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Mark Webber has won the British Grand Prix for a second time, reducing Fernando Alonso’s championship lead to 13 points following a late-race pass. Sebastian Vettel completed the podium on the sole all-dry day of the weekend, as Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button struggled to only eighth and tenth positions for McLaren.
Amazingly, Formula 1 experienced an all-dry race this afternoon, which allowed Silverstone to cope far better with traffic after the dreadful conditions and circulation problems of the past two days. Alonso started on Ferrari’s first pole position since Singapore 2010, ensuring that the two most recent British Grand Prix victors set off from the front of the grid.
It was a clean start, with Alonso chopping across Webber in a hard but fair fashion. Behind, Felipe Massa cleared Vettel for third as Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean made contact; a subsequent puncture damaged the floor of the Force India and ended the Scot’s second home race, but the Frenchman amazingly charged back through to sixth place.
The fight for the win was dictated by pace and strategy, with Alonso choosing to run the less durable Soft tyre compound in his third and final stint. Having controlled proceedings in a dominant manner early on, the Spaniard became easy prey for the Australian who allowed the race to come to him in the closing stages. The inevitable overtake came at the end of the DRS zone on Lap 48 of 52, with Webber sweeping around the outside.
There was fury further back in the top ten. Having just exited the pit lane, Sergio Pérez and Pastor Maldonado came to blows at the same Brooklands left-hander. As the Mexican attempted the outside line, the Venezuelan appeared to run wide and caused both cars to spin. The Sauber driver, who was out of the race on the spot, duly told reporters that all drivers are concerned about the Barcelona winner, who he believes deserves a hefty penalty.
It was a poor day for the local favourites. Following the early demise of di Resta, Lewis Hamilton briefly led the race thanks to a strong opening stint on the Hard tyres; despite compromising his own afternoon, he delighted the crowd by delaying and momentarily re-passing Alonso when the Ferrari was coming back through to retake the lead.
Overhauled by Michael Schumacher six laps from home, the Stevenage man scored four points before completing a donut for the crowd. Team-mate Button came from 16th on the grid, just seizing the final point as Nico Hülkenberg – battling with Bruno Senna – ran wide at Copse.
With Webber now 13 points behind Alonso atop the driver’s table, Vettel is the only other man still within one win of leading the championship. For constructors’ honours, Red Bull has extended its lead to 64 points over Ferrari.
Formula 1 continues with Round 10 in Germany, and a return to Hockenheim for the first time in two years, in a fortnight’s time
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