British GP – Silverstone delivers best result of the year
At Silverstone, Scuderia Ferrari has secured its best overall result of the season, bringing home 30 points, thanks to a second place for Fernando Alonso and a fourth for Felipe Massa. For the Spaniard, today’s result is his fifth podium finish of the year, while for his Brazilian team-mate, it’s his best result of the season. After nine rounds of the championship, Fernando still leads the Drivers’ classification, while Felipe moves up to thirteenth place. The Scuderia makes up two places in the Constructors’ classification to go second. Ferrari now has no less than 51 podium finishes in this Grand Prix: 16 wins, 20 second places and 15 thirds.
Stefano Domenicali: “We have picked up thirty very big points here at Silverstone. Once again, Fernando drove a great race, for the umpteenth time this season and has gained points over the majority of his nearest rivals, but let me tell you that I am particularly happy with the display put on by Felipe, who was in the fight for pole yesterday and for the podium, right down to the last, today. It is a nice result for him, which is particularly important for us in terms of the Constructors’ championship, where thanks to the biggest points haul of the year, we have managed to move up to second place. We also did a good job in terms of the team, both when it came to strategy and how we managed the race on track. Obviously, when you lose the lead, just a few laps from the end of a race, there’s a hint of regret, at least in the heat of the moment, but then it dawns on you that this is a really important result for both championships. I am glad that the spectators were finally able to enjoy a dry day at the track and were able to witness a great show: here, one can feel that the passion for motor sport is really strong and it is always a pleasure for us to come and race in front of such enthusiastic and knowledgeable fans. We were at the same level as the team everyone reckons is currently the best and be sure, it definitely is. And we also held our own against some very strong competition from other rivals. Certainly, there is much more to do to improve the car, especially in terms of top speed, where we are still suffering. We now come to a pair of back to back races in Hockenheim and Budapest, for which we will try and improve our performance level still further: that will be our primary goal over the next few days.”
Fernando Alonso: “When you do almost the entire race in the lead and you are overtaken just a few laps from the finish, it does leave something of a bitter taste in the mouth, but after reflecting for a moment and looking at the classification, then the outcome of this Grand Prix seems very positive. We have continued working on the right road: four podiums in the last five races and the fifth just missed a few laps from the end, is a nice run of results which has allowed me to lead the Championship. This is an important moment in the season: it’s not at this time that you win the championship, but one can start to lose it here and we are pleased to have extended our advantage over the majority of our closest rivals. We must continue like this for the next two races, trying to always make it to the podium. Then, we must work a lot on our top speed, especially in view of circuits like Spa and Monza. We began the race on the tyres that were best for us, with the aim of pulling out as big a lead as possible over those behind, to then try and manage the situation in the final stint. We managed it with all but one of our opponents, which was actually rather predictable. In Valencia, we won on a weekend when the Red Bulls seemed uncatchable and here we fought with them right to the end. If you had told me back on Thursday that I’d be going home with 18 points to my name, I would have signed for that right away. However, the championship is still very open: Red Bull is very strong, but we definitely cannot rule out McLaren, because they had a really bad weekend here and on top of that, Lotus are always very fast. There is a lot to do, but as we have said several times, we are on the right road.”
Felipe Massa: “It was a good race and I am glad to have finally brought home a good result for me and for the team. Race after race, the situation has been improving and now we are capable of fighting for the podium: it might have happened here, but it could also have been possible in Montreal and Valencia, which means that today’s performance is not a fluke. It was not easy to make the right tyre choice for the start, because we did not have much data available: Fernando and I went down different routes, but I don’t think either one of us has anything to complain about. I got a good start and then there was long and close duel with Michael and I lost some time behind him: Vettel benefited from that, managing to get past me in the run of pit stops. Then, my pace was very similar to the Red Bull, so I could not get close enough to think about attacking. In the final stint, I concentrated mainly on defending my position against Kimi who was coming back at me very quickly: maybe if there had been a few more laps, he would have managed to get by. We must continue to push, as we have done over these past few months and then, I’m sure the results will come. Is it enough to confirm my place at Ferrari? I don’t see any reason why that could not happen if, as I said, the results come.”
Pat Fry: “A very close race, from the start to the chequered flag. With Fernando, we were fighting for the win and with Felipe for the podium all the way to the finish, confirming that our package – the team, drivers, car – was competitive at this track. After two days affected by rain, today the skies cleared, but that was not something one could have predicted with absolute certainty the day before the race. We did not have much of a reference point in terms of tyre behaviour, because we only had FP3 in which to assess performance, especially over a long run. That was partly why we opted to run different strategies with our two drivers and, all in all, we have no regrets, given how things went: clearly, on the Softs both Red Bulls were quicker than Fernando and we need to look at how we can improve our tyre performance in similar situations in the future. Fernando and Felipe both drove impeccably throughout the race, and the pit stop guys were faultless whenever the call came. This championship is very close and so it is vital to always bring home as many points as possible. I think today we achieved that goal and it is very significant that we have managed to make up no less than two places in the Constructors’ classification. We must continue to push on car development, because we are not yet the quickest: there is still much work to do to achieve this objective.”
Driver Pos. Time Gap Laps FL L
Alonso 2nd 1:25.14.348 + 3.060 52 1.35.385 49
Massa 4th 1:25.20.807 + 9.519 52 1.35.041 50
Weather: air 18/20°C, track 25/24 °C. Cloudy. Chassis: Alonso 295, Massa 294.
British GP – Biggest points haul of the year
Silverstone, 8 July – An imaginative tyre strategy, running two long stints on the Prime, before switching to the Option at the end, almost saw Fernando Alonso win the British Grand Prix, but in the end he had to settle for second place, behind the faster Red Bull of Mark Webber, who chased him down with seven laps remaining. Felipe Massa, running a more conventional strategy, starting on the softer tyre and doing the final two stints on the harder Pirelli looked to be heading for his first podium of the season, but lost out in the pit stops to Sebastian Vettel, in the other Red Bull, who stood on the bottom step of the podium. The Spaniard still leads the Drivers’ classification although today’s winner has cut the Ferrari man’s advantage to 13 points. The two men who head the classification are the only ones to have won two Grands Prix this season. Felipe is gradually hauling his way up the order and is 13th, while the Scuderia has leapt from fourth to second in the Constructors.’
The unpredictable English weather produced sunny skies for the start of the race and the outlook looked sunny for Scuderia Ferrari, as Fernando made a perfect start from pole to lead; he and Lewis Hamilton the only front runners to start on the harder tyre. Felipe immediately passed Vettel to go fourth, while Di Resta pitted immediately with a puncture and Petrov retired. By lap 3, Felipe was closing on Schumacher in the Mercedes, but he slipped back a bit allowing Vettel in the Red Bull to close right up on the Ferrari. The order on lap 5 was Fernando, Webber, Schumacher, Felipe, Vettel, Raikkonen, Maldonaldo, Hamilton, Perez and Senna completing the top ten. By now, Felipe was under Schumacher’s gearbox, trying all sorts of exciting moves to get past, with Vettel over half a second behind. At the front, Fernando had almost 2 seconds in hand over Webber.
Vettel was the first to pit for fresh tyres on lap 10, switching to the Prime tyre. Lap 11, and Felipe finally got past the German to go third, as Maldonaldo and Perez pitted. But the two men tangled a few corners after leaving the pits and while the Williams continued the Sauber had to retire at the side of the track. Schumacher came in on lap 12. Felipe and Raikkonen came in on lap 13. Felipe was running in tenth after the stop, with Schumacher behind him and the other Mercedes of Rosberg ahead of him. Fernando made his stop on lap 15, as did Rosberg. While this was going on, Felipe dispensed with Button’s McLaren to take eighth. Hamilton had yet to stop and was therefore in the lead, 1.5s ahead of the Spanish Ferrari driver, as Kobayashi, Hulkenberg, Button and Ricciardo all switched tyres. Lap 19 and Fernando was putting a superhuman effort into passing Hamilton: even if the Englishman had yet to stop, the Ferrari man needed to make the most of his new tyres and he managed to pull off the overtake in a thrilling wheel to wheel battle.
Felipe however found himself fifth at this point having lost out to Vettel in the run of pit stops, with the two Red Bulls now directly ahead of him. Hamilton finally pitted on lap 21, which meant that, in the lead, Fernando had a five second cushion to second placed Webber. The battle for fifth was close and lap 24, saw Raikkonen get his Lotus ahead of Schumacher, with Hamilton on fresh Option tyres closing in on the Mercedes, easily getting past to be sixth behind Raikkonen. Lap 25 saw Fernando put in a fastest race lap, as his lead over Webber had grown to 5.4, with Vettel a further 3.4 behind and Felipe 2.9 off the German’s Red Bull.
Hamilton’s short stint on the softer tyre ended when he pitted on lap 28, dropping down to twelfth place, but now going for the chequered flag with no more stops. Lap 31 saw Felipe temporarily promoted to third when Vettel made his second pit stop, as Button also brought in the McLaren at this time. Webber came in from second spot on lap 33, so that Felipe was second, although he would still need another tyre change. Raikkonen and Schumacher made their second stops on lap 34. Next time round and Felipe made his final stop, planning to run the remaining 18 laps to the flag.
Lap 37 was the key moment of the race for Scuderia Ferrari, as Fernando made his second stop, switching to the Option tyre for his final run to the end of the 52 lap race. At the same time, there was a scary moment in the Sauber pit, as Kobayashi came in, knocking some of his crew flying. Fernando had kept the lead, by 3.9 seconds over Webber, but the question was, how long would the Ferrari man’s softer tyres last and would he be able to hold off the Australian on the more resilient Prime Pirellis?
After initially seeing the gap between the Ferrari and the Red Bull increase to just over 4 seconds, it started to come down again and eventually, the inevitable happened as, after a spirited duel, Webber swept into the lead. Vettel was also closing on the Spaniard, but there were not enough laps left and the top three thus finished in this order, with Felipe just behind them, having had to keep an eye in his mirrors for Raikkonen, although in the end the Finn could not mount a real challenge. Six was his Lotus team-mate, Romain Grosjean, followed by the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher in seventh. The remaining points went to Lewis Hamilton, Bruno Senna and Jenson Button. The busy month of racing resumes in a fortnight’s time at Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix, with the Hungarian event following on just seven days later.
British GP – Alonso second, Massa fourth
Silverstone, 8 July – Fernando Alonso finished the British Grand Prix in second place, thus keeping the lead in the Drivers’ championship and also confirming that Scuderia Ferrari is still making great progress. After a lightning start which saw him lead most of the race, in the final stages, Mark Webber in the Red Bull managed to snatch the lead off the Spaniard, while the Australian’s team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, completed the podium trio. Felipe Massa drove a great race and, after making up one place at the start, finally crossed the line fourth, bringing home a generous points haul in the Constructors’ championship. With this result, Scuderia Ferrari jumps ahead of Lotus and McLaren to go second in the classification.