Silverstone GP 2012
Rain, queues, Formula One. Just a typical British Summer days motor racing or course. You would think holding a race in July would guarantee a dry weekend. Not even a monsoon would stop the grandstands filling up, but no matter come race day the clouds parts and the heavens shone bright enough to dry the track. Some may have prefered a wet race, but with excellent demonstrations of wheel to wheel racing, the rain wasn’t missed.
Super Seven Moments:
1. Keeping it Classy
On lap 19 we saw a great exhibition of wheel to wheel racing, Hamilton was leading after staying out on his first stint longer than Alonso but the Spanish driver saw a chance and took it. Both showed controlled aggression to nip and tuck themselves around the tight corners without incident. This was going to easily take the best overtake, but with three laps to go Webber’s strategy was coming to him, eating in to Alonso’s lead he closed in to within 0.4 seconds. Alonso went hard, hard, soft and Webber went soft, hard, hard. The longer stint on the soft tyres left Alonso vulnerable to the higher degradation, worth the risk for the pace advantage at the end, but it didn’t pay off.
Ten laps to the end Webber had the Spaniard (and rumoured 2013 team mate) in his cross hairs, and to quote the man himself, “I had a single opportunity to pounce and I wasn’t going to let that slip.” It was on lap 48 that Webber got the job done, going around the outside of Alonso into Brooklands the Australian held his nerve, Alonso tried to come back at him at Luffield but Webber was having none of it. The Australian increased his gap right up until the flag dropped.
2. No Home Advantage
Driving well at home is a basic wish for all drivers, they want to give their country something to cheer about when they cross the finish line. Ideally they want to take the flag, claim it for themselves to ensure the crowds can sing enthusiastically to their national anthem. However for the British crowds there wasn’t much to shout about unless you take Webber’s home address into account. However there is a silver and rocket red lining, all McLaren pit stops were a smooth as an unused supersoft Pirelli.
- Hamilton: Showed better pace than his team mate and by staying out longer than Alonso on his first stint he put himself into the fight for the win. However his final stint on the hard tyre didn’t prove as successful as the first which eventually dropped him back to eighth.
- Button: A poor qualifying left him begging for positions from the start, a great start pushed him forward but after yet more rear end balance and understeer the best he could manage was a single point. Fighting with Saubers and Williams’ was where we spent most of his day.
- Di Resta: First lap contact with Grosjean ended his race early.
3. Kobaycrashi and Maldonadon’t
Kobayashi is known for his desire to overtake, it’s strong and he makes it happen in surprising places, however his attempt to overtake his front jack man wasn’t successful. Locking his front wheels as he came in to his pit box his front wing knocked several of his mechanics off their feet. Coming away with cuts and bruises there was a sigh of relief all around.
Maldonado on the other hand is getting known for his desire to push his way through the field. This is not to say he did today, but after Perez tried to overtake the Venezuelan around the outside of Brooklands the pair collided when Maldonado either chose to not give enough room or didn’t see the Sauber driver. Perez was forced to retire and was eager to tell the media exactly what his feelings about Maldonado were, no PR gloss here. “He’s a very dangerous driver and he can hurt someone,” Perez also added, “Everyone has concerns about [Maldonado].”
4. Massa-ive Improvement
The Brazilian driver has been forgotten in the Ferrari 2013 seat talk, he hasn’t been considered at all whereas Vettel, Hamilton, Perez and Webber are being lined up. However, the light might be cutting through the storm clouds now, Massa was close to Alonso’s pace throughout the weekend and took a convincing fourth place today. He had a great start and defended well from Vettel into Vale on lap 3, and in the closing stages he was chipping away at Vettel.
5. Making an Impression
Although he made early contact with Paul di Resta, Grosjean’s day looked miserable but wrangling the pace in his Lotus enabled him to crawl back from P19 to a respectable P6. After each pit stop he came out an instantly began lighting up the timing screens with purple sectors, and with Raikkonen looking good too the Lotus duo deserved to haul their team past McLaren in the team standings.
Senna’s team mate was making headline for all the wrong reasons, but the Brazilian took Hulkenberg into Brooklands to take an important P9 after starting the day in 13th. His day was quiet, but after losing his FP1 seat to Bottas and crashing out in FP2 this was a great recovery by a man under pressure, and brought some points home for his team.
6. Hiding Behind the Pit Wall
Rosberg has a ‘Mclaren-esque’ pit stop today with a sticky tyre hampering his second stop, which compounded a disappointing day for Mercedes as a whole. The team had expected to prosper at the circuit, but a disparity between wet and dry times surprised Mercedes, while graining affected them during differing stints.
7. Fan Power
The British Summer features rain, simple as that. Except it wasn’t just rain at Silverstone, it was a deluge that closed car parks and campsite and left thousands disappointed. With people being turned away with no where to go, it looked like the 2012 race was going to be resigned to a washout, but the Brit Grit kicked in and refused to be beaten by the downpour. Naturally waterproof the British rocked up and camped in swamps and on roundabouts, nothing will get between a fan and a race.
Also a quick mention must go to Red Bull Racing and Wings For Life who between them created a one off livery featuring thousands of images sent in by fans. Each paying €15 they could race around Silverstone for the weekend in order to help find a cure for spinal injuries, a worthy cause and one greatly helped by those who donated.
|Pole||Alonso 1:51.746 (Ferrari)|
|Results||1. Webber||Red Bull||1:25:11.288|
|3. Vettel||Red Bull||1:25:16.124|
|Di Resta||Force India|| Accident damage|
|Penalties||Maldonado||Caused collision with Perez||Reprimand and fined €10,000|
|Kobayashi||Unsafe pit manoeuvre||Fined €25,000|