Nico Rosberg (Mercedes AMG) has won an incident-packed British Grand Prix, just 0.765 seconds from Mark Webber (Red Bull). Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) filled the final podium position.
But where to start with the drama this race contained! Off the start line Webber was slow to move, although it appeared he may have been ever so slightly baulked by Rosberg ahead of him. That put the Aussie in thick of the action going into the first corner and unavoidable contact was made with Romain Grosjean (Lotus). Webber was forced wide, with a damaged front wing, and rejoined the track in fifteenth place. His day seemed over.
Out front Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes AMG) made the most of his pole position to establish a two second lead over Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull). But on lap eight the story of the day, and Pirelli’s worst nightmare, emerged when Hamilton’s left rear tyre delaminated before it spectacularly exploded. He limped back to the pits and rejoined in last place.
Alas that was the first of four delaminations for the day with Felipe Massa (Ferrari) and Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) to lose their left rear tyre in the same fashion as Hamilton soon after. As a result there was debris around all over the place and the Safety Car was deployed to clear the track.
Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) inherited the lead from Hamilton and was able to post a small gap back to Rosberg after racing resumed on lap 21. Rosberg stayed in touch with Vettel, but on lap 41 the triple world champion coasted into the last corner with gearbox problems, stopping on pit straight. The Safety Car was brought out to move Vettel’s car out of harm’s way.
Webber, who had worked his way back through the field was in third place after Vettel’s retirement, came in for a final tyre stop coming out behind the Safety Car in fifth place. When racing resumed there were six laps remaining, Rosberg in the lead heading towards his third grand prix win. Webber looked the most likely to challenge, if he could overtake the cars ahead.
Shortly after the restart Sergio Perez (McLaren) suffered the final tyre blowout of the race, he was narrowly avoided by Alonso who was preparing to pass the young Mexican. Thankfully a Safety Car wasn’t needed and we were treated to an exciting race to the flag.
Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), Adrian Sutil (Force India) and Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) stood between Webber and Rosberg. Mark was able to quickly pass Ricciardo and Sutil in the chase for the lead and Raikkonen, on old tyres, was also overtaken without too much bother.
Less than two seconds separated first from second and Webber really needed to within one second of Rosberg so he could benefit from DRS. To Rosberg’s credit he was able to fight hard to keep his lead out of Webber’s reach to take the race win. Another lap or two may have seen a fairytale victory for Mark, but it wasn’t to be.
For all his troubles Lewis Hamilton also drove a great race and finished fourth. All of the top four drivers will have been pleased to have made some inroads into Vettel’s championship lead.
Daniel Ricciardo slipped down to eighth on his old tyres. His late fade out will be softened by the fact teammate Jean-Eric Vergne retired at about two thirds race distance.
It was a deserved win for Rosberg as the Mercedes AMGs were fast all weekend. He’ll take renewed confidence into next weekend when the German Grand Prix takes place at the NÃ¼rburgring.