Mark Webber beat Fernando Alonso to the British GP victory in what proved to be a thrilling eight laps of the grand prix.
Starting second behind the Ferrari driver, Webber spent much of the grand prix dogging Alonso's footsteps.However, when the Spaniard pitted for the final time he needed to use the soft tyres whereas Webber, despite stopping five laps earlier, took the more durable hard tyre that gave him the edge in their battle to the line.
Sebastian Vettel claimed the final podium position ahead of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen. The talking point of the race was the Lap 12 clash between Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez which eliminated the Sauber driver who described Maldonado afterwards as a "very dangerous driver"
Remarkably the sun was shining brightly down on the mud at Silverstone as the cars lined up fro the grid. One car that wouldn't be lining up was the Caterham of Vitaly Petrov who suffered an engine failure on the way to the grid. The ambient temperature was 19C with the track at 31C. Mercedes reported to Michael Schumacher that they expected a dry race. They were right.
1.Alonso, 2.Webber, 3.Schumacher, 4.Vettel, 5.Massa, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Maldonado, 8.Hamilton, 9.Grosjean, 10.DiResta, 11.Rosberg, 12.Ricciardo, 13.Senna, 14.Hulkenberg, 15.Perez, 16.Button, 17.Kobayashi, 18.Petrov, 19.Kovalainen, 20.Glock, 21.de la Rosa, 22.Karthikeayn, 23.Vergne, 24.Pic
(Hulkenberg had been demoted by a five-place gearbox penalty, Kobayashi had a five-place Valencia penalty and Vergne a 10-place Valencia penalty.)
At the start polesitter Fernando Alonso swerved straight in front of Mark Webber and Webber went the other way as they swapped sides into Turn 1. Behind there was a frantic scramble with many cars touching on the opening lap. Massa and Vettel made contact, with Sebastian's front wing seeming to hit the back of the Ferrari. Later on in the lap Kimi tried to get up the inside of Vettel and they banged tyres.
The two Force Indias were duelling on the inside of Romain Grosjean when he tried a move around the outside of Lewis Hamilton at The Loop - that wasn't going to work. He dropped back but his front wing was driven over by Paul DiResta's right rear tyre puncturing the Force India. As DiResta trailed back to the pits he damaged his suspension and though the car was sent out again, he soon came back in, his race over. Raikkonen tried his luck with Vettel and went over the kerbs, lost speed and got overtaken by Maldonado.
Positions at the end of Lap 1: 1.Alonso, 2.Webber, 3.Schumacher, 4.Massa, 5.Vettel, 6.Maldonado, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Senna, 9.Hamilton, 10.Hulkenberg, 11.Grosjean, 12.Button, 13.Perez
After the Lotus team assessed the damage to Grosjean's car in the opening two laps they decided they'd have to pull him in for a new nose. From a position at the back of the field he then drove a stellar race.
Michael Schumacher started to collect a train of cars as Felipe Massa failed to find a way past the Mercedes driver. That meant by Lap 4 there was still only 10 seconds between the top 12 cars.
The stalemate was broken by Sebastian Vettel who was the first to come in for tyres at the end of Lap 10., followed a lap later by Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado.
Massa finally found a way past Michael Schumacher on Lap 12 just as Sergio Perez got his DRS working to launch the Sauber round the outside of Pastor Maldonado into Brooklands. Maldonado left his braking very late and although it's a wide corner he didn't trouble the apex, continuing on and clattering into the side of Perez causing a synchronised spin from both cars.
Maldonado lost his front wing and a frustrated Perez was out of the race (the last retirement of the race as it turned out). Perez had some angry words for Maldonado afterwards calling him a dangerous driver and maintaining that he had no respect for other drivers.
Vettel's stop on Lap 10 had started a cascade of other pit-stops and the last of the front-runners to come in was Fernando Alonso on Lap 15.
Positions at the end of Lap 17: 1.Hamilton (not stopped), 2.Alonso, 3.Webber, 4.Vettel, 5.Massa, 6.Schumacher, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Grosjean, 9.Kobayashi, 10.Hulkenberg, 11.Senna, 12.Rosberg, 13.Button
Hamilton, like Alonso had started on the hard tyres and continued on at the front. McLaren left him out and he was soon caught by Alonso after his pit-stop. On Lap 19 there was a grandstanding battle as Alonso passed Hamilton just at the start of the DRS zone. Then Lewis came back past him on the Wellington Straight before Hamilton got his braking wrong and was repassed. It was entertaining stuff, but all it did was allow Mark Webber to close on Alonso and it lost Hamilton time.
When Hamilton pitted at the end of Lap 21 he exited behind the Raikkonen/Schumacher battle for 5th and 6th. On lap 24 both Raikkonen and Hamilton got past Schumacher. During the middle phase of the race between the first and second tyre stints the race settled down. Although Lewis looked to be pressing Raikkonen at first, Kimi soon opened the gap and went away.
Behind him, it was the remarkable Romain Grosjean who was making up time after his second tyre stop. Despite the early stop for a new nose he was right back in it. In fact Grosjean's pace caused McLaren to bring Lewis Hamilton in after only eight laps (on lap 28) on the soft tyre to keep track position. He resumed on the hard.Hamilton emerged behind Nico Rosberg and Lewis made a pass on Rosberg going into Copse, one of three he would make there in the afternoon. However Grosjean was able to use Rosberg's loss of momentum and follow Hamilton through before they'd even got to Becketts. Grosjean would cruise past Hamilton easily on Lap 35.
Alonso's gap to Webber was 5.5 seconds on Lap 32 and on Lap 33 Mark pitted for the final time for more hard tyres.
On Lap 37 Alonso pitted for his last set of tyre which would have to be softs. At the same time Kobayashi came in and overshot his pitbox by a long way, knocking three mechanics into the air as he did so. The crew picked themselves up, wheeled him back and got him out again but he lost a lot of time.
At this stage of the race it was both the Lotus cars who were coming good with Raikkonen, Grosjean and also Felipe Massa's Ferrari putting in several fastest laps of the race.
Positions at the end of Lap 38: 1.Alonso, 2.Webber, 3.Vettel, 4.Massa, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Grosjean, 7.Hamilton, 8.Schumacher 9.Hulkenberg, 10.Senna, 11.Button, 12.Kobayashi
Alonso's lead over Webber was 3.9 seconds while Hamilton was easily being caught by Schumacher and further back, Hulkenberg had Senna and Button in close attendance. Raikkonen was catching Massa and Grosjean was catching Raikkonen, but the difference in lap time between these three was small.
At the front, Alonso was finding it hard going on the soft tyre and the gap to Webber came down to 3.3 seconds on Lap 42, then 2.2, then 1.3 on Lap 44 before the TV cameras took any notice of it. By Lap 45 the gap was just 0.5 seconds.
After shadowing him for a couple of laps, Mark failed to be close enough going through the DRS zone on Lap 47 a mistake he didn't make on lap 48 cruising round the outside of the Ferrari going into Brooklands and just about holding on under braking. Unlike with Maldonado and Perez, Alonso gave him room and the pass was made without tears.
Alonso's tyres, though fading, were not in such disrepair that third place Vettel was going to be a threat. Behind them fifth place Kimi Raikkonen was hoping to get into the DRS zone behind Massa, but he ran wide and blew his chances of overtaking him in the last two laps of the race.
The final battle of the race was between Nico Hulkenberg, Bruno Senna and Jenson Button in 9th, 10th and 11th. On Lap 51 (of 52) Bruno Senna finally used the DRS to get past Hulkenberg through the Brooklands/Luffield complex. Hulkenberg tried to come back up the inside down the old start/finish straight into Copse, had to back out, missed his braking, ran wide over the kerbs and let Button and Kobayashi through as well.
Mark Webber duly became the second driver of 2012 to get two wins, with Alonso happy in second and Vettel's third place making it only the first double podium of the year for Red Bull. Massa had his best race result of his season in P4, Raikkonen was disappointed in P5 whiile Romain Grosjean was delighted to get P6 ahead of Schumacher in P7 and Hamilton in P8. Senna picked up the points for P9 and Jenson Button got the consolation prize of a single point with P10 in a race that he said he enjoyed.
The much-anticipated rain came long after the podium ceremony was over, but the fight between Webber, Vettel and Alonso (also last year's British GP podium trio) is only just starting.
01. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1h25:11.288
02. Alonso Ferrari + 3.060
03. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 4.836
04. Massa Ferrari + 9.519
05. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 10.314
06. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 17.101
07. Schumacher Mercedes + 29.153
08. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 36.400
09. Senna Williams-Renault + 43.300
10. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 44.400
11. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 45.300
12. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 47.800
13. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 51.241
14. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 53.513
15. Rosberg Mercedes + 57.300
16. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
18. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
19. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
20. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
21. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
Did Not Finish
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 14
Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 3
Petrov Caterham-Renault 1