Fernando Alonso has confirmed that Ferrari's pace in qualifying was not just luck. The Spaniard dominated everybody in two blistering stints in the second half of the race. Sebastian Vettel ended second, just ahead of Mark Webber.
Silverstone is once again under cloudy skies right ahead of the start of the Grand Prix. Although there's no rain, a shower an hour before the race made the back of the track around Copse very very wet. As a result, all top 10 runners start the race in the intermediate tyres.
Sebastian Vettel took the best start and passed polesitter Mark Webber into the quick turn 1. Fernando Alonso also threatened to get along Webber in turn 3 and 4 but didn't get the move to stick.
Jenson Button moved up to 4th, Massa 5th. By the end of lap 1, Lewis Hamilton already moved up to P6 after starting from 10th.
In lap 2 Massa takes his 4th position back while the Red Bulls are flying away from everybody else. Button then lost another place as Lewis Hamilton outbraked his teammate at the end of the Wellington straight.
On lap 4 Hamilton is off the track and is lucky the run-off area on corner at the end of Wellington is now tarmac, instead of the gravel trap it used to be.
At the end of lap 6, Sebastian Vettel is 5.5s ahead of Mark Webber. Behind P2, Alonso, Massa and Hamilton are all about 2.5 seconds behind the cars ahead of them. Despite allowing the use of DRS as of lap 5, nobody in the top 10 is close enough to another car to use the system.
Kovalainen meanwhile abandoned the race already at lap 4 after a gearbox failure. It's the first car that doesn't make it to the finish since the start of the European GP.
By lap 9 Alonso has closed into Webber, having closed the gap from 3 to nearly half a second. Hamilton meanwhile has also upped his pace a bit as is now under the tail of Felipe Massa.
On lap 10 a dry line is starting to show and it looks like time to switch to slick tyres. Most of the drivers' intermediate tyres have no more thread anyway.
Michael Schumacher is the first to switch to option tyres. He hit Kobayashi's left rear and broke his front wing. While he was in the pits anyway, the crew also changed to dry tyres.
2 laps later, Button and Heidfeld change to slicks after seeing Schumacher's fastest sector times. On lap 12 Alonso and Webber come in simultaneously as well, followed by Lewis Hamilton. All they positions remained identical relative to each other.
Vettel and Massa waited another lap for the tyre change while Schumacher and then Button put in fastest laps on the race.
The Ferraris had a couple of difficult stops and find themself each just ahead of a McLaren. Hamilton is threatening Alonso while Button managed to get past Massa after running aside of the Brazilian through Stowe and then taking the inside of the next turn.
Hamilton then also passed Alonso, in the wet part of the track.
By lap 16 the race virtually turned on its head. Vettel is still in the lead, but only by 1.6 seconds with Webber closing each lap. Lewis Hamilton is 5 seconds behind Webber but is lapping Silverstone a full second a lap faster then the Red Bulls. After getting passed, Alonso have picked up the pace a bit but is still losing tenths a lap to Lewis Hamilton.
Michael Schumacher meanwhile is handed a stop and go penalty as the stewards deemed he caused an avoidable collision with Kamui Kobayashi. Michael had moved up to 9th but is down to 16th place again after his penalty.
Later on Kobayashi was also handed a stop and go penalty for an unsafe pitstop release, although it really wasn't. At the time Kobayashi was released, the pitlane was clear, but the Sauber's engine stalled and when he got into first gear again a Williams to into its own pitbox, nearly causing a collision with Kamui.
On lap 23, Alonso has found some more pace yet again and passes Hamilton in the DRS zone. Hamilton later than lap pitted for new option tyres while Alonso continued, setting a second consecutive fastest lap.
Kamui Kobayashi meanwhile abandoned the race as his engine overheated. It is likely the stop and go penalty, as well as him hitting a Force India wheel gun in the pitstop incident helped with overheating his engine.
On lap 27 Massa and Button stop as well for a new set of options, followed by Vettel and Alonso one lap later. Vettel however had a bad pitstop as the left rear tyre didn't get on. After these stops, Alonso is now suddenly in the lead after a string of 5 fastest laps. Hamilton is closely behind him, followed by Vettel and Webber, each 2 seconds apart.
Sebastian Buemi is also out of the race after suffering a tyre puncture. A few corners earlier Paul Di Resta bumped into Buemi's Toro Rosso, breaking his front wing.
At the end of lap 30, Alonso got heat into his new tyres and pulled way from Hamilton, putting in another fastest lap. Hamilton is now more than 3 seconds behind and has Vettel all over him.
Vettel was extremely close to Hamilton all the way through about 7 laps but could not make a pass as the McLaren KERS system appears stronger than Red Bull's. The RB7 also proved very quick in S2, but when he got close to the McLaren they were on the wet part of the track.
On lap 37 Vettel therefore made his final stop for another set of options. While Hamilton tried to cover that one off the next lap, Vettel already pulled a two second advantage on the McLaren.
Alonso then pits in lap 40, followed by Button. While the leader's stop was perfect, at McLaren they really messed up as the chief mechanic pulled up the lollypop before the right front wheel nut was fitted. Button obviously pulled aside and abandoned the race immediately.
After the stops, Alonso keeps on banging around and extends his lead to Vettel lap by lap. By lap 45 the lead is around 15 seconds. 3 seconds behind Vettel is Hamilton who was told to save fuel while he is also consisentently locking his left front wheel in corners. Webber obviously got informed and is under Hamilton's rear wing within 2 laps.
On lap 47 Webber sails past Hamilton thanks to the DRS and the possibility to fully use his engine.
In the final lap, Webber is right on the back of Vettel who is struggling badly with his tyres. At the same time Massa is very very close to Hamilton, the latter looking like a sitting duck as he risks to run out of fuel.
Vettel however was saved by team orders as Red Bull asked Mark Webber to "maintain the gap". Lewis Hamilton hung on to his 4th place after both men touched in the final corner.
|2||1||Sebastian Vettel||RBR-Renault||52||+16.5 secs||2||18|
|3||2||Mark Webber||RBR-Renault||52||+16.9 secs||1||15|
|4||3||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||52||+28.9 secs||10||12|
|5||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||52||+29.0 secs||4||10|
|6||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||52||+60.6 secs||9||8|
|7||17||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||52||+65.5 secs||12||6|
|8||9||Nick Heidfeld||Renault||52||+75.5 secs||16||4|
|9||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG||52||+77.9 secs||13||2|
|10||19||Jaime Alguersuari||STR-Ferrari||52||+79.1 secs||18||1|
|11||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||52||+79.7 secs||11|
|12||10||Vitaly Petrov||Renault||52||+80.6 secs||14|
|13||11||Rubens Barrichello||Williams-Cosworth||51||+1 Lap||15|
|14||12||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Cosworth||51||+1 Lap||7|
|15||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||51||+1 Lap||6|
|16||24||Timo Glock||Virgin-Cosworth||50||+2 Laps||20|
|17||25||Jerome d'Ambrosio||Virgin-Cosworth||50||+2 Laps||22|
|18||23||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT-Cosworth||50||+2 Laps||23|
|19||22||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT-Cosworth||49||+3 Laps||24|
|Ret||4||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||39||+13 Laps||5|
|Ret||18||Sebastien Buemi||STR-Ferrari||25||+27 Laps||19|
|Ret||16||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||-||+29 Laps||8|
|Ret||21||Jarno Trulli||Lotus-Renault||-||+42 Laps||21|
|Ret||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus-Renault||-||+50 Laps||17|