Call it intuition or upshot of a payday weekend, but we had a really good feeling about our predictions for the British Grand Prix. If we\'d gotten a zero, however, it wouldn\'t have mattered much--this had to be the best race of the year so far, and you must catch a replay if you weren\'t able to see it live.
1. Dry tires will remain in use throughout the race. So they did, and perhaps partly due to this, it wasn\'t a good day to be a left-rear F1 car tire. McLaren\'s Sergio Perez had a left-rear tire blowout during Friday\'s first practice session, and four other failures happened during the race itself. The high track temperature on race day, debris, the high-speed corners of the circuit, and the track curbs (which haven\'t been changed from the previous year) were also cited as possible reasons for the blowouts.
So alarming were these incidents that race director Charlie Whiting admitted he\'d thought of red-flagging the race. Immediately after the GP, the FIA announced an emergency meeting with Pirelli to try and sort out this explosive tire situation before the German GP next week. Pirelli\'s defense could be that it had proposed to change the tires\' construction, but this was blocked by the teams that felt they had an advantage with the current spec.
2. Felipe Massa won\'t survive Q2, and a Toro Rosso will make it to Q3. Right on the money on both counts. We totally saw that coming.
To be fair, Massa did react as if a bucket of steaming Earl Grey tea had been dumped on him at the start, managing to jump from his 11th starting position to 5th; it was Toro Rosso\'s Daniel Ricciardo who went backward, going from 5th to 7th. Unfortunately, Massa\'s left-rear tire went bang shortly after, although he did well to bring his Ferrari home sixth. Ricciardo, whose teammate Jean-Eric Vergne did not finish after suffering a blowout, ended the race eighth.
3. Lewis Hamilton and Paul di Resta will finish in the top 10. We thought this wasn\'t going to pan out when di Resta was excluded from qualifying, because he and his Force India were found to be 1.5kg below the 642kg driver-and-car weight requirement. To add insult to injury, his team said it was down to di Resta\'s supposedly yoyo-ing weight. Okay? We say next time, pack a sandwich for him to scarf down while he does his post-qualifying in-lap.
During the race itself, Hamilton was first to experience an exploding Pirelli while in the lead. In the end, both he and di Resta benefited from more tire drama and a late safety-car period to get themselves--and us armchair commentators--in the points.
4. Pole for Mercedes, victory for Red Bull. Such was the edge Hamilton had over the rest of the pack in qualifying that Sebastian Vettel joked the Brit had found a shortcut around the track. The Red Bull driver was then on course to fulfill the second part of this prediction until his gearbox decided it would rather see a wide-open championship battle than another 2011 scenario. It was Seb\'s first retirement of the season.
5. Mark Webber on the podium, Kimi Raikkonen in the points. If the British GP had 53 laps instead of 52, Webber might have won the race and we would\'ve gotten a perfect high five (see No. 4). Seven-tenths of a second was his distance to Nico Rosberg at the checkered flag--a good recovery after a horrible start in which he lost 10 places.
Kimi also finished in the points, making him the record holder of the longest consecutive points-finish streak (25) in the history of the sport. He was unhappy, however, that Lotus had not opted to pit him when the safety car came out after Vettel\'s retirement. When the racing resumed, he thus fell victim to Webber, Alonso and Hamilton, who all had fresh boots for a final attack. As a result, Alonso increased his lead over the Finn to 13 points, and closed up the gap to Vettel from 36 to 21.
Will the defending champion be able to bounce back at his home grand prix--which he has never won--this coming weekend? See you at the German GP.
Total score: 4.5 out of 5 (damn!)
|GBR||Starting grid||Race results|
|Pos||Driver (Team)||Quali (Start Tire)||Driver (Team)||Time/Gap|
|1||L. Hamilton (Mercedes)||1:29.607 (M)||N. Rosberg||1hr 32:59.456|
|2||N. Rosberg||1:30.059, +0.452 (M)||M. Webber (Red Bull)||+0.700|
|3||S. Vettel (Red Bull)||1:30.211, +0.604 (M)||F. Alonso (Ferrari)||+7.100|
|4||M. Webber (Red Bull)||1:30.220, +0.613 (H)||L. Hamilton (Mercedes)||+7.700|
|5||D. Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)||1:30.757, +1.150 (M)||K. Raikkonen (Lotus)||+11.200|
|6||A. Sutil (Force India)||1:30.908, +1.301 (M)||F. Massa (Ferrari)||+14.500|
|7||R. Grosjean (Lotus)||1:30.955, +1.348 (M)||A. Sutil (Force India)||+16.300|
|8||K. Raikkonen (Lotus)||1:30.962, +1.355 (M)||D. Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)||+16.500|
|9||F. Alonso (Ferrari)||1:30.979, +1.372 (M)||P. di Resta (Force India)||+17.900|
|10||J. Button (McLaren)||1:31.649, +2.042 (H)||N. Hulkenberg (Sauber)||+19.700|
|11||F. Massa (Toro Rosso)||1:31.779, +2.172 (M)||P. Maldonado (Williams)||+21.100|
|12||J. Vergne (Toro Rosso)||1:31.785, +2.178 (H)||V. Bottas (Williams)||+25.000|
|13||S. Perez (McLaren)||1:32.082, +2.475 (M)||J. Button (McLaren)||+25.900|
|14||N. Hulkenberg (Sauber)||1:32.211, +2.604 (H)||E. Gutierrez (Sauber)||+26.200|
|15||P. Maldonado (Williams)||1:32.359, +2.752 (M)||C. Pic (Caterham)||+31.600|
|16||V. Bottas (Williams)||1:32.664, +3.057 (M)||J. Bianchi (Marussia)||+36.600|
|17||E. Gutierrez (Sauber)||1:32.666, +3.059 (H)||M. Chilton (Marussia)||+1:07.600|
|18||C. Pic (Caterham)||1:33.866, +4.259 (H)||G. van der Garde||+1:07.700|
|19||J. Bianchi (Marussia)||1:34.108, +4.501 (M)||R. Grosjean (Lotus)||retired|
|20||M. Chilton (Marussia)||1:35.858, +6.251 (M)||S. Perez (McLaren)||retired|
|21||P. di Resta (Force India)||1:30.736, +1.129 (H)||S. Vettel (Red Bull)||retired|
|22||G. van der Garde (Caterham)||1:35.481, +5.874 (H)||J. Vergne (Toro Rosso)||retired|
Legend: H—hard compound; M—medium compound.
Notes: Listed qualifying laps 16-20 and 22 set in Q1; 10-15 in Q2; and 1-9 and 21 in Q3. P. di Resta and G. van der Garde qualified P5 and P21, respectively. Di Resta was excluded from qualifying after he and his car were found to be underweight after the session; at the Canadian GP, van der Garde was given a post-race five-place grid penalty for the British GP for causing a collision.
|1||S. Vettel||132||Red Bull||219|
|5||M. Webber||87||Force India||59|
|7||F. Massa||57||Toro Rosso||24|
|8||P. di Resta||36||Sauber||6|
|22||G. van der Garde||0|