1 July 2013
British Grand Prix Poll: Who sparkled at Silverstone?
Nico Rosberg may have won, but was his really the best performance of a controversial British Grand Prix?
Exploding tyres may have stolen the headlines at Silverstone, but that cannot mask the fact that there were some stunning drives in the British Grand Prix.
In some cases, the tyre issue either provoked or reinforced those performances, while others merely showed their fighting qualities or the ability to punch above their weight.
Nico Rosberg may be seen as a somewhat fortunate winner, having never really challenged for the lead, but the German still deserves credit for keeping his Mercedes in the right place to inherit what came his way. Denied by his team-mate in qualifying, Rosberg slipped back to third in the early going, but benefited from the misfortune that befell those ahead of him to pick up his second win of the 2013 season.
Both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel can harbour genuine feelings of being robbed, as both led comfortably before misfortune struck. The Briton, having blitzed the field on Saturday afternoon was holding a DRS-negating advantage over the triple world champion behind him, only to be denied by the first of race's high-profile tyre failures. Despite dropping to the tail of the field as he negotiated the remaining half lap back to the pits, Hamilton tigered his way up to fourth by the chequered flag, only narrowly failing in his bid to make the podium.
Vettel, likewise, appeared untroubled after he assumed the lead. The Red Bull driver was holding a constant gap back to Rosberg as his team played strategy perfectly to ensure he retained the lead at each of his pit-stops, but was felled by transmission failure with just a handful of laps remaining.
Vettel's exit was good news for the championship battle, which threatened to fizzle out with another win for the German. His closest rivals, however, had to battle to take as much advantage as they could from his demise, with Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen both running towards the tail of the top ten for much of the afternoon.
Both came alive in the final stages, with Alonso breaching the top three despite his final pit-stop coming before the Vettel-inspired safety car and dropping him back to eighth with six laps to run. Raikkonen, meanwhile, was left to lament Lotus' decision not to pit for a third time, and slipped out of the top three as a result.
While Alonso and Hamilton both passed the Finn to claim third and fourth places, they could not keep pace with Mark Webber, whose own charge in the final six laps came within a second of netting an emotional farewell win at Silverstone. The Australian, who announced his intention to retire at seasons' end prior to the race, probably needed a couple more laps to deal with Rosberg, but was understandably delighted to have made the podium after a poor start and subsequent brush with Romain Grosjean left him back in 15th on lap one.
Behind the top five, another tyre victim, Felipe Massa, battled his way back to sixth spot. The Brazilian had made a blinding start to vault into the top six from eleventh on the grid, but had his run interrupted by a failure one lap after Hamilton.
Paul di Resta
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