Alonso shows perfect timing for Ferrari after Red Bull get delayed

Spaniard's win marks 60th anniversary of first Scuderia triumph as pit stops cost Vettel

Fernando Alonso put Ferrari back in the winners' circle for the first time since South Korea last year, after the Spaniard took maximum advantage of a problem which delayed early leader Sebastian Vettel during their second pit stops on the 27th lap of the British Grand Prix yesterday.

But while the famed Scuderia celebrated a much-needed triumph that coincided perfectly with their first ever – won here 60 years ago with the historic car that Alonso had demonstrated earlier in the day – controversy engulfed Red Bull afterwards and led to speculation that Mark Webber will not stay with the team next year as it emerged that he had been instructed not to challenge Vettel for second place after closing rapidly on him in the final laps.

The race had begun in difficult conditions after a heavy shower at lunchtime had left the track wet from the Wellington Straight all the way through to Chapel corner and obliged everyone to start on Pirelli's intermediate rain tyres.

Vettel led easily and roared away from Webber and Alonso, and Lewis Hamilton pushed his way quickly into the top five after starting in only 10th place. After the rash of pit stops to change to Pirelli's soft slick tyres was initiated by Michael Schumacher on lap nine, Vettel resumed in the lead but with his advantage slashed from 8.5 seconds to 3.3sec until he gradually eased away from Webber again.

Alonso, meanwhile, was struggling just as Hamilton was flying. The Englishman raised cheers from the record 122,000 crowd as he flew by the Ferrari going into the super-fast Copse corner on the 15th lap, and for a while it seemed that McLaren, so troubled during qualifying, might have a chance of victory.

A better stop for Alonso on the 27th lap, however, put the Ferrari ahead of the McLaren again. And following Vettel's delay that lap, the Spaniard moved into a lead he never thereafter surrendered.

Vettel fell to third behind Hamilton because of his problem, but the Red Bull driver pushed ahead after their final stops. Vettel got very close to Hamilton on lap 35 exiting Woodcote but could not make it stick and had to back off rapidly. "I got too much momentum at the wrong stage of the kink and couldn't make use of it subsequently," he admitted. "It was tough, but fun."

After that he opted instead to stop for fresh tyres again on lap 36. Hamilton did likewise on lap 37, but crucially the German moved ahead in the stops. Soon after Hamilton had to start a Mobil Economy Run when he was instructed to back off in order to conserve fuel. He was powerless to do anything about Webber, who overtook on the 46th lap, and that set up a gripping fight with Ferrari's Felipe Massa.

Down into Vale corner on the last lap, Massa pushed ahead but Hamilton refused to give up and pushed down the inside of the left-hander. They made brief contact which damaged the McLaren's front wing, but as Hamilton dived back for the inside line exiting the first part of Club corner, Massa stayed to the outside but ran wide and then into the run-off area. They crossed the line officially split by 0.024sec, with Hamilton dramatically maintaining fourth. The spectators loved that.

What at one stage looked a hugely promising race for McLaren, after their disasters in qualifying, turned into a major disappointment. Compounding Hamilton's fuel consumption problems, Jenson Button had to retire on the 39th lap for the reason dreaded by every pit crew.

McLaren's are no exception to all the others who are drilled to perfection, but incidents happen in the heat of the moment. Button was in the fight for a top-four placing and was actually running second during the round of final tyre stops. But his car was accidentally released from its pit before the right front wheel nut had been secured, and as the Englishman felt the wheel wobbling precariously on its hub he had no option but to pull over immediately, the game over.

Alonso said that it was a huge boost for his prancing horse to lead home the raging bulls. "We were confident of being quick here at Silverstone. No doubts it was a race that had one red cross because it was not an easy Grand Prix for us; the characteristics of the corners, and the layout were never our strongest points.

"We knew that Silverstone, like Barcelona, was difficult for us, so winning here is a good motivation for everyone and gives us confidence approaching the next few races."

"When Hamilton overtook me he was very, very quick in that part of the race. We were fourth and stayed calm and I overtook him again thanks to the DRS and the KERS and all these things we have these days. This is a special win, a special event for every driver in F1 with the history of motorsport here in England, and the privilege to drive Froilan Gonzales's car, the first Ferrari to win in F1, this morning.

"Sixty years ago here Ferrari won their first victory at this same circuit. Today means a lot to all the guys here and the people working at Ferrari who are the sons and daughters of the guys who were here 60 years ago. It's the same factory, the same mentality, still the same passion..."

The delighted Spaniard was more cautious, however, about the slim chance of catching Sebastian Vettel who is 92 points ahead of him in the world championship contest."We will try to enjoy the moment, the win, and to keep working hard. We will have the same approach as we had in Malaysia and we had in Canada and here as well. It is to try to go for the victory every weekend, to try to go for the race. There are not championship thoughts at the moment because the gap is massive to Seb. We need to enjoy every weekend, and there is no time to think about anything else."

Silverstone result and standings

FIA Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone, result

(52 Laps):

1 F Alonso (Sp) Ferrari 1hr 28mins 41.196secs,

2 S Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 1:28:57.707,

3 M Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:28:58.143,

4 L Hamilton (Gb) McLaren 1:29:10.182,

5 F Massa (Br) Ferrari 1:29:10.206,

6 N Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:29:41.861,

7 S Perez (Mex) Sauber-Ferrari 1:29:46.786,

8 N Heidfeld (Ger) Renault 1:29:56.738,

9 M Schumacher (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:29:59.108,

10 J Alguersuari (Sp) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:30:00.304,

11 A Sutil (Ger) Force India 1:30:00.908, 12 V Petrov (Rus) Renault 1:30:01.877, 13 R Barrichello (Br) Williams at 1 Lap, 14 P Maldonado (Ven) Williams at 1 Lap, 15 P di Resta (Gb) Force India at 1 Lap, 16 T Glock (Ger) Virgin Racing at 2 Laps, 17 J d'Ambrosio (Bel) Virgin Racing at 2 Laps, 18 V Liuzzi (It) HRT-F1 at 2 Laps, 19 Dl Ricciardo (Aus) HRT-F1 at 3 Laps. Not Classified: 20 J Button (Gb) McLaren 39 Laps completed, 21 S Buemi (Swit) Scuderia Toro Rosso 25 Laps completed, 22 K Kobayashi (Jpn) Sauber-Ferrari 23 Laps completed, 23 J Trulli (It) Lotus F1 10 Laps completed, 24 H Kovalainen (Fin) Lotus F1 2 Laps completed.

Championship Standings: 1 S Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 204pts, 2 M Webber (Aus) Red Bull 124, 3 F Alonso (Sp) Ferrari 112, 4 L Hamilton (Gb) McLaren 109, 5 J Button (Gb) McLaren 109, 6 F Massa (Br) Ferrari 52, 7 N Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 40, 8 N Heidfeld (Ger) Renault 34, 9 V Petrov (Rus) Renault 31, 10 M Schumacher (Ger) Mercedes GP 28, 11 K Kobayashi (Jpn) Sauber-Ferrari 25, 12 A Sutil (Ger) Force India 10, 13 J Alguersuari (Sp) Scuderia Toro Rosso 9, 14 S Perez (Mex) Sauber-Ferrari 8, 15 S Buemi (Swit) Scuderia Toro Rosso 8, 16 R Barrichello (Br) Williams 4, 17 P di Resta (Gb) Force India 2, 18 P de la Rosa (Sp) Sauber-Ferrari 0, 19 J Trulli (It) Lotus F1 0, 20 V Liuzzi (It) HRT-F1 0, 21 J d'Ambrosio (Bel) Virgin Racing 0, 22 H Kovalainen (Fin) Lotus F1 0, 23 P Maldonado (Ven) Williams 0, 24 T Glock (Ger) Virgin Racing 0, 25 N Karthikeyan (Ind) HRT-F1 0, 26 D Ricciardo (Aus) HRT-F1 0.

Manufacturers: 1 Red Bull 328pts, 2 McLaren 218, 3 Ferrari 164, 4 Mercedes GP 68, 5 Renault 65, 6 Sauber-Ferrari 33, 7 Scuderia Toro Rosso 17, 8 Force India 12, 9 Williams 4, 10 Lotus F1 0, 11 HRT-F1 0, 12 Virgin Racing 0.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?