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Winners and Losers: British GP

Monday 1st July 2013

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JEV picks up 'Save of the Day'

JEV picks up 'Save of the Day'

Star of the Race

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 4th

Lewis did everything he could to win today, but his rear-left tyre let him down. He produced one of the pole laps of the season on Saturday, produced an amazing getaway from the line, was starting to manage the gap to Vettel, then BANG. The tyre disintegrated a long way from home, so it was an even bigger delay getting back to the pits. He made some great overtaking moves, a few lary ones, but what will be most encouraging is the fact that Mercedes didn't show excess tyre wear on a circuit where the high speed corners put them under a heavy load - perhaps more so than Barcelona. While the Circuit de Catalunya has some slow corners mixed in, Silverstone's are unrelenting for a high proportion of the lap. In fact he made it to the flag right on Alonso's gearbox with just two stops while the Ferrari needed three.

So a massive cause for celebration, not that Lewis was disposed to celebrating anything after the race.

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 47: Mark Webber, Red Bull on Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus for P2
If you thought Webbo's overtake of Alonso down the hill into Eau Rouge at Spa was one of the greatest, ballsiest overtakes of all time, you need to replay this one. This was better. The television pictures don't do the speed through Copse corner justice. Having stood on the outside of Copse at several GPs you wonder how anyone could overtake going into it. In this race drivers were not only overtaking into it (such as Alonso), Webber and Raikkonen went though it side by side. And didn't touch. It was a sign of Raikkonen's unwillingness to be overtaken that he kept his foot in and it was a sign of Webber's skill that he could get through the corner, keep his momentum and leave space on the outside for Raikkonen as he made an overtake that is unlikely to be matched this season - unless someone is going to go side by side through Eau Rouge.

This was just one example of some great driving this weekend, with many overtaking moves attempted and nobody bashing panels. Drivers were using their mirrors and keeping themselves in the race. Lewis Hamilton has a watchful Paul DiResta to thank for seeing him coming at Brooklands and getting out of the way when Hamilton was overcommitted. "That was brave," said a relieved DC as they both made it through the corner. For "brave" you could have substituted a lot of other words.

Winners
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1st
Nico was a lucky boy today. He got a poor getaway and let Vettel straight though to P2 off the line. It might have been even worse if Mark Webber had a decent start and not delayed the cars around him in P4. Ultimately he inherited second place and then was gifted the lead and a win. He kept his tyres off the kerb though, you can't take that away from him.

Mark Webber, Red Bull, 2nd
One of the old school Webbo starts where he selected reverse gear and went backwards down the grid order helped by a familiar nudge from the French guy. From that point on it was the usual True Grit fightback with a sequence of great overtaking moves into Brooklands and a chase of Rosberg that almost came off.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 3rdAlonso didn't seem to have too bad a start, but the way Felipe Massa passed him it looked like he was still in the Ferrari F150 so beloved of the Pirelli test team. Massa disappeared into the distance like a scalded cat while Fernando was left to wrestle his way past Jenson Button (candy from a not particularly attentive baby) and produced a sublime overtake on the inside of Romain Grosjean at Woodcote on Lap 2.

Most of the race was typical Alonso guile, not getting too close to Sutil, then closing the gap and pressing him when he thought the time might be right. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if the Safety Car hadn't happened just after his third and final pit-stop, but it would have been equally interesting to see how far Felipe Massa would have got without his puncture.

As Fernando said afterwards: "It is difficult to get 15 more points than Sebastian any weekend, so it is good points in the pocket."

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, 5th
It's pretty tough when a decision by the team loses you second place and casts you down to 5th. Raikkonen defended as best he could in the dying laps but Silverstone is just too wide and the opportunities to overtake too many to make it stick when the guy behind is on much better tyres

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 6th
Felipe Massa should be very grateful to the Force India team for running Paul Di Resta 1.5kg too light in qualifying. His removal to the back of the grid put Felipe in P11, the launchpad for him to claim P5 at the start in what is surely going to be the Start of the Year in the season highlights. It was bewildering at first to see that the leading Ferrari was Massa and not Alonso. Felipe's puncture put an end to his challenge but he was heading for his first Silverstone podium when it happened.

Adrian Sutil, Force India, 7th
Sutil probably hoped for more having run consistently in P3 and P4 throughout the race, but given Force India's tyre longevity - coming in for fresh rubber might have been senn as an unnecessary gamble so late on in the race.

Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, 8th
Ricciardo was a force all the way through the race. He managed to defend against Alonso in the first stint which is no mean feat. With Mark Webber announcing his retirement it was the perfect opportunity to impress Dr.Helmut - and Daniel impressed in both qualifying and racing.

Paul DiResta, Force India, 9th
Not too bad from last on the grid and a switched strategy in the race. Di Resta raced intelligently against the cars around him and (this time) was rightly aggrieved when drivers like Hulkenberg didn't. You can guess why Nico might have felt he had a point to prove having quit the team for a slower car.

Losers

Pirelli

Whether it turns out to be Pirelli's fault or the drivers' fault, it is Pirelli who have suffered a serious PR disaster from so many tyres disintegrating at the British GP. After the race the BBC's technical expert Gary Anderson went to look at the inside kerb at Turn 4 and highlighted the jagged edge he found. Drivers who took a particular line and rubbed the inside shoulder of their tyre on that edge would be more likely to get a puncture he suggested.

From a purely statistical point of view there is something to back this up. If it was a random problem, then the chances of Sergio Perez getting the same puncture twice in the weekend would be very low. Also, Felipe Massa is more prone to getting kerb punctures than most other drivers on the grid. He picked up one in Singapore in 2012 and I thought (but couldn't confirm) that he got one by going too far up the side of a kerb at the Indian GP.

This may be all coincidental. If it proves to be a contributory factor it will be embarrassing for Lewis Hamilton who said the Pirelli tyres were unacceptable.

McLaren
Having scored points for the last 64 races, at Canada they successfully ended that run with two finishes outside the points. And to prove it was no fluke, they did it again this weekend. Jenson and Sergio were up in the top ten until Sergio got his second sudden deflation of the weekend and the team failed to bring Button in when the final Safety Car was unleashed. It's a pretty bizarre season when you get no safety cars in the tight confines of Monaco and two at the wide open spaces of Silverstone. What is worrying for the team is that they're not just failing to develop the car, they're failing to make the right strategy calls in races. The two Williams both did two stops and were ahead of Button at the line.

Red Bull
More concerning than Sebastian Vettel's malfunctioning gearbox for the Red Bull branding team would be the crowd reaction to the No.1 car's retirement. Neither Lewis Hamilton nor Mark Webber got the biggest cheer, it was the sight of Vettel cruising. That can't be good for the brand. Red Bull spends a lot of money on sponsoring thrill-seeking endeavours, yet the cheers on his demise kind of indicated that Red Bull are viewed as establishment bad guys, not edgy and cool.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, DNF
Vettel was poised to put more distance between himself and his rivals when his gearbox gave up the ghost and he went for an early meeting with Lee Mckenzie. It's a rare failure, but a sharp reminder that F1 cars aren't bullet proof. Of more concern to Vettel will be Mercedes' solution to their tyre degradation problem - because that's a headache that won't go away for the rest of the season.

Media Watch
Suzy Perry was keen to get contributions to the BBC forum after the race: "We'll do whatever you tell us to do if you tweet us," she appealed. That was a lie for a start - by the end of the broadcast there was no bare-knuckle fight between herself and Sky's Natalie Pinkham. That's 20 seconds of my life I'll never get back.

Andrew DaviesLosers
Pirelli
Whether it turns out to be Pirelli's fault or the drivers' fault, it is Pirelli who have suffered a serious PR disaster from so many tyres disintegrating at the British GP. After the race the BBC's technical expert Gary Anderson went to look at the inside kerb at Turn 4 and highlighted the jagged edge he found. Drivers who took a particular line and rubbed the inside shoulder of their tyre on that edge would be more likely to get a puncture he suggested.

From a purely statistical point of view there is something to back this up. If it was a random problem, then the chances of Sergio Perez getting the same puncture twice in the weekend would be very low. Also, Felipe Massa is more prone to getting kerb punctures than most other drivers on the grid. He picked up one in Singapore in 2012 and I thought (but couldn't confirm) that he got one by going too far up the side of a kerb at the Indian GP.

This may be all coincidental. If it proves to be a contributory factor it will be embarrassing for Lewis Hamilton who said the Pirelli tyres were unacceptable.

McLaren
Having scored points for the last 64 races, at Canada they successfully ended that run with two finishes outside the points. And to prove it was no fluke, they did it again this weekend. Jenson and Sergio were up in the top ten until Sergio got his second sudden deflation of the weekend and the team failed to bring Button in when the final Safety Car was unleashed. It's a pretty bizarre season when you get no safety cars in the tight confines of Monaco and two at the wide open spaces of Silverstone. What is worrying for the team is that they're not just failing to develop the car, they're failing to make the right strategy calls in races. The two Williams both did two stops and were ahead of Button at the line.

Red Bull
More concerning than Sebastian Vettel's malfunctioning gearbox for the Red Bull branding team would be the crowd reaction to the No.1 car's retirement. Neither Lewis Hamilton nor Mark Webber got the biggest cheer, it was the sight of Vettel cruising. That can't be good for the brand. Red Bull spends a lot of money on sponsoring thrill-seeking endeavours, yet the cheers on his demise kind of indicated that Red Bull are viewed as establishment bad guys, not edgy and cool.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, DNF
Vettel was poised to put more distance between himself and his rivals when his gearbox gave up the ghost and he went for an early meeting with Lee Mckenzie. It's a rare failure, but a sharp reminder that F1 cars aren't bullet proof. Of more concern to Vettel will be Mercedes' solution to their tyre degradation problem - because that's a headache that won't go away for the rest of the season.

Media Watch
Suzy Perry was keen to get contributions to the BBC forum after the race: "We'll do whatever you tell us to do if you tweet us," she appealed. That was a lie for a start - by the end of the broadcast there was no bare-knuckle fight between herself and Sky's Natalie Pinkham. That's 20 seconds of my life I'll never get back.

Andrew Davies

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