Nico Rosberg at the 2013 British Grand Prix

Martin’s Grand Prix Review: Britain 2013

A chap I know called Martin provides a review of each Grand Prix that succinctly describes the activity that has gone on over the weekend.  Here is Martin’s Silverstone review…

As one tyre row end, another one starts

Rosberg proves Mercedes can compete on wider circuits

 

The F1 world, and Pirelli, breathed a sigh of relief midweek as Testgate drew to a close with a reprimand all round. But at the race here in Britain, Race Director Charlie Whiting admitted he was close to red-flagging the race after a number of high-speed tyre failures.

Qualifying was notable mainly for the exclusion of DiResta, judged 1.5kg under the permitted car-plus-driver weight. He would start 21st, ahead only of VanDerGarde who was carrying his grid penalty over from Canada. At the top end of the grid, a Mercedes shutout left Hamilton on pole with the Red Bulls on row two. Come the lights, Vettel slipped past Rosberg but Webber went backward, dropping from 4th to 11th and getting nose damage as Grosjean clipped him at the first corner. We didn’t have long to wait until the first incident. Hamilton, leading by a second or two, suffered a high speed tyre explosion on lap 8. Chunks of rubber and metal were flung into the air, but he kept control and limped back to the pits and emerged in last place. Two laps later, Massa suffered a similar tyre blowout, and then on lap 15 the rear tyre on Vergne’s Toro Rosso exploded just as he was being harried by both Lotus cars. The camera on Kimi’s car showed the hail of rubber that he had to drive through. Out came the Safety Car and the marshals descended en masse onto the tarmac to collect the debris. This closed up the race order, but Vettel handled the restart masterfully and off we went again. Teams were obviously nervous about the tyre issues, advising their drivers to avoid the kerbs, but it wasn’t tyres that did for Vettel. On lap 42 his gearbox gave up and he trundled to a stop near the finish line. Out came the Safety Car again for a few more laps, and some, including leader Rosberg (but not Raikkonen), dived into the pits for fresh tyres for what would be a 6-lap sprint to the flag. Those who did so provided the excitement to the finish as Webber, Alonso and Hamilton charged around anyone they could get close to. Webber homed in on Rosberg but there weren’t enough laps to get past into first, while Kimi lost out to Alonso and Hamilton by the time we got to the flag. Rosberg’s win ahead of Webber and Alonso thus closes up the title. Perez provided one final spectacular tyre-explosion, but with other drivers noting that their tyres were also close to doing the same, the post-race focus was on what Lewis Hamilton called “unacceptable” in terms of safety. I suspect a copious amount of midnight oil will be burnt in the Pirelli offices by the time we get to race in Germany next weekend.

 

So off we go to Germany next weekend. Home GP for both Rosberg and Vettel (and Sutil and Hulkenburg) – should be a good one!