Nico Rosberg has romped to his third career victory in Formula 1 after a highly controversial British Grand Prix
Nico Rosberg has romped to his third career victory in Formula 1 after a highly controversial British Grand Prix, featuring spills, thrills and a dangerous amount of tyre failures throughout the 52 laps. The German was joined on the podium by the Red Bull of Mark Webber, with Fernando Alonso a close 3rd for Ferrari.
As the five red lights went out local hero Lewis Hamilton scampered into the lead, as team-mate Nico Rosberg was robbed of 2nd position by the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel. Mark Webber suffered a collision with the Lotus of Romain Grosjean at Turn 1, resulting in minor damage to both machines. Felipe Massa enjoyed an absolutely sensational start for the Scuderia, rising from 11th to 5th on the opening lap. As the majority of the field battled for position throughout the early stages of the race, Lewis Hamilton proceeded to produce the fastest lap of the race at the front.
The former World Champion continued to open a slight lead over Sebastian Vettel, before he suffered an utterly catastrophic blow to his race when his left-rear tyre exploded. Although Lewis Hamilton managed to limp back to the pits with minor damage to the floor of his Mercedes, his lead was lost as reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel stormed into the lead. As Lewis Hamilton eventually crawled back to the pits for a new set of tyres, the Briton found himself towards the back of the pack after initially starting from pole.
Controversy and mayhem continued to ensue as the race progressed, when both Felipe Massa and Jean-Eric Vergne suffered almost identical tyre failures to Lewis Hamilton. The Ferrari driver?s blowout occurred at Turn 5, which saw him briefly spin before returning to the pits. Jean-Eric Vergne?s tyre exploded along the Hangar Straight just before Turn 15, with the Frenchman miraculously remaining in control of his Toro Rosso at high-speed and immediately plunging into the pits.
With many teams now fearing for their own drivers after three identical tyre failures, numerous pit-stops ensued for the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Adrian Sutil, Nico Rosberg and race leader Sebastian Vettel. Eventually the safety car was deployed to allow the marshals to clear the Silverstone circuit, which had been littered with shredded pieces of the delaminated tyres. As the old tyres were removed from many of the cars during their pit-stops, small cuts were discovered on the surface which accounted for the failures. Teams began instructing their drivers to avoid the kerbs, in what was becoming a bizarre British Grand Prix.
On Lap 21 the race was resumed as Sebastian Vettel scampered back into a commanding lead behind the wheel of his Renault-powered Red Bull. The controversy surrounding Pirelli?s tyres continued under green flag conditions, with Nico Hulkenberg and then Esteban Gutierrez both pitting after issues with their tyres. By Lap 29 the second round of pit-stops began as Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and then Romain Grosjean elected to pit. Throughout the next several laps, the entire field eventually completed a pit-stop, with Sebastian Vettel retaining his lead over Nico Rosberg at the front.
After plummeting through the order due to his tyre failure during the early stages of the race, Lewis Hamilton managed to scythe his way back through the order to 6th by Lap 36 when the Briton pitted for his second stop. Upon returning to the circuit, the 2008 World Champion became locked in a grueling battle for 11th with Paul di Resta, who had perviously collided with Nico Hulkenberg at Turn 4. Despite the many tyre-related issues throughout the field, Jean-Eric Vergne became the first retirement on Lap 36.
As Lewis Hamilton perfected an overtaking maneuver on Paul di Resta, the race was turned upside down as race leader Sebastian Vettel ground to a halt on the start/finish straight with a mechanical issue plaguing his Red Bull for the first time since the Italian Grand Prix last season. With the German?s car coming to a halt in a precarious position on the track, the safety car was called upon for the second time as the marshals cleared the stricken machine. Meanwhile Nico Rosberg had assumed the lead of the race, with only a handful of laps remaining in the race.
Under safety car conditions, the majority of the field elected to pit apart from the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen who rose up to 2nd position in his Lotus. The race was resumed on Lap 45, with Nico Rosberg storming into the lead ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Adrian Sutil. After pitting for fresh tyres under the safety car period, Mark Webber began to scythe his way through the order like a hot knife through butter, as the Australian sensation searched for his third win at Silverstone.
As Mark Webber rose to 3rd and then to 2nd in the closing laps, yet another tyre failure struck the field. This time it was Sergio Perez was struggled to retain control of his McLaren down the Hangar Straight, as Fernando Alonso luckily avoided a face-full of Pirelli debris. The Spaniard then proceeded to overtake Kimi Raikkonen for 3rd, before Lewis Hamilton also overtook the Finn for 4th whose tyres had completely worn out.
Despite a masterful resurgence after his altercation with Romain Grosjean on the opening lap of the race, Mark Webber was unable to catch Nico Rosberg for the lead. The German stormed across the line to record his second win of the season and Mercedes?s first in Britain since 1955 at the hands of Sir Stirling Moss. With Sebastian Vettel scoring no points in the race, his lead at the top of the Championship has been diminished to only 21 points ahead of Fernando Alonso in 2nd.
The German ace will be hoping for renewed luck next weekend when Formula 1 reconvenes at the Nurburgring for the German Grand Prix, a race Nico Rosberg will unquestionably be striving to win. The German marque has enjoyed a resurgent 2013 season, and victory on home soil will be their sole aim next time out.
Author: Andy Young
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