Mercedes-Benz Formula One driver Nico Rosberg claimed victory from a hard-charging Mark Webber at Silverstone in last weekend’s 2013 British Grand Prix.
However, that wasn’t the biggest headline of the race. Proceedings were overshadowed by a massive six tyre failures among the front runners, with pole sitter Lewis Hamilton (Rosberg’s team mate) experiencing a blow-out on the first lap, dropping him down to last place.
It was a cruel blow for Hamilton, who following complaints over his car’s performance in free practice, strung together a brilliant lap to head the field on race day.
Rosberg finished qualifying in second place, a relative 0.452-second gulf between him and his team mate. Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber started in third and fourth respectively, with just 0.009 seconds splitting the two drivers.
Vettel’s main championship rivals, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, both struggled for pace – the Ferrari man ending qualifying in 10th and the Finnish driver going only one better in ninth respectively.
T W White & Sons’ local team in Woking had a solid showing at its home race, with the McLarens of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez qualifying in 11th and 14th.
Come Sunday it was the Red Bull of Vettel that commanded the race after passing Rosberg off the line and inheriting the lead following Hamilton’s tyre failure. Webber made a poor getaway, dropping to 13th on the first lap.
Vettel remained at the head of the field despite a safety car period, only for his car to fail on the pit straight with a loss of drive. The safety car initially took to the track following a high speed tyre failure for Daniel Ricciardo, which destroyed his Torro Rosso’s floor, before it was deployed again to allow Vettel’s stranded car to be recovered.
The race then resumed, with an 11-lap sprint to the finish. Webber, who had recovered from his poor start, inheriting positions as Alonso, Massa, Ricciardo and Hamilton all experienced tyre failures, chased the Mercedes driver down, but couldn’t quite catch the German, crossing the line just 0.7 seconds back.
Despite problems with the Pirelli rubber, Alonso rounded off the podium, with Lewis Hamilton taking the chequered flag in fourth on extremely worn tyres. Both Raikkonen (who finished fifth) and Alonso clawed back ground on Vettel following his DNF, making the best of what was shaping up to be a bad weekend after Saturday. Vettel now leads the championship by just 21 points.
The McLarens could not build upon their qualifying performance, with Mexican Sergio Perez suffering a repeat of his Friday tyre delamination in the race. Jenson Button could only manage 13th at his home race.
It was a refreshing Grand Prix after last year’s washout, with over 120,000 spectators in attendance – the third highest viewing total ever.
Were you at the 2013 British Grand Prix, or did you watch the race on television? What do you think of the numerous Pirelli tyre failures that occurred over the weekend? We want to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment below or tweet us @twwhiteandsons. Alternatively, check out our Facebook page.