Sunday, July 11, 2010

Red Bull Racing Battle Results With Webber Claiming British Grand Prix

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

The British Grand Prix's running at Silverstone is one of few F1 events which actually predates the inception of the current Formula 1 sanctioning body. Ever since the first running of the event on the former World War 2 Era RAF Bomber airfield, there have been some memorable developments which included the collision with a sheep in the inaugural Silverstone race.

Flashing forward to the 2010 race, the reigning winner Sebastian Vettel grabbed pole ahead of his Australian teammate Mark Webber perhaps thanks to aerodynamic revisions Vettel's Red Bull-Renault wore through qualifying. Showing to be a class above other teams through Saturday's time trial for grid position, the Red Bull Racing drivers looked to once again duke amongst themselves. With both Red Bull-Renaults showing near equal pace within the season, Vettel and Webber have not always shown the best in teamwork when starting close together. Dramatically resulting in a collision at the Turkish Grand Prix, the rivalry between the Red Bull Racing F1 drivers has been bordering on an all-out feud.

First and second on the British Grand Prix grid as the lights went out, Webber found the edge on his teammate Vettel from the standing start. Starting 3rd, looking to spoil the Red Bull Racing party, Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren-Mercedes was aggressive early seeking a move on the now displaced polesitting car of Sebastian Vettel. In result of the contentious start, Vettel suffered a major setback as he lost pressure in one of his Bridgestone tires. With some speculation that the dice from the start with teammate Mark Webber had some direct involvement for the tire puncture, Vettel speculated contact might have been with Lewis Hamilton's McLaren air dam. With Sebastian Vettel forced to make a pit stop on lap 2, Mark Webber was left as the lone Red Bull-Renault left to fight for British Grand Prix victory.

Now in 2nd place, the McLaren-Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton fell into hot pursuit of the Renault-powered Formula 1 leader with another factory-backed Renault of Robert Kubica running 3rd. Enjoying another run near the front in the improved Renault R30 race car, Kubica was one-half of another major race battle. Between his Renault and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, Kubica fought hard to hold back the challenger to the 3rd place position. On lap 17, Alonso speared for the podium spot ducking his Ferrari on the inside of Kubica heading into turn 8. In a defense driving move which appeared that Robert Kubica was squeezing the Ferrari into the corner, Alonso refused to let up remaining alongside into the S-shaped area. In fact, Fernando Alonso would make his way around Kubica's Renault Possibility a controversial decision considering that Kubica played a part in forcing the Ferrari off-track initially, Alonso was assessed a drive-through penalty for the pass off the track surface.

With an impending penalty for Fernando Alonso, Robert Kubica was not free from trouble. Unfortunately for Kubica, his quest to score points in a 9th straight grand prix events was ended when his Renault R30 suffered a left rear driveshaft failure. Kubica's retirement was presided only by the Virgin-Cosworth of Lucas di Grassi for what would eventually in a very light race casualty list.

Photo Credit: Lorenzo Bellanca/LAT Photographic

On lap 28, the BMW Sauber-Ferrari of Pedro de la Rosa shed debris from a damaged rear wing. Landing within the racing groove littering the Silverstone frontstretch, the FIA pulled out the Mercedes-Benz SLS safety car.

Prior to the safety car period, Webber was enjoying a comfortable lead over Hamilton. With the Red Bull Racing team experimenting with new parts for improving their on-track performance, McLaren was also involved in extracting greater potential from their current car coming with an all-new exhaust system which was planned to improve aerodynamics. Instead, through Friday practice, the team found the new exhaust pieces were actually impeding the car's performance. McLaren team mechanics worked hard to remove the systems on both cars reverting back to another existing exhaust. While improving the McLaren-Mercedes cars, both were ultimately short on catching the Red Bull-Renault of Mark Webber.

Through the last stage of the race as the top-2 stabilized, Nico Rosberg had quietly broke into the final podium spot with the Mercedes GP team car. The British Grand Prix would net Rosberg has 3rd podium finish of the season in another race where he outperformed Michael Schumacher. Schumacher himself finished 9th in the grand prix and has caught the ears of many Formula 1 insiders would have heard dissatisfaction coming from the 7-time world driving champion about the 2009 return to the series. In post race, Schumacher responded "Again a race which I am not really happy about today. It was ok and seeing Nico on the podium is good for the team but my race was obviously less rewarding."

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

Coming down to the end, Fernando Alonso's attempt to regain points for the Formula 1 championship encountered another problem as contact with a Force India car resulted with a tire puncture sending him back to the pits for an unscheduled tire change. Finishing 14th in this British Grand Prix, the Scuderia Ferrari team hit a real sour note in the 2010 British Grand Prix as Felipe Massa was one place behind Alonso at the checkered flag.

Webber's Red Bull-Renault retained the lead while the second team car provided some jarring on-track action through the final laps of the British Grand Prix. Finishing 7th after a hard charge after the tire puncture, Sebastian Vettel was aided by the safety car period as well as his own determination to pass the Force India-Mercedes of Adrian Sutil on the final laps. Describing the race in the Red Bull Racing website, Vettel candidly admitted "There are some days where you should just stay in bed. Today was one of those days, or let's say, the beginning of the race was." As for the Webber/Vettel feud, Vettel made no indications of this even congratulating Mark Webber on the win.

Crossing the line to collect his 3rd 2010 Formula 1 win for Red Bull Racing, the Australian driver Mark Webber maintained a marginal gap on the two Mercedes-Benz engines within Hamilton's McLaren and Rosberg's factory-based Mercedes GP car. Another Mercedes-powered McLaren also rolled home 4th place on the Silverstone circuit for an important points day. Making a barn-burning charge within the early stages from a 14th place starting spot, 2009 Formula 1 champion Jenson Button retained 2nd in the Formula 1 standings behind teammate Lewis Hamilton.

With the drama for Ferrari and struggles for one-half of Red Bull Racing, the 2010 British Grand Prix was noteworthy for the performance of some of the mid-marker Formula 1 teams. Both Williams-Cosworth cars of Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg scored points for a race close to the team's home base. However, the most impressive single driver performance from a mid-marker team came from Japan's
Kamui Kobayashi who brought his BMW Sauber-Ferrari 6th across the line as a career-best for the driver.

Leaving the historic British track, next for the Formula 1 cars is the German Grand Prix where several popular native drivers would try to score victory at the Hockenheimring. The German Grand Prix is set for two weeks on July 25th.

British Grand Prix

2010 Formula 1

Race Results

1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
5. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth
6. Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari
7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
10. Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth
11. Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari
12. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes
13. Vitaly Petrov Renault
14. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
15. Felipe Massa Ferrari
16. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth
17. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth
18. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth
19. Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth
20. Sakon Yaramoto HRT-Cosworth
21. Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari
22. Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari
23. Robert Kubica Renault F1
24. Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth

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