This point would have most definitely gone to Vettel had he not suffered a gearbox failure in the final stage of the race, but to finish first, first you must finish. After a tight qualifying session, where the Red Bull pair eventually finished separated by a mere 0.009s, the two were in separate leagues by the first corner. While Vettel jumped to second as the lights went out, Webber fell to 14th. Contact with Romain Grosjean moments later forced the Australian into an even more worrying position and the event immediately became an uphill battle. But while Red Bull’s closest rivals suffered with tyre failures, Webber gradually moved further up the order and a spectacular drive following the final safety car presented Mark with the opportunity to take what may have been his final chance at victory in Formula One. Had the race been a handful of laps longer, he may well have been able to come out on top. In the end, through both a mix of fortune and misfortune, Webber came out on top while Vettel suffered from issues out of his control.
After a trying qualifying session for both Ferrari cars, Alonso’s chances at a podium seemed almost nill. But, as ever, the Spaniard once again stepped onto the rostrum and took an important 15 points on a day when championship leader Vettel secured none. Silverstone was a shocking race for Ferrari, whose hopes for Championship glory took a blow when the pair looked unlikely to make it into the top-5 after qualifying. Massa was unfortunate to be one of the unlucky four who suffered with tyre blowouts, but never looked like challenging Alonso’s lead status before or after the incident. The Brazilian benefitted from the safety car to recover to a solid sixth position.
Not for the first time in the last few races, Jenson Button’s race was plagued with radio messages complaining about the condition of his tyres. I’m sure his complaints are warranted, but I dare say we haven’t seen any other driver complain half as much as the 2009 World Champion has this season. The Britton out-qualified his team-mate by an impressive margin on Saturday and didn’t suffer from the Pirelli curse like Perez did, but the Mexican did show he was at least as fast as Jenson before his left-rear exploded while running down Hangar Straight. This week Vettel was unable to receive the point because he retired, but as Jenson failed to make it into the top-10 I’m obliged to give Perez the victory.
Kimi Raikkonen’s British Grand Prix was one of frustration toward his team and the overall competitiveness of his machinery. On a day when Lotus were offered the chance to take maximum points, the team faltered and Raikkonen fell to fifth and took only 10 points out of Vettel’s lead. Retirements at Red Bull don’t come around too often and the Enstone squad will be disappointed to have failed so terribly at this important moment. Raikkonen’s lack of competitiveness was borne from the team’s decision to not pit during the final safety car period, a decision that rendered him completely unable to challenge the cars ahead. But Raikkonen cannot be too critical of the team: they have, after all, provided him with the machinery to break Michael Schumacher’s record of most consecutive races in the points (a dubious record considering points scoring changes, but a record still) and have given him two wins and a handful of podiums over the last 18 months.
Grosjean pulled a surprise by out-qualifying Raikkonen on Saturday, but a poor start and contact with Button and Webber before the first corner compromised the rest of his race.
Rosberg took the opportunity for victory in brilliant style, fending off the faster RB9 of Mark Webber for the final five laps of the race and cementing the third Grand Prix victory of his career (and the second in the last three races). Admittedly it had looked like Hamilton would be in the prime seat to take glory early on, but the Britton became the first victim of Pirelli’s fragile tyres and fell swiftly to the back. A gallant effort and opportunist moves with the safety car brought the 2008 World Champion back to fourth by the chequered flag, but he couldn’t have been satisfied with 12 points when 25 were on offer. Even Rosberg admitted Hamilton deserved victory, but Lewis will need to wait at least another week until he can put his hands on the victor’s trophy. Mercedes have now scored more points in the first eight races of 2013 than they managed in the entire 2012 season. They look to be on top of tyre degradation and the car looks better than ever in the hands of Rosberg and Hamilton. With their qualifying domination expected to continue in the coming races, Mercedes will need to capitalise on their opportunities before their rivals have the chance to catch them.
It must be frustrating for Hulkenberg to see his former team perform so well while Sauber struggles to finish in the top-10. Nevertheless, the German benefitted from retirements ahead of him to take the final point and bump his total up to six points. With Toro Rosso getting faster with every race and Williams not looking to score any major points soon, Sauber look to be in the purgatory of the Formula One grid; they’re not going to improve their position in the constructors standings, but it doesn’t look as if they’ll lose any either.
Di Resta came back from a post-qualifying penalty to secure points for the sixth consecutive race. He’d set the fifth fastest time on Saturday but the numbers at the weighing scales didn’t add up and, on account of being two kilograms underweight, the Scottish driver was sent to the back of the grid. A barely-covered recovery placed him only two places behind his team-mate by the end of the race, despite the disadvantage placed upon him on Saturday. Sutil drove solidly in the early parts of the race, but faced with a slowing car began to look less controlled than he’d have wanted. A questionable late-race chop on Ricciardo earnt him the criticism of Sky race reporters Martin Brundle and David Croft. Perhaps the German is feeling his team-mate’s heat.
For the eighth race of eight this year, Williams again looked worryingly uncompetitive. Bottas was out in Q1, 16th all he was able to show for his first British Grand Prix qualifying appearance, and Maldonado could only do one better. On account of the difficulties of drivers ahead of them, the pair came home in 11th and 12th in the team’s 600th race. We’re almost half way through the season and Williams’s worst ever year looks to continue beyond Germany. With the team not looking any faster with each coming race, Maldonado and Bottas will be praying for a number of retirements if they have any hope in breaking into the top-10, let alone any higher than that.
A turnaround of competitiveness saw Ricciardo jump to top spot for Toro Rosso while Vergne faded away. It was an important result for the Australian who had been looking decidedly uncompetitive since the Monaco Grand Prix five weeks ago. Fifth following di Resta’s qualifying penalty was expected to be as high as Ricciardo would manage all weekend, but a strong drive in the race placed him as high as fourth before his necessary pit stops. While eighth is nothing to be disappointed with at Toro Rosso, the team will be disappoitned they failed to capitalise on their opportunities. Seven-second pit-stops and the decision to not pit the Australian at the final safety car, like Raikkonen, compromised Daniel and he drifted back to eighth by the finish. Had things gone their way, a podium may well have been available for Ricciardo.
Vergne struggled for competitive pace all weekend and after qualifying 12th fell further back at the start of the race. The opportunity to recover presented itself, but a spectacular tyre failure on the 35th lap sent the Frenchman into retirement. With the Red Bull contract for 2014 expected to be finalised in the coming months, both Ricciardo and Vergne will need to drive better than they have before to secure the top spot in Formula One.
Pic was streets ahead of his team-mate in qualifying and set a time 1.7 seconds faster than van der Garde around the 5.9km circuit. The Dutch driver was carrying a penalty over from the Canadian Grand Prix and wasn’t expected to put in a competitive lap time on Saturday, but finishing over 35-seconds behind his team-mate wasn’t what he’d have been hoping for. As we’ve seen a number of times this year with the bottom teams, one driver generally excels while the other falters. As per the norm, this time it was Charles Pic who came out well on top.
Chilton’s qualifying effort was laughable. At his home race, the British driver’s best effort was over 1.7 seconds slower than his team-mate’s. The race wasn’t much better and despite the safety car intervention, Chilton came home over 30-seconds behind his Bianchi. Marussia seem to have lost the flaire they showed early in the season and Bianchi will doubtlessly be getting frustrated at the lack of progress being made by the team. Perhaps it’ll be consolidation that he may well end the Formula One career of his rookie team-mate before their first year together is over.