Alonso capitalises on Red Bull errors for Silverstone win

2011 British GP review

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2011

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2011

Fernando Alonso triumphed in a thrilling British Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver scored his first win of the year after Red Bull made a mistake during Sebastian Vettel’s pit stop.

Vettel had taken the lead from second on the grid at the start. He passed Webber, who started from pole position, as the race began on a partly wet track.

The entire field opted to start the race on intermediates as the track was heavily wet for much of the lap but almost dry around the new pits.

Vettel led Webber, Alonso and Jenson Button, who passed Felipe Massa at the start. But Massa came back at Button on the second lap at Village to claim his place back.

Button then came under attack from his team mate. Lewis Hamilton had picked off Kamui Kobayashi, Nico Rosberg and Pastor Maldonado in quick succession at the start, followed by Paul di Resta.

On lap three he passed Button for fifth and set off in pursuit of Massa. But his chase was delayed when he took to the run-off at Brooklands.

Meanwhile Vettel was making his escape, pulling away from Webber at up to a second per lap.

Schumacher hits Kobayashi

Michael Schumacher had made a great start, picking up four places and challenging Kobayashi for eighth. But when Kobayashi ran wide at Brooklands Schumacher clipped the back of the Sauber, tipping him into a spin, and breaking the front wing on the Mercedes.

Schumacher had to replace the nose and was later summoned for a stop-go penalty – the stewards using them instead of the usual drive-throughs because Silverstone’s new pit lane carries such a small time penalty.

He took the opportunity to switch to soft tyres and his quick sectors times showed the other teams it was the way to go. Button was among the first to make the switch and he was instantly faster, having struggled somewhat on intermediates.

The cars in front followed suit, Hamilton jumping past Massa by pitting before him. The top three kept the same order, Vettel delaying his stop, not needing to take any risk as he’d built up an eight-second lead.

Hamilton versus Alonso

After the pit stops Hamilton was right on Alonso’s tail, the Ferrari driver struggling to get his tyres up to temperature. He dived down the inside at Copse and claimed third place.

But he couldn’t leave the Ferrari behind and just a few laps later, Alonso was close enough to use his DRS. With the wing open on the Wellington straight, he passed Hamilton in a straight line as they headed to the braking zone at Brooklands.

Hamilton pitted at the end of that lap, taking on a fresh set of soft tyres. Alonso was flying, lapping quicker on old tyres than Hamilton did on his first lap on a new set.

This round of pit stops proved decisive, as both Red Bull drivers lost time and came out behind Hamilton, promoting Alonso into the lead.

While Vettel tried for lap after lap to dislodge Hamilton from second, Alonso made good his escape, pulling out a ten-second lead over his pursuers.

Vettel takes back second

Vettel got as close as he could to Hamilton without passing him, almost pushing the McLaren down the straight towards Copse in his efforts to get past.

Eventually he changed tack and made for the pits for a third and final pit stop. This one was executed cleanly, and when Hamilton came in on the next lap Vettel was easily through into second.

McLaren believed they’d seen a opportunity to get Button ahead of Webber, and told him on the radio to pit to overtake the Red Bull. But the message was replayed on the worldwide broadcast and Red Bull lost no time in bringing Webber in. McLaren aborted Button’s pit stop and brought him in on the next lap.

He didn’t get much further than the pits. The mechanic on his front-right wheel failed to attach it properly, and it worked loose as he left. Button pulled over into retirement.

Fourth-placed Webber was now bearing down on Hamilton, who McLaren had urged to save fuel. Red Bull relayed that message to Webber as well, adding: “McLaren could be bluffing to get us to kill the tyres.”

They weren’t. Webber passed Hamilton easily in the DRS zone and the McLaren driver now had Massa’s Ferrari to worry about.

The battle between the two came down to the last lap as Massa tried to take him on the outside at Vale. The pair banged wheels and Hamilton cut back up the inside of the Ferrari at Club, snatching fourth place back as they sprinted for the line.

Red Bull call off the fight

This was exactly the kind of racing Red Bull did not want to see between their two drivers.

Webber had closed on Vettel at over a second per lap after passing Hamilton. With around four laps to go the team ordered him to hold position behind his team mate.

In the press conference after the race, Webber revealed he ignored the order. He raced Vettel firmly but fairly for the position and lost out by less than half a second.

Alonso, meanwhile, had romped off to an emphatic win. Far from catching the Ferrari after getting past Hamilton, Vettel had dropped back, and Alonso crossed the line over 16 seconds clear despite backing off at the end.

Nico Rosberg finished sixth, heading a trio of cars who all made two stops instead of the three preferred by the leaders.

He dropped back at the start but fought back, passing Maldonado and the Sergio Perez, the latter finishing five seconds behind the Mercedes.

Nick Heidfeld rebuffed a challenge from the recovering Schumacher to hold on to eighth place.

The final point went to Jaime Alguersuari, who had followed his team mate past Vitaly Petrov earlier in the race, only for Sebastien Buemi to drop out following contact with Paul di Resta.

Pit problem delays Di Resta

Di Resta had looked a dead cert for points until Force India made a mistake on his pit call, telling him to stay out when he was already in the pit lane. Adrian Sutil ended the race 11th in front of Petrov.

There were no points for either of the Williams drivers, Rubens Barrichello finishing 13th in front of Maldonado.

With neither Lotus finishing, Timo Glock took 16th for Virgin in front of his team mate. The HRTs of Vitantonio Liuzzi and Daniel Ricciardo were the last runners.

2011 British Grand Prix

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91 comments on Alonso capitalises on Red Bull errors for Silverstone win

  1. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 11th July 2011, 4:28

    Good battle between Alonso & Hamilton, we some seen some proper racing today.Nice to see Webber racing all by himself.Tough luck for Button.Also grateful to see Hamilton back on track but shame that his tank wasn’t feed well.After the last corner incident with Massa I thought may be he need to go the the panel again but good that he was clean.Not sure about Schumacher,seems like he had no grip going for that corner to pass Kobayashi.It was a eventful race with action up & down the order,poor director didn’t knew which way to point the feed.

  2. rayan said on 11th July 2011, 5:06

    i enjoyed the race really as everybody did…but iam sure ferrari are not concentrating on massa..offcourse accepted tat he is a bit slower at times than fernando..but hav to accept ferrari is making massa a joker..using however they need…massa didnt gain any position till now with the strategies the ferrari use..nor the good pit stops..poor guy has to fight himself for those 4th and 5th positions…its really ridiculous

  3. Rohit said on 11th July 2011, 9:10

    I Wonder what’ll happen to that clumsy McLaren mechanic …

  4. ferrari4life said on 11th July 2011, 16:04

    I think MS stop/go was a bit harsh….He clearly slid due to track conditions when he hit koba, yet its not a racing incident..

  5. cbriddon (@cbriddon) said on 19th July 2011, 8:50

    Not sure if anyone is interested but I have finally had time to upload my pics from Silverstone this year.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/briddon/collections/72157627100680573/

    Hope you enjoy.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 19th July 2011, 14:11

      Pictures, of F1. Nah, can’t be bothered :-D

      Thanks for posting, some very nice pictures in the wet on Friday, the Alonso and the driver parade as well as the race there, cbriddon!

  6. I really do find Alonso an interesting character. Undoubtadly very talented but to a degree I think he’s a pretty destructive influence on a team. Take a look at felipe massa since Alonso joinned Ferrari, a shadow of what he was when he drove alongside Raikkonen. I know that everybody is going to say Alonso is a far superior driver to Raikkonen and maybe they’re right but kimi won the championship in his first year with Ferrari, something that Alonso didn’t.

  7. That’s true Tommy Gunn, but Alonso nearly won the title in his first year with Ferrari except for a strategy gamble. Ironically Kimi won the title by a strategy gamble as well. So it wasn’t a convincing title win by Kimi in 2007 though he clawed back a large chunk of points.

    It could easily have been Hamilton or Alonso securing the title in 2007. The McLaren was definitely the superior package. Had not Ferrari changed the order of their drivers at Interlagos, Alonso would have been celebrating his 3rd consecutive title and become only the 2nd driver (after Fangio) to win two consecutive titles with two different teams! Alonso came close, real close that year to this landmark record, didn’t he?

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