SILVERSTONE: Mark Webber served notice that he is a serious contender to take the drivers’ world title this year and should swiftly be rewarded with a new Red Bull contract by winning a dramatic British Grand Prix.
The 35-year-old Australian posted a near-flawless performance to triumph in an incident-filled race staged in welcome dry conditions ahead of his Ferrari rival Fernando Alonso. Webber’s Red Bull teammate and defending champion Sebastian Vettel took third.
The race produced thrills and spills throughout all 52 laps including an acrimonious collision when Pastor Maldonado of Williams drove into Sergio Perez’s Sauber and a pit-lane accident when Kamui Kobayashi braked late and hit his own mechanics at a pit stop.
It was Webber’s second Silverstone win in three years, his second victory this year and the ninth of his career, lifting him to 116 points in second place in the drivers’ championship, 13 behind leader Alonso who has 129 points. Vettel lies third on 100.
“It was very interesting for me,” said Webber. “Fernando had good pace from the start, but we had the better strategy in the end. We never gave up, we kept pushing and it did not work out in the end for Fernando.”
The Spaniard Alonso admitted it is going to be a close finish to the season. “It was very close today but at the end Mark was much quicker than us and deserved the victory,” said Alonso. “Now we’re fighting for victories in the last three or four Grand Prix. I’m still leading the championship and that’s the main target for us.”
Crowd favourite Hamilton was unable to finish higher than eighth and remained fourth in the title race. “We’re a long way away from Red Bull but we’ll keep working at it and hopefully catch up,” said Hamilton.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2012.