British Grand Prix: Rosberg wins a thriller as tyre blow outs cloud race

Nico Rosberg celebrates his victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone

Nico Rosberg celebrates his victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone

Nico Rosberg powered to his second victory of the season at the British Grand Prix, winning a dramatic race at Silverstone which saw early leader Lewis Hamilton suffer a high speed blowout – one of four spectacular Pirelli failures on the day.

This handed the lead to Sebastian Vettel who looked to be cruising to another victory until the gearbox on his Red Bull packed up virtually within sight of the finish line.

Rosberg said afterwards,  “It is a very special day. We are progressing all the time so it’s a very special day for me and the team today.”

“The win was for the team, it’s their home grand prix and so many of my friends were in the grandstands. It’s going better and better and the momentum that we have at the moment is amazing. It’s so cool to be part of this team at the moment, having a race car that can win is fantastic.”

“With Lewis, I feel sorry for all the British fans. It would have been great for Lewis. It’s always a massive disappointment but that’s racing. Sebastian stopped, I won’t lie, I wasn’t disappointed by that one. From then on, it was just a great race,” added the German.

Top three on the podium (L to R) Mark Webber (second, Nico Rosberg (winner) and Fernando Alonso (Third)

Top three on the podium (L to R) Mark Webber (second, Nico Rosberg (winner) and Fernando Alonso (Third)

Mark Webber recovered from a bad start, which saw him damage the front wing on his Red Bull. He ended up challenging for the win right up the the finish line.

Webber reflected, “It was frustrating, but the boys did a great job. There were a lot of issues with the tyres and we were lucky and it was a clean race for us.”

With Vettel not scoring it was a double bonus for Ferrari and Fernando Alonso who turned a well below par qualifying into a podium finish, with third place, after a typically strong showing when it mattered. He also reduced the gap in title race from 36 points to 21 points.

“It was a good race for us. We got lucky to recover some points and it was a good result for us in the end. We know we have a lot of work to do and now we look ahead to the next race,” said Alonso.

Vettel was disappointed but pragmatic, “It would have been a nice race to win. It’s difficult to feel inside the car what is wrong, and I saw Lewis’s problem with his tyre and we were told to avoid the curb and maintain position. We have to come back again next year and try to win.”

Lewis Hamilton heads back to the pits after suffering a blowout

Lewis Hamilton heads back to the pits after suffering a blowout

The tyre failures which afflicted four drivers – Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Jean Eric Vergne and Sergio Perez – will no doubt dominate the headlines in the aftermath of the race.

Although Rosberg was somewhat fortuitous, he nevertheless delivered a strong performance, as it was not a given that Vettel would be able to keep him at bay in the closing stages of the race. Up to that point Rosberg had kept the world champion well in his sights.

When Vettel’s Red Bull spluttered to a halt, 50 metres from the finish line forcing the German to abandon the car almost in the middle of the circuit, the safety car was deployed for the second time on the day.

At that point quick thinking saw Rosberg, Webber and Alonso dart into the pits for fresh rubber with the Mercedes driver emerging in the lead and the other two in fifth and eighth respectively.

Kimi Raikkonen, in second place raised the question over the radio: “Did we make the right choice not to pit?”

In the end it proved to be a missed opportunity as the Lotus driver had no answer for Webber and Alonso who stole what was a sure podium thanks to the fresh rubber in the last half dozen lap sprint.

Sebastian Vettel retires from the race

Sebastian Vettel retires from the race

Hamilton also got by Raikkonen to end his dramatic day fourth after an impressive recovery from the back of the field. At the time of the blowout the Briton had been leading comfortably, and when the incident happened shortly after the start/finish line, few would have given him any chance of recovering as well as he did.

However a couple of Safety Car periods, to clear debris from destroyed tyres all around the circuit, did help in his quest.

“The safety is the biggest issue, it’s unacceptable,” said Hamilton. “We had that tyre test to improve the tyre and to have four blowouts is unacceptable. It’s only when someone gets hurt that [somebody] will be doing something about it. I think it’s a waste of time talking to the FIA, and if they don’t do anything that says a lot about them.”

Raikkonen crossed the line fifth, and with that result set a Formula 1 record for most consecutive points scoring finishes, 25 in a row.

Also delivering a strong recovery after a similar blow out to Hamilton, was Felipe Massa who finished sixth after being demoted to the back when his left rear Pirelli burst. The result, coupled with Alonso’s showing, provided the reds with a healthy and much needed points haul.

Jean Eric Vergne's left Pirelli goes 'boom'

Jean Eric Vergne’s left Pirelli goes ‘boom’

Adrian Sutil was in the thick of things throughout the afternoon in his Force India, running strongly in third place until the final Safety Car restart. On older tyres he simply had no answer for those on fresher tyres. He finished seventh.

Also giving as good account of himself was Daniel Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso, slugging it out way above his remit and doing his shares no harm at a time when he is one of the candidates being considered to step up to the Red Bull senior team. His reward for a hard day’s graft was eighth place.

Paul di Resta finished ninth, after starting from the back row of the grid. He to went toe-to-toe with the big names, including a heart pounding tussle with Hamilton.

Di Resta commented, “It was a bit up and down. I didn’t have the cleanest race I would have to say. I’m satisfied at the finish. Given the way this weekend has gone it continues the points run, which puts a smile on our faces and we head to Germany looking for three days without issues.”

Nico Hulkenberg picked up the final point for Sauber, keeping the Williams duo out of the points in what was the team’s 600th race weekend. Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas were 11th and 12th respectively.

Marshals were deployed on mass to pick up the debris after a spate of tyre failures

Marshals were deployed en mass to pick up the debris after a spate of tyre failures

Also out the points were both McLaren‘s  with Jenson Button crossing the line 13th, and luckless Perez retiring after suffering a blowout.

Much is still to be written about what was a near catastrophic situation with the tyres. Four blowouts, all left rear tyres (the same as Perez’s failure a day earlier) is simply unacceptable. The near misses were plentiful as debris from Hamilton caused Vettel to swerve; debris from Vergne’s incident nearly took out both Lotus drivers, shards struck Raikkonen’s helmet and the Toro Rosso driver did well to keep the car from slamming into the barriers; large chunks of rubber from Perez’s destroyed tyre flew past Alonso, missing the Ferrari narrowly.

After Vergne’s rubber explosion, the safety car was deployed and just about every marshal at Silverstone (it seemed) was sent out on track to pick up bits of rubber, steel and carbon fibre.

Button summed up the sentiment regarding the tyre fiasco, “We’ve had five tyres [blow out] over the last few days, a big issue and something that needs to be sorted out. Don’t change how you drive but of course it’s on your mind. Happening at 300 km/h, like for Checo, it’s not right.”

“It’s not just dangerous for the driver in the car, it’s dangerous for all the other cars. The cars behind get hit by rubber that has metal in it. It’s got to change. I don’t think anything needs to be said. We all know the situation,” warned one of the most experienced drivers on the grid.

The racing gods were kind to F1 at Silversone today.

British Grand Prix, Race Result – Sunday, 30 June 2013 

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time Grid Pts
1 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 52 Winner 2 25
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 52 +0.7 secs 4 18
3 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 52 +7.1 secs 9 15
4 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 52 +7.7 secs 1 12
5 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 52 +11.2 secs 8 10
6 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 52 +14.5 secs 11 8
7 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 52 +16.3 secs 6 6
8 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 52 +16.5 secs 5 4
9 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 52 +17.9 secs 21 2
10 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 52 +19.7 secs 14 1
11 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 52 +21.1 secs 15
12 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 52 +25.0 secs 16
13 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 52 +25.9 secs 10
14 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 52 +26.2 secs 17
15 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 52 +31.6 secs 18
16 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 52 +36.0 secs 19
17 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 52 +67.6 secs 20
18 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 52 +67.7 secs 22
19 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 51 +1 Lap 7
20 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 46 +6 Laps 13
Ret 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 41 +11 Laps 3
Ret 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 35 +17 Laps 12

Note – Van der Garde qualified 21st but was penalised five grid spots for causing a collision at the previous round. Di Resta qualified 5th but excluded from qualifying for underweight car. He was ordered to start from the back of the grid. (GP247)

Subbed by AJN.

 

  • iMark

    FK U pirelli FK U!

  • Yeh

    Pirelli will pay for it. How many of us will ever buy pirellis for our cars? How many around the world will ever buy their garbage?

    Pirelli may have spoiled strong performances from four drivers, but they will suffer, we as customers should take care of it.

  • Mercedes Cheating has paid off in full

    The curbs have been blamed for the cause of the tire issues so that is not Pirelli’s fault.

    We can now state in no uncertain terms that the illegal 1000KM test Mercedes did has cured their cars tire eating issues.

    Formula One is nothing but a joke thanks to Mercedes and the toothless FIA.

  • jeff

    BRIDGESTONE ROCKS

  • Do a barrel roll at 1MPH

    Mercedes cheating idiot. You should turn off your computer, pick it up and walk outside get some air and hit yourself over the head

  • hillside

    its very clear that Mercedes benefitted during that testing

  • Lol.

    Yep Mercedes have clearly benefited with Hamilton losing a guaranteed win and Rosberg very nearly suffering the same blowout, before dropping his pace significantly on the run back to the pits.

    You all have brains, please use them.

    The pirelli issue needs to be resolved though – what happens if a blowout occurs in the middle of 130R, for example? Or the parabolica? Injured/dead drivers, maybe. These tyres are a farce, and frankly have become dangerous. The blowouts were handled well by the four drivers recieving them because they all occured in a straight line (Massa was 3/4 straightened when his car went, resulting in a spin). If these blowouts occur in a fast corner, cars will be sent spinning into barriers at high speeds. Unacceptable.

    Also, you do realise that Mercedes were cleared of wrongdoing, right? So why is everyone accusing them of cheating? Misguided yes, beneficial yes, cheating no.

    Webber was very unfortunate not to win, especially seeing as the safety was out 2 laps longer than neccesary.

    Enjoyable race, marred by Pirelli being fools.

  • KevinW

    I’m done with F1. It’s been an interesting run of 3+ decades for me, watching the sport evolve from the exciting insanity of the ’80′s to this devolution into spec racer, tire blowing, passing aide entertainment. This race was symbolic of how bad it has all become and a disgrace to Pirelli, pathetic fans cheering a 3X WDC race retirement, historic revisionist giving a cheating team a free pass, and the FIA who have driven the sport into the ground. F1 was once a circus of high wire acts, shocking bravery, and death defying acts. Now its just a circus of clowns and buffoons put on for hysteric fans. I’ve gone from concern to disgust. No reason to allow this ridiculous sport to absorb another minute of my time or attention. See ya!

  • Jo bauer

    Errrr, so what you saying Kev?

  • CHL

    Lettuce Head hit Webber once again, most probably costing Webber the win. He should be penalized. Additionally, anyone here on Pirellis, please go out and check your left rear!

  • Matthias O’keeffe

    Mercedes did a good job… Congratz, Nico… To Pirelli, you’re 1 useless tyre supplier… 1st, you put Mercedes in trouble for the test, then you made few drivers crash because of your stupid useless tyres…

  • Yeh

    @mercedes cheatin has paid…

    “The curbs have been blamed for the cause of the tire issues so that is not Pirelli’s fault.”

    So basically you are saying: “Tyres are fine, those brits put some new thingies called curbs there and tyres cant handle them.”.

    Huh….. theres been curbs for like… decades? never saw them before?

    People, lol.