SILVERSTONE: A fired-up Mark Webber won the British Grand Prix for Red Bull after a storming start that turned the tables on team mate Sebastian Vettel. Webber has now claimed his third win of the season, and the fifth of his career.
The victory put a smile on the Australian’s face after having to give his car’s front wing to the German on Saturday in a controversy that left Red Bull facing accusations of favouritism.
Webber, stony-faced on Saturday, let his feelings pour out as he crossed the line, telling the team over the radio, “Fantastic, not bad for a number two driver”.
Vettel, who had started on pole only to find himself at the back of the field after the first lap, fought back to finish seventh.
Britain’s Lewis Hamilton delighted the 120,000-strong crowd with a fighting second-place for McLaren, jus over a second behind Webber, to extend his championship lead over teammate Jenson Button to 12 points with nine races remaining.
World champion Jenson Button, starting 14th after describing his car as ‘undriveable’ on Saturday, carved his way through the field to finish fourth on a bright afternoon at the new Silverstone circuit. While a remarkable drive in the circumstances, Button still found himself off his home podium for the 11th season in succession.
The story of the race was the start, with the two Red Bull drivers lining up alongside each other on the front row with the battle lines drawn. Webber forced Vettel wide on to the rumble strips while avoiding a repeat of the collision in Turkey that wrecked Red Bull’s hopes of a one-two.
The one-two still evaporated in the haze of exhaust fumes, with Vettel having to pit at the end of the opening lap with a punctured right rear tyre after a glancing blow from Hamilton’s McLaren.
The 23-year-old, last year’s winner from pole in Britain, could still hold his head high after staging a thrilling fight back that included scything past compatriot and seven-time champion Michael Schumacher.
While Webber celebrated, Ferrari were left puzzled as two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso fell victim to another dose of controversy – he was given a drive-through penalty for taking a short-cut to overtake Kubica – when he was forced off the track on lap 17.
His teammate Brazilian Felipe Massa suffered an afternoon of punctures and incidents and also failed to impress, the pair finishing 14th and 15th.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2010.
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