In many ways, Silverstone 2013 will be remembered as a microcosm of the season; whether it’s for Nico Rosberg’s edgy victory, Mark Webber’s struggle against the odds, Fernando Alonso’s podium from the midfield or McLaren’s stunning tactical incompetence.
The race was marred but enlivened by a series of tyre-related issues emanating from a razor-sharp kerb at turn 4 of the circuit.
Rosberg certainly didn’t have a easy run to victory (despite claims by Lewis Hamilton to the contrary) ; team-mate Hamilton led for much of the opening sequence until a dramatic explosion tore the left-rear Pirelli from his Mercedes and handed the lead to rival Sebastian Vettel. The German picked up the baton and ran with ease, heeding warnings from his team that the Pirelli rubber was causing chaos through the field.
After Hamilton’s dramatic fall from grace, things took a sinister turn as Felipe Massa and Jean Eric Vergne also suffered huge delamination failures and left debris across the circuit that necessitated the deployment of the Safety Car – much to the benefit of the recovering Hamilton. After the restart, Vettel easily re-established his advantage over Rosberg and began to stretch his lead into the final third of the race.
Hamilton quickly went into battle with compatriot Paul Di Resta and, to the surprise of his fans, was unable to make the pass for more than an entire lap; the Scot fought ferociously against the faster Mercedes and only gave up the place as he took to the pitlane.
But, just as it all seemed over, the Red Bull of Vettel gave a grinding crunch and gently coasted to a halt through Club, as the German coolly explained he had lost his gearbox. As Rosberg surged past, the Safety Car was called into action once again and tantalisingly bunched up the field with a mere 7 laps left on the board. Webber immediately seized the opportunity to pit for fresh rubber and after a torrid start had seen him slip from 4th to 15th, was poised and ready to pounce from 5th. McLaren had done well to weather the storm of chaos and get Perez and Button up into 6th and 7th places, but it was all thrown away as the team inexplicably chose not to pit either of their drivers – when racing got back underway Perez was quickly eliminated with a tyre failure as Button’s stricken McLaren slipped ever further down the order. The Briton eventually ended up 13th.
Up front the adrenalin was flowing again as Webber dispatched Sutil and Ricciardo before turning on Alonso and Raikkonen in the battle for the podium. The Australian, enjoying his last ever British Grand Prix, hunted down the leading Rosberg and came within 0.7 seconds of his 3rd Silverstone victory as the duelling duo crossed the line.
Alonso put in a stellar performance to haul his erstwhile uncompetitive Ferrari on to the final podium slot, ahead of Hamilton, Raikkonen, Massa, Sutil, Ricciardo, Di Resta and Hulkenberg.
“This win is for every single person who has been involved in building our car. It was a shame for Lewis today, and I had also a problem with my tyre but I was lucky because of the Safety Car. It was so special to win today, especially in front of fellow team members and their families as our factory is only ten minutes away from the track. The race was really exciting. I had to manage the tyres really carefully, I was told to avoid the kerbs. At the end, it was difficult to hold Mark and to look after my tyres but I was able to keep the position, and take a great victory for us.” Nico Rosberg
“That wasn’t the cleanest of races for me, but given everything that’s happened this weekend I think we can feel satisfied with two points today. It was a bit of a scruffy race because I lost my front wing trying to get ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, so we chose to change it when the safety car came out, which probably cost me a couple of positions. Towards the end of the race I had fresh tyres, and was closing in on Ricciardo, but I ran out of laps and he was just out of reach. So a weekend of highs and lows, but it’s definitely good to continue our points run and have another double points finish for the team.” Paul Di Resta
“After the final Safety Car, there wasn’t a lot of tread left on my tyres, so getting them up to temperature was very tricky – we struggle with that anyway. Into the closing laps, I was vulnerable. All the cars on fresher tyres were fighting to get past, and as soon as I went offline to defend, it became even more difficult to get temperature back into the tyre. Finally, I want to say a big ‘thank-you’ to all the fans who have supported us this weekend. Every year, your support seems to grow bigger, and your passion for the sport grows deeper – it has been an honour and a privilege to race in front of such an enthusiastic bunch of people. Your support has truly made my weekend. So, thank you.” Jenson Button
“Today has been a day that I will never forget. I was really psyched on the grid and got a great start, which helped. I got past Jules and Pic at the start, they passed again and then I took back position and we had a really close tussle for the first few laps. They just had a little bit better pace for a few laps and I dropped behind Van Der Garde. I got passed him again right towards the end and we would have been fine but then the safety car came out and he had just pitted, so that worked out really well for him. He had the final 10 laps on new tyres and I was on old tyres, so we had a great fight, but I managed to keep him behind me at the end. All in all, an eventful weekend with so many experiences to take away with me.” Max Chilton
“Eighth is a good result, but I see it as a missed opportunity to score more points, because today we were quicker than the Ferraris so to finish behind them, particularly Massa who had a tyre problem, is a bit disappointing. I don’t know what was happening with the tyres, as I kept seeing people going off the track and there was debris everywhere. It was a little bit dangerous and we need to look into it. For my part, I just had normal degradation.” Daniel Ricciardo
“Everything considered, fourth place is pretty good after having been last on lap 10 and we’ll take that. It’s a great result for the team today, big congratulations to Nico who came through a tricky situation to take the win for us. We’ve now moved up to second place in the constructors’ championship which is a nice reward for everyone at the factories just down the road from here.” Lewis Hamilton
“The start was pretty bad, we have to look into that as we had had a good run of starts recently. Then I had contact with Grosjean and the wing was damaged; the boys did a great job in the stop when they changed it, After that we got into the race. I was praying for a safety car, but not for the reason they were coming, as you knew you could be next. When you have something like that, it’s Russian Roulette; when you see that many tyre issues for the fellow competitors then it’s never comforting. I made the most of those safety cars – and today the strategy was one of the best we’ve done.” Mark Webber
“We had a gearbox issue, I think fifth gear broke and damaged the rest of the gearbox as well, so it was not possible to carry on. It’s a shame because we were in a good position and it’s a nice race to win here, so yeah I guess we have to come back next year and try again.” Sebastian Vettel
“After some negative experiences, today we can say we were lucky on a few occasions, beginning with Perez and then at the first stop with a completely worn out tyre – fortunately at the last corner – and then with Vettel’s retirement. At the end of a difficult weekend, it was unimaginable that we could make up so much ground, but now we must try and improve, starting with the very next race in Germany. Only there will we understand if we have indeed slipped backwards or if this weekend was a one-off.” Fernando Alonso
“I tried to hold on at the end of the race, but with tyres that were maybe twenty laps older than the others’ it was impossible to keep them behind. It’s a shame as the race went pretty well until then; we had good pace and looked set for a pretty easy P2, but this is racing sometimes. It’s three races now where we haven’t had the result we maybe expect, but hopefully if we can have a bit more luck and also get rid of some of the mistakes we’ll be able to get back to the front.” Kimi Raikkonen
RESULT – RACE – BRITISH GP
|9||Di Resta||GBR||Force India||2|
|18||Van Der Garde||NED||Caterham|
|22||Vergne||FRA||Toro Rosso||Tyre Failure|