Mark Webber claimed his second win of the season and his second British Grand Prix overnight and in the process closed the gap on Championship leader Fernando Alonso.
The story of the race was once again tyres with Ferrari and Alonso opting to start on the hard compound and Webber and Red Bull the soft.
It took until the final round of pitstops to play out but with Webber ending the race on the more durable harder tyre and Alonso on the soft the Australian was able to chase him down. Webber stopped on lap 33 for the final time with Alonso coming in one lap 37 to fit his soft tyres.
His eventual move to pass on lap 48 was a committed piece of driving and a credit to both drivers as each gave the other room. It contrasted with a very similar move leading to Pastor Maldanado and Sergio Perez colliding earlier in the race.
This led to Perez describing Maldanado as a 'stupid driver', a view no doubt shared by at least Lewis Hamilton after Valencia.
Until that final stop it appeared Alonso and Ferrari may have been able to hold on for the win as he was able to stop and rejoin in front of the Red Bull. The win leaves Webber 13 points behind in the Championship and 16 points ahead of Sebastian Vettel.
Behind them Vettel claimed third ahead of the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa with Kimi Raikkonen taking 5th.
Webber himself was unsure he could catch Alonso after the last stop “It’s taking a while to sink in this one. I think it was the circumstances of the race – for most of it I was marking off second place.
"Fernando was not quite out of touch and after the last stop, my engineer Ciaron came on the radio saying that Fernando was not doing much on the option tyres. But I know Fernando is a wily old fox, I thought he was looking after the tyres and just waiting to pull the pin and go a little bit. But when I got within two seconds I thought maybe he’s in a little bit of trouble and it was real.
"It was completely game on when I knew the DRS was available, I made the move stick and our hard work paid off for the win. It was a cracking grand prix today; the spectators got to see a good race and I’m pleased for them.”
Alonso himself felt the team made the right call for his car an set up “When you do almost the entire race in the lead and you are overtaken just a few laps from the finish, it does leave something of a bitter taste in the mouth, but after reflecting for a moment and looking at the classification, then the outcome of this Grand Prix seems very positive.
"We have continued working on the right road: four podiums in the last five races and the fifth just missed a few laps from the end, is a nice run of results which has allowed me to lead the Championship. This is an important moment in the season: it’s not at this time that you win the championship, but one can start to lose it here and we are pleased to have extended our advantage over the majority of our closest rivals. We must continue like this for the next two races, trying to always make it to the podium.
"Then, we must work a lot on our top speed, especially in view of circuits like Spa and Monza. We began the race on the tyres that were best for us, with the aim of pulling out as big a lead as possible over those behind, to then try and manage the situation in the final stint. We managed it with all but one of our opponents, which was actually rather predictable."
Reigning World Champion Vettel felt they recovered well from a poor start to end up on the podium “It was a tough day today. The start was not so good. I lost a little bit and then got stuck behind Michael, but had a good strategy to come back. We decided to pit early and we came out ahead, so that was a good call.
"I would be a bit happier if we had won today, but it was a great result for the team, I am happy. We’re just down the road, so it’s our local race.
"It’s good it didn’t rain, I saw some clouds coming and it might have helped my race, but I was very happy for the people in the grandstands. I think they appreciated it staying dry. It’s been a tough weekend for them with rain, a lot of traffic and not so much driving from our side due to too much water – but I think we made up for that today.”
Young Australian Daniel Ricciardo it was another race battling the car as the team looks to regain that early season speed. He claimed a credible 13th in the end and again beat his teammate home with Vergne behind in 14th “The race went by very quickly. The start was very poor and off the line, the car just sat there with the wheels spinning, even though it had worked well on the formation lap. It meant I lost several positions off the line.
"My first lap was a bit of a mess, as another car ran a bit wide going into Turn 7 and I was pushed even further to the outside. I pushed and tried to do my best and after getting ahead of my team-mate, I began to run at a better pace. The other stints were similar: after the pit stops we didn’t seem to have good speed, but as the laps went by, I could push harder. My lap times were the maximum I could do as I was wringing the neck out of the car.”
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1h25:11.288
2. Alonso Ferrari + 3.060
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 4.836
4. Massa Ferrari + 9.519
5. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 10.314
6. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 17.101
7. Schumacher Mercedes + 29.153
8. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 36.463
9. Senna Williams-Renault + 43.347
10. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 44.444
1. Alonso 129 1. Red Bull-Renault 216
2. Webber 116 2. Ferrari 152
3. Vettel 100 3. Lotus-Renault 144
4. Hamilton 92 4. McLaren-Mercedes 142
5. Raikkonen 83 5. Mercedes 98
6. Rosberg 75 6. Sauber-Ferrari 60
7. Grosjean 61 7. Williams-Renault 47
8. Button 50 8. Force India-Mercedes 44
9. Perez 39 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6
10. Maldonado 29