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Ferrari clips Red Bull wings


Ferrari has won the British Grand Prix at the weekend with Fernando Alonso winning at Silverstone and teammate Felipe Massa coming home in fifth place

The win at Silverstone is the first win for Ferrari of 2011.

Alonso was joined on the podium by the two Red Bull drivers, Sebastian Vettel who finished second and Mark Webber third.

Sunday looked like being the first completely dry day of the meeting, but shortly before the start, a short shower ensured that all 24 cars started the race on intermediate rain tyres. As the lights went out, Vettel immediately passed his Red Bull team-mate Webber to take the lead, with Fernando attacking the Australian but staying in third. Felipe lost out to Button, but retook the McLaren on lap 2 to regain his grid position (fourth.) Button was then passed by his team-mate Hamilton, who had come up from tenth on the grid, so the order on lap 3 was Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Massa, Hamilton, Button with Di Resta seventh. Then came Kobayashi, Schumacher and Maldonaldo completing the top ten.

Vettel, with a clear track ahead had built up a 5.4 second lead after 6 laps, while Fernando was 2.6 behind Webber, with Felipe a further 2.4 behind his team-mate. On lap 7, the Spaniard had slashed a further half second off the gap to the Australian. Two laps later and Fernando was right on the Red Bull’s gearbox, while Felipe was coming under increasing pressure from fifth placed Hamilton. Schumacher brought his Mercedes in on lap 9 after losing his front wing, having crashed into Kobayashi. At this point, the German then became the first driver to try slick tyres. Button, Sutil and Kobayashi all switched to slicks on lap 11. Also in were Maldonaldo, Buemi, Petrov, Barrichello, Glock, and Liuzzi. Meanwhile Hamilton got past Felipe but only briefly as the McLaren ran wide.

Webber, Alonso and Hamilton all stopped on lap 12. They were followed in by Perez and Alguersuari. Vettel and Felipe pitted on lap 13, the German maintaining the lead as he rejoined the track. Felipe now found himself under attack from the other McLaren, that of Button, who actually got past the Ferrari at Vale corner. At this point, Schumacher was given a stop-go penalty for causing the incident with Kobayashi. The McLarens were evidently more comfortable on slicks in the damp as lap 15 saw Hamilton demote Fernando to fourth. This meant that with the whole field on slicks, the order at the front, was Vettel, 1.2 ahead of Webber, who had a huge 6.1 lead over Hamilton, the Englishman leading fourth placed Alonso by 0.8. Button was almost four seconds down on the Spaniard and had Felipe 3.6 behind him. On lap 24, Fernando was getting on terms with Hamilton again, pulling alongside and eventually going past to get back to third place. The Spaniard set a race fastest lap, as Hamilton pitted for a second time. Kobayashi parked the Sauber at the side of the track with smoke coming from the back.

Di Resta who had started sixth lost a lot of time when he made his second stop, as the crew had his team-mate’s tyres out instead of his. Webber pitted on lap 26, followed down pit lane by Button and Felipe and Buemi. Vettel and Alonso pitted together on lap 27, but the German had a slow stop which meant that as the red 150º Italia rejoined the track, Fernando Alonso was leading the British Grand Prix, but he had Hamilton all over his gearbox, as the Englishman’s tyres were more up to temperature than his. Meanwhile the second run of pit stops meant that behind Alonso and Hamilton, Vettel was now third, followed by Webber and Button with Felipe in sixth, comfortably ahead of Rosberg.

With 20 laps of the 52 remaining, Fernando had a 6.8 second lead over Hamilton, with Vettel half a second back in third. Webber was 0.8 behind his team-mate, followed by Button who was closing up on the lead four, with Felipe trailing the McLaren by 3.3 seconds. Vettel made his third stop on lap 36 and when Hamilton came in one lap later the German was back ahead of the Englishman. Webber came in on lap 38 and Fernando one lap later, followed by Button, who parked his McLaren after exiting the pit lane, as his right front wheel nut had not been replaced. This meant that, on lap 40, with all the leaders except Felipe having made three pit stops, the order was, Fernando leading by 10.3 seconds from Vettel, with Hamilton third and Felipe fourth ahead of Webber. The Brazilian Ferrari man made his third stop on lap 41, rejoining in fifth spot. Lap 45 and there was a change in the podium order as Webber managed to take third off Hamilton, who had been told to save fuel.

As has so often been the case this year, the closing laps, as tyres reached the end of their life, got very exciting. Webber was all over the back of second placed Vettel until team instructions from the pit wall told him to maintain station, but the biggest excitement came at the very last corner, as Felipe made one last desperate attempt to take fourth place off Hamilton, even going off the track in his efforts and having to settle for fifth at the flag. By this stage, Fernando had buzzed the pit wall, comfortably ahead of Vettel and Webber. Hamilton had been told he had to save fuel so Felipe had been closing and closing, even pulling alongside the McLaren. But catching and passing are very different and the Brazilian just could not manage it, even though he went off the track at the final corner he was trying so hard. This meant Hamilton hung onto fourth and Felipe was classified fifth ahead of Nico Rosberg.

The rest of the points went to seventh placed Perez, then came Heidfeld, Schumacher and Alguersuari.

"It is a very special win because it comes at a legendary track like Silverstone, in front of a crowd that is so enthusiastic about cars," said Alonso. "Also, the track characteristics were not really suited to our car, but clearly, the improvements we brought here helped a lot. At the start, it was not easy to drive because parts of the circuit were very wet and others were only damp in parts.

"There were some tricky moments, like when Hamilton overtook me, but we stayed very calm all the time, convinced we could get something out of it. I only realised I could win when I came back out on track after the final pit stop. Clearly the problem at Vettel’s stop helped, as did the fact that, for a long time, Hamilton kept the two Red Bulls behind him, but I have to say that in the dry we were very strong."

Next stop the famous Nurburgring in a fortnight’s time.

2011 British Grand Prix
1. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari 52 laps 1hr 28m 41.196s
2. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault +00m 16.5s
3. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault +00m 16.9s
4. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes +00m 28.9s
5. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 29.0s
6. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes +01m 00.6s
7. Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari +01m 05.6s
8. Nick Heidfeld Germany Renault-Renault +01m 15.5s
9. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes +01m 17.90s
10. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari +01m 19.10s

11. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes +01m 19.70s
12. Vitaly Petrov Russia Renault-Renault +01m 20.60s
13. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Williams-Cosworth +1 lap
14. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Cosworth +1 lap
15. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes +1 lap
16. Timo Glock Germany Virgin-Cosworth +2 laps
17. Jerome d'Ambrosio Belgium Virgin-Cosworth +2 laps
18. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy HRT-Cosworth +2 laps
19. Daniel Ricciardo Australia HRT-Cosworth +3 laps

DNF. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 39 laps completed
DNF. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 25 laps completed
DNF. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 23 laps completed
DNF. Jarno Trulli Italy Lotus-Renault 10 laps completed
DNF. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Lotus-Renault 2 laps completed

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