As the drivers lined up into the their grid slots, five shiny red lights appeared to signify the start…. of the British Grand Prix!
3 LIGHTS, 4 LIGHTS, 5 LIGHTS….. AND ITS GO, GO, GO!!!!!!
Fernando Alonso got away nicely immediately covering off Mark Webber on the inside who took to the outside for turn one. Felipe Massa also got a good start and took 4th place from Vettel into turn 2. As the cars came down to Aintree Vettel lost more ground when Kimi Raikkonen tried an opportunistic move on the inside of Aintree and took 5th place. His teammate however, Romain Grosjean fond himself going wide through Aintree, and as he rejoined the pack Paul Di Resta got close and made contact with his right rear triggering a puncture sending him spinning of the track whilst Romain got away with pieces of front wing endplate falling off of the Lotus.
Third placed Schumacher started to get under pressure by Felipe Massa on lap 4. The Ferrari tried to pass him for 3rd place to make his strategy of winning or getting a one-two for Ferrari come to fruition. His teammate, Alonso pitted on lap 13 after the two Red Bulls pitted on lap 10 and 11. With just 17 seconds between him and Hamilton he managed to rejoin behind Hamilton in second place and crucially ahead of the two Red Bulls.
On lap 11, Perez pitted from P6 and came out behind Pastor Maldonado. As the pair went down the wellington straight Perez went down the outside into Brooklands but Maldonado oversteered and drifted into the side of Perez sending the pair spinning on the exit of Brooklands, puncturing Maldonado’s tyre and putting an end of Perez’s race by braking his steering rack.
Back to the Mercedes vs Ferrari battle, Schumi pitted on lap 12 and came out behind the Toro Rosso of Vergne who held him up. Ferrari saw this as the time to put Massa which they did on lap 14 and he came out ahead of Schumacher.
Lewis Hamilton was a driver out there that could not find the pace. Alonso pitted and came out right behind him. On the next lap, Lewis lost more time as they came into the DRS detection and Alonso overlook him on the Wellington straight. But Hamilton wasn’t going to give up, so he latched onto the back of Alonso and overtook him without DRS into the loop but out braked himself and let the door open for Alonso who retook the position as they came down the national straight.
Hamilton pitted on lap 22 and came out behind the Raikkonen and Schumacher battle. On the next lap, Hamilton got right up close to the battling Raikkonen at the DRS zone. But Raikkonen had DRS on Schumacher and overtook him into the loop. But Schumacher got under fire again on the entry into the national stright from Hamilton. The pair went side-by-side into Corpse but Hamilton had the inside and overtook him on the exit.
Grosjean was making up places after effectively ending up In last after pitting for that new front wing. He found himself behind the McLaren duo going into Luffield. As Jenson got overtook by Hamilton, he took full advantage of the gap left open from that move and overtook Button into the maggots and beckitts complex. Grosjean wasn’t done with Hamilton though, he put the pressure onto Hamilton for the next couple of laps, looking for gaps through each corner. But on lap 35 Hamilton had to give in for the benefit of his own stratagy.
Meanwhile, his teammate Kimi Raikkonen pitted on lap 34 for hards and came out behind the Force India of Hulkenberg. He set fastest lap after fastest lap and took 6th place from the Force India to set his sights on Kobayashi.
But he didn’t need to as Kobayashi was due a pitstop. He came in on lap 36 but it wasn’t a normal, straight forward pitstop; as for the first time since Kubica in 2010 at Spa, he braked far too late on the entry into his pit box and knocked his mechanics on the right down like skittles and sent the front jackman a metre away from the car. It was a devastating pitstop, but the beaten mechanics got back up and rolled his car back into position to service his car. There’s a professional for you.
Back to the midfield, Bruno Senna started to catch up to Hulkenberg after pitting a couple of laps earlier than the Force India. As the laps went on Button also started to catch up to the midfield battle in an attempt to grab 10th place and the last point of the race. On lap 45, Button tried to go around the outside of Senna into But he shut the door into Abby.
Schumacher also started to catch up to the slow paced Hamilton. On lap 46 he made his move into the DRS zone and took him into brooklands. But his position taking was to be short lived, as Schumachers tyres went off and Hamilton’s fresh set of Hards still worked. So in the closing stages Hamilton got closer and closer until he finally got the drive into the national straight and took him on the run into corpse corner.
Back to the battle up front, Alonso’s tyres were starting to go off. 2nd place Mark Webber had faster pace and better tyres to start closing the gap to battle for the lead. On lap 46 Webber was taking a second a lap out of Alonso and the next lap he got within a second to use DRS but couldn’t get close enough. On the next lap, is was a carbon copy situation but Alonso went defensive on the Wellington straight. But as they braked for brooklands Webber went around the outside and took the lead of the British Grand Prix!
The battle between Raikkonen and Massa in 5th and 4th was on. On lap 51 Raikkonen got close but ran wide into Aintree and lost a lot of time with just one lap to go. The battle between Senna, Hulkenberg, Button and now Kobayashi was still happening. As they came into Luffield, Senna went on the inside and tried to overtake Hulkeberg, but he got better traction by being on the outside and lead as they came onto the national straight. But Hulkenberg let the door open and as they went through the exit side-by-side Senna pushed Hulkenberg off the track quite literally which allowed Button through to take the last point and Kobayashi to take 11th place.
But all eyes were on Mark Webber as he came round the final corner to win the 2012 British Grand Prix!
1 Mark Webber
2 Fernando Alonso
3 Sebastian Vettel
4 Felipe Massa
5 Kimi Raikkonen
6 Romain Grosjean
7 Michael Schumacher
8 Lewis Hamilton
9 Bruno Senna
10 Jenson Button
11 Kamui Kobayashi
12 Nico Hulkenberg
13 Daniel Ricciardo
14 Jean-Eric Vergne
15 Nico Rosberg
16 Pastor Maldonado
17 Heikki Kovalainen
18 Timo Glock
19 Charles Pic
20 Pedro de la Rosa
21 Narain Karthikeyan
22 Sergio Perez - Accident [11 laps]
23 Paul di Resta - Accident damage [1 Lap]
24 Vitaly Petrov - DNS
What a Grand Prix! I stood within 25 meters away from the track this year down at the national straight and it was mega. Saw loads of overtaking from Hamilton, the two Lotus’ were also providing us with some action as well as the two Toro Rosso’s racing each other. Seeing Mark Webber gradually get close and eventually pass Alonso towards the end was amazing as well; I’m definitely returning next year to stand as close as that as that again to smell the burning oil, fuel and tyres as well as experience the vibrations the cars give you as they go past.
Great racing for Formula 1’s home territory, next time its Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix. See you there!