), 16th) Nick Heidfeld (Renault) and 17th) Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus).

Yes Lotus’s stride towards the ‘established’ teams continues. This time their presents in Q2 was at the expense the Toro Rosso team who saw both drivers eliminated in Q1.

Q1 (as we all know) fills places 18-24 on the grid. 18th and 19th on the grid are the Toro Rossos of Jamie Alguersuari (who for the third race in a row failed to get out of Q1, but he did at least go quicker than his team-mate) Sébastien Buemi. Timo Glock (Virgin) is 20th on the grid, followed by: 21st) Jarno Trulli (Lotus), 22nd) Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Virgin), 23rd) Vitantonio Liuzzi (HRT) and Formula 1 debutant, Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo (Narain Karthikeyan’s replacement at HRT) who qualified 24th and last for his first Grand Prix.

Ricciardo (pronounced Riccardo – the second ‘i’ is silent) was over a second inside the 107% Rule time of 1:39.156, setting a 1:38.059.
Yes, he is over half-a-second slower than his team-mate, but he has been faster than him in practice at some points. His participation in this Grand Prix means that for the first time since the 1977 Austrian Grand Prix we have two Australians on the grid. Back then it was Alan Jones (Shadow) and Vern Schuppan (Surtees). This was Jones’s first F1 win and Shadow’s only victory by the way.

Now for my winner prediction. We have two Australians racing today, one at the front of the grid and one at the back. The one at the front will win.

Previous winners of the British Grand Prix starting the race today

  • Michael Schumacher, 3 – 1998, 2002 & 2004 (all for Ferrari).
  • Rubens Barrichello, 2003 (Ferrari).
  • Fernando Alonso, 2006 (Renault).
  • Lewis Hamilton, 2008 (McLaren).
  • Sebastian Vettel, 2009 (Red Bull).
  • Mark Webber, 2010 (Red Bull).