Just as we thought Sebastian Vettel was going to make it seven wins out of nine, a rare mistake from the Red Bull pit crew allowed Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso to leapfrog the German and go onto to take his first win of 2011.
Alonso and Ferrari have been improving leaps and bounds since Monaco and I suppose it was only a matter of time before Ferrari registered their first win of the season. And in the last couple of races it has been Ferrari who have been Red Bull’s major competitors. A worrying sign for all those associated with McLaren.
But take nothing away from Fernando. He was impressive throughout the weekend at Silverstone and put in a sterling performance. Even Vettel, Webber and Christian Horner admitted Ferrari deserved the win.
Alonso still finds himself 90+ points behind Vettel in the Drivers standings but could the result at the British Grand Prix be the result that turns the season around? Only time will tell.
As much as people might hate him, there is no denying Alonso is one of the best drivers around and on any given day he is hard to beat as we saw on Sunday.
The Spaniard came out on top in last years controversial German Grand Prix. Will Alonso make it two wins on the trot? I wouldn’t bet against it.
Also a mention for Felipe Massa as well. The Brazilian did well to bring the car home in 5th and he certainly had some great tussles with both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
Massa might not have won a Grand Prix since Brazil 2008 but I have seen signs that Felipe is getting back to his best. I still think Massa is capable of winning more races but saying that he is in many people’s views Ferrari’s second driver.
So what’s happened to McLaren? Have the wheels come off the McLaren bandwagon? It is too early to say but things have not exactly gone to plan for the team since Button’s stunning win in Canada.
The weather did play its part in qualifying but I’m sure both Jenson and Lewis will have been disappointed to only qualify 5th and 10th. Worryingly for McLaren, it has been Ferrari who have been the more closer to challenging Red Bull in recent Grand Prix’s.
Hamilton and Button again never really had the pace to trouble Vettel and Co and McLaren really do need a result in Germany to get their season back on track.
Lewis had a decent race in my view and did well to come through the field and finish 4th which was the best result McLaren could have achieved. The 2008 World Champion had to be at his best to keep Massa behind him in the dying moments of the race.
For the British fans it would have been great to see Hamilton on the podium but there was nothing the Brit could do to stop Mark Webber getting past him. No doubt Hamilton’s heart will have sank when he was told to save fuel with over 10 laps to go.
Jenson Button’s hoodoo of not finishing on the podium at Silverstone continued as the 2009 World Champion was forced to retire due to the front right tyre not being properly attached in his final pit stop.
Had that not happened, Button could have also challenged for a podium spot and he might have been able to beat Webber. Jenson will have been frustrated not to have given the home crowd something to cheer about in the end but his fine move on Massa on lap 15 certainly sent the British fans wild.
McLaren desperately need to get back to winning ways as soon as possible and give Lewis and Jenson a winning car and a car that can challenge Red Bull from Germany onwards.
The Red Bull’s of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber finished 2nd and 3rd and had Vettel not had his pit stop problem, the German may well have gone onto record his seventh win of 2011.
Seb is still 80 points clear of his closest rival in the Drivers so he should not be disappointed with finishing Sunday’s race 2nd. Yes he will have wanted to have won the race but he cannot complain with the way 2011 has panned out for him.
It is difficult to see who will stop Red Bull and Vettel but as we saw in Canada and on Sunday, Red Bull can make mistakes and they are not invincible.
One man who will have been disgruntled with how the race ended on Sunday was Mark Webber. The Aussie was closing the gap between himself and Vettel in the closing stages of the race and it looked as if Webber would get past his team-mate.
But having been told to back off and ‘maintain the gap’, Mark had to settle for third. I can totally understand Mark’s frustrations but I can also understand Red Bull’s decision in telling Mark to stay behind Sebastian. After what happened in Turkey last year, perhaps that had an influence on the team’s decision in not allowing their drivers to race each other.
I just wonder where Webber’s future lies now. Mark psychologically does need to finish a race in front of his team-mate and Sunday was his best chance to do that. Red Bull robbed him of doing that and I really do feel sorry for Webber.
The former Williams driver did qualify on pole but yet again he made a poor start to the race and that allowed Vettel to get by. Does the Aussie want to remain with Red Bull or is he looking to move on? It will be interesting to see where Webber ends up in 2012.
Nico Rosberg was the first of the two stoppers to finish the race as he finished in 6th. Rosberg’s team-mate Michael Schumacher despite having to serve a stop go and change his front wing picked up two points and finished 9th. Schumacher recovered well but the seven-times World Champion could have finished higher up had he not caused a collision with Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi. Mercedes will definitely want to put in a strong performance in front of their home crowd next time out at the Nurburgring.
Sauber’s Sergio Perez continues to impress in his debut season as he finished 7th ahead of Lotus Renault’s Nick Heidfeld. And Jaime Alguersuari continued his revival with another points finish.
Force India’s Paul di Resta had a sensational Saturday by qualifying sixth. But di Resta lost roughly 25 seconds during his second stop in the race as the team were expecting Adrian Sutil. That pit stop ruined di Resta’s race and then the Scotsman collided with Sebastian Buemi. It was an unfortunate end to what promised to be a decent weekend for Paul.
But there is no doubt Paul has been a shining light of 2011 and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him driving for a top team in the future. Despite not picking up any points, Force India can take plenty of encouragement from how Saturday went. They now need to convert those strong qualifying performances into points.
And finally Daniel Ricciardo made his Formula One debut with Hispania. The best the Aussie could have hoped for was to finish the race and that’s exactly what he did. Ricciardo was even beating Tonio Liuzzi in the Free Practice sessions so Liuzzi does have a battle on his hands if he wants to be the No.1 driver within the team.
It was a cracking British Grand Prix and the Silverstone Wing looks fantastic. The future looks bright for British Motor Racing.
Germany here we come!