Rosberg wins dramatic British Grand Prix
30 June 2013 – Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg came out on top at the end of Sunday afternoon's action-packed British Grand Prix at Silverstone. During a race shaped by a bizarre sequence of tyre failures, the German moved to the front when long-time leader Sebastian Vettel retired with a technical issue, going on to take the chequered flag ahead of a resurgent Mark Webber and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
As the lights went out amid clear skies and increasing track temperatures, pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton made a clean getaway to retain his lead into the first corner. Vettel bolted up to second at the expense of Rosberg, while team-mate Mark Webber was nudged by Lotus' Romain Grosjean and ended the opening lap in 15th position.
Hamilton went on to pull clear in the opening laps of the race, crucially escaping the DRS window of second-placed Vettel. However, drama followed on Lap 8, with the home favourite suffering the first in a string of tyre delaminations along the Wellington Straight. He tumbled down the order on his way back to the pit lane, with Vettel moving into the lead.
The first sequence of stops followed just a few laps later, with no major changes at the front of the field. The race then took a major turn following tyre failures for both Felipe Massa, who had launched his way into the top six on the opening tour, and Jean-Éric Vergne, with the Safety Car ultimately being deployed on the 16th lap.
When the racing resumed on Lap 22, Vettel was quick to increase his advantage over Rosberg. As the second pit-stop phase arrived, the reigning World Champion found himself in a commanding position, with a second straight triumph looking likely. However, disaster struck on the 42nd tour, with his Red Bull machine coming to a halt along the pit-straight and signalling the second Safety Car phase of the race.
With the championship leader out of the equation, Rosberg set about cementing his position as the race resumed, but he came under huge pressure from Webber in the closing stages. His Australian rival, who was the only front runner to put on fresh Mediums under the Safety Car period, delivered a succession of fastest laps, but the Mercedes driver was able to hold firm and claim his second victory of the season.
Alonso took the final rostrum position after a late battle with Hamilton, the latter finishing a deserved fourth after his early problems. Kimi Räikkönen, irked with his Lotus team for not following the same tyre strategy as Webber, came home a lonely fifth, ahead of Felipe Massa who, like Hamilton, recovered well to claim a solid haul of points in the second Ferrari.
Having held third for the majority of the race, Force India's Adrian Sutil lost out in the Safety Car periods and fell to seventh, with Daniel Ricciardo having to settle for eighth position after his starring role in qualifying. Paul di Resta rose to ninth after being forced to start on the final row of the grid, while Nico Hülkenberg took the final point.
Further down the order, Jenson Button wound up 13th at the end of his home race, the McLaren driver struggling with degradation throughout. Team-mate Sergio Pérez fared even worse, suffering the final tyre failure of the race along the Hangar Straight, prompting him to retire shortly before the finish. Brit Max Chilton wound up 17th, over half a minute behind fellow backmarkers Jules Bianchi and Charles Pic.
Ahead of next weekend's German Grand Prix, ongoing leader Vettel holds a trimmed 21-point advantage over Alonso, with Räikkönen sitting third on a total of 98 points.
The ninth round of the 2013 season takes place at the Nürburgring from July 5-7, with practice, qualifying and the race covered via the GPUpdate.net Live Report