• Jul 11, 2010
2010 British Grand Prix – Click above for high-res image gallery

A Formula One World Championship without a British Grand Prix would be almost unthinkable. After all, England claims the mantle of the series' birthplace, and its GP (along with Italy's) stands as the longest-running in motor racing.

Despite all the history, this year's British Grand Prix almost didn't happen at all. At least, that's what Bernie Ecclestone might have had us believe. Amidst declining conditions at Silverstone, which first hosted the race in 1948 and has held it exclusively since '87, the contract almost went back to Brands Hatch (the track that alternated with Silverstone from '63 to '86). When that deal fell apart, Silverstone and its owner, the British Racing Drivers Club, sprung into action and implemented the first in a series of comprehensive renovations aimed at bringing the age-old circuit up to spec.

The result was a contract for hosting the British GP for the next seventeen years and a new layout dubbed "the Arena". After all the renovations, the negotiations and rivalry, the circus rolled into town and raced on the new track this weekend. Follow the jump to read how it went.

Though the results from Saturday's qualifying sessions may have come as no surprise to avid race fans, the controversy behind them spoke volumes. Having apparently failed to bring enough of its new front wings to Silverstone, Red Bull made the decision to take Mark Webber's entire nosecone and give it to Sebastian Vettel after the young German damaged his during practice. Webber was left fuming, the public got a rare glimpse into the team's favoritism dynamics, and Vettel took pole. Webber managed to bring in his downgraded RB5 for second place, ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton took fourth and Mercedes GP's Nico Rosberg surprised with fifth ahead of Robert Kubica (Renault), Felipe Massa (Ferrari), Rubens Barrichello (Williams), Pedro de la Rosa (Sauber) and Michael Schumacher (Mercedes). Jenson Button struggled in qualifying to land 14th on the grid amongst the back-markers and midfielders.

Undeterred, Webber squeezed his teammate and rival out at the first corner to take the lead. Vettel was forced off-track, puncturing a tire in the process, which sent him into the pits. A similar saga played out between the Ferraris as Alonso lost position and made contact with Massa, who also burst a tire and was forced into the pits along with Vettel. Both the front-running young guns re-emerged at the back of the field to fight their way up to the front once again.

Subsequent laps saw few changes as Webber and Hamilton pulled away from their rivals. Kubica slipped past Rosberg for third, de la Rosa fell back several positions, and defending champion Button advanced to eighth position. With Hamilton unable to keep up with Webber, however, a long train of cars lined up behind Kubica.

The rest of the field began pitting after around a dozen laps. Button was among the last to do so, advancing up to fourth position and rejoining the race in sixth place after swapping tires. By the time Webber hit the pits, he had opened up such an insurmountable lead that he rejoined the contest unchallenged in first place.

2010 British GP

Farther adrift, Alonso was forced off the track while battling Kubica on lap 17. Having gained position on the Renault by effectively (though unavoidably) cutting the chicane, the Ferrari driver would later be handed a drive-through penalty. Before he could take it, though, Kubica was sidelined with unspecified mechanical problems. Force India's Sutil, meanwhile, tried to get past Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa, whose car then lost part of its wing. Pedro would join Kubica on the pit wall as the safety car went out under yellow. Alonso would have to wait to execute his imposed penalty until the safety car was brought back in on lap 30, finally rejoining the race in 16th place on lap 32.

Come lap 33, Webber remained in the lead, but his lead over Hamilton was cut down under the safety car. Rosberg remained in third ahead of Button, who was back up to fourth. Barrichello, Kobayashi (Sauber), Sutil, Schumacher, Hulkenberg (Williams) and Petrov (Renault) rounded out the Top 10 as frontrunners Vettel, Massa and Alonso (12th, 13th and 16th respectively) picked their way up the field.

In a rather comical and unexpected turn of events, Massa temporarily lost control of his car coming around the final corner on lap 40, damaging his tire before regaining control on the pit lane entrance. Making the best of a bad situation, he took a surprise pit stop, catching the crew off-guard. The long pit stop that ensued dashed any hopes of his finishing inside the points. That didn't stop him, however, from setting a hotly-contested fastest lap that would later be bested by Alonso.

Across the line after 52 smooth laps, Webber took the checkered flag ahead of Hamilton. And what did Webber have to say for himself just as the broadcast tuned in to the race-winner's radio? "Not bad for a #2 driver". The message rang loud and clear to the Red Bull pit wall, with principal Christian Horner eating his hat as he sent a subordinate to collect the team's trophy.

Nico Rosberg stunned all with a solid podium finish, outshining his legendary teammate, Michael Schumacher, who finished in 9th ahead of Williams' Nico Hulkenberg. In between, Button took fourth place, Barrichello an impressive fifth, Kobayashi a notable sixth, Vettel a frustrated seventh and Sutil a defiant eighth. Both Ferraris finished outside the points at the end of a disastrous day for Maranello.

The results further cement Lewis Hamilton's and McLaren's lead in the championship standings with 145 drivers' points and 278 constructors', bolstered by Button's 133 in second place. Webber and Vettel trail in third and fourth places with 128 and 121 points respectively, combining for 249 for Red Bull. The circus heads next to the Hockenheimring for the German Grand Prix on July 25.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh hey look Cider Bar next week. Autoblog meetup?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Philthy, stop word twisting. He's not going into renegotiations. He has already signed.

      And good work to Webber, this is a very fine outcome for him. He has been with this team for 4 years and stuck with it from the very start, he is the more experienced (and faster) driver and should be treated as such.

      Vettel is having a little cry post race saying he will look out for himself, vettel, thats all youve ever done, from crashing into your team mate almost taking both of you out to swerving over ferociously to try and block webber at the start of silverstone. I hope the fans give you some of your own medicine with the famous one finger salute.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Twisting words, Mitchttj?

        from the British GP press conference transcript:

        MW: Yesterday was a really unique situation. It was the first time that the team had really had one component. Honestly I would never have signed a contract again for next year if I believed that that was the way it was going to be going forward. That's why I was disappointed yesterday and was honest with you guys. Let's see how it goes in the future but I just keep doing what I do and hopefully it's enough.

        Q: (Edd Straw -- Autosport) Mark, you said there would be some discussions with the team; does that mean you will be demanding that should this situation arise again, you don't get cast in the position where you're the number two?

        MW: Yup.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Horner's hands were tied on this, the word came down from Red Bull HQ in Austria. I'm sure that Horner didn't want to swap the parts after the previous controversy.

        I think Vetel cried to the higher ups and the Austrians were just 'protecting' their investment.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well I think the driver's have every right to look after themselves. They are racing afterall. They should look after interests of the team, but at the end of the day, no one remembers a team player, they remember world champions. What happen in Turkery was just a racing incident in my eyes.

        The responsibility of keeping things fair and smooth is with the team managers. And Christian Horner they totally blew it this weekend. Even if it was the best thing to do tactically, he still shouldn't have given that front wing away. It just blew the door wide open for criticism. I bet he's regretting that now.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Vettel is just one immature punk. The guy is classless. I hope Webber at least has more points than him at the end of this season.
        • 4 Years Ago
        'Vettel is just one immature punk. The guy is classless.'

        Bang on the money - Also, if he continues to wave that fu**ing index finger in a way that only a German knows how...aghhhh, why does that bother me so?!

        I'm a Brit, but i'm rooting for Webber this season - the first corner at Silverstone had me in stitches! I'll be happy with LH & JB being runners up :)
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree. Webber was a class act throughout the whole weekend and made his point on the track. The young german on the other hand has a lot to learn. I wonder how the team will move on from here. At least its not as bad as the Alonso Hamilton days (although it provided a ton of entertainment).
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good, that's all I can say. I really wish F1 can one day gain the relevance and magic it once had.
        • 4 Years Ago
        well, same as with football, outside of the US it is very relevant
        • 4 Years Ago
        f1 is still great, your the type that never watches a full race, but complains about it because of the band wagon that everyone is on, saying that f1 is now just a boring old long race.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What I am trying to say is that F1 is not as great as it once was...
        • 4 Years Ago
        The World can't be blamed for Americans feeling satisfied with 3rd grade home racing...
        • 4 Years Ago
        F1 doesnt need constant overtaking like Nascar, ill tell you ive never jumped at the tv screen so hard as when webber to the lead and vettel went off. That excitement and action is unbeatable as far as im concerned.

        Im tired of hearing about how boring f1 is, i think its GREAT to watch. The core object of motorsport isnt to have everyone partaking in constant dogfights, thats like the Micheal Bay version of motorsport, MORE ALL THE TIME = BETTER.

        What i love about formula 1 is there can be sometimes 20 laps at the front were no one does anything. You get to enjoy the suspense of qualifying, knowing that the winner will likely win the race. And than you get to enjoy events that take place during the race.

        Sure, its boring when in the Ferrari days of yore one team dominates, but this year the competition between the four top drivers is intense.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yet another race which I'll have to download the BBC feed of. Thanks, Fox, for cutting out the post-race celebration and interviews.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It was Donington, not Brands Hatch that it went to. Donington actually had the contract, but hit financial difficulties and couldn't organise themselves in time, while Silverstone could and so got a new contract on the race.

      Was a good race, the Ferraris are not amused, Webber showed what he's capable of, and McLaren are leading the championship... And Rosberg again showed how much better he is than Schumacher currently.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You could tell in the post qualifying press conference that Mark was pretty ticked about what went on with the wing incident. Then Vettel tries to chop him at the start so he pushes back coming out of Copps and Vettel ends up puncturing a tire by going off road. Kind of serves him right really. I would really like to root for Vettel but success has ruined him.

      It's pretty clear now that the Red Bull higher ups are favoring Vettel. Christian Horner said he had no control over who got what. That could be true.

      I did like Mark's comment after the team told him where Vettel finished, "Not bad for a number two driver".
      • 4 Years Ago
      Button didn't get a lot of coverage but he made up for the embarrassment of the qualification.

      For Schumacher, I'll give him until next season to make ground with a car he's had more input. (Despite the MB he's driving.)
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree with Webber, Red Bull should have kept the new aero kit on his car. It didn't make much of a difference anyway and more than anything else it gave insight as to how much the team favors Vettel. That, combined with Vettel acting very immature as of late have me rooting for Mark more than ever.

      Ferrari are stuck in a rut. Not entirely the drivers fault, not entirely the teams fault either.

      Once McLaren tweak their blown diffuser I see no reason they why they couldn't be as quick as Red Bull. They are catching up fast.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes. I agree.

        Hamilton did not have Webbers pace though out front. But tbh lapping with no traffic is webbers prime and he does it better than any test driver in the world.

        When webber really had to he could pull over a second per lap on Hamilton, he was just driving carefully breaking lap records ever lap. But silverstone was redbulls glory track, did you see on turn 4 how they could take it literally at about 40kmh faster than any other car. This was very evident with vettel chasing.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I feel exactly the same way. It's like Vettel is a spoiled child who complains because he didn't get what he asked for on Christmas. I'm hoping Webber leaves for a better team, he deserves better than this.
      • 4 Years Ago
      A fitting result for Webber... especially after the shameless favoritism shown by RBR. I'm especially grateful he saved us from enduring another round of one-fingered salutes. Despite being a McLaren fan, I was rooting for him all the way. I've lost pretty much all respect for Red Bull's top brass, & for Vettel as well. Great drive from my McLaren team though: Lewis had an amazing start from the dirty side of the grid (him & Webber both) & kept pace with Mark as best he could. Button had an excellent first lap, & drove cleanly & consistently to 4th place. No complaints... it was really the best result we could've hoped for realistically. Not really sure I agreed with the drive through penalty for Alonso though... seemed a little harsh to me, but he did gain the place illegally if you look at it in black & white... but Kubica left him nowhere else to go IMO. Since I'm being honest, Vettel had a good drive also after lucking out a bit with the safety car. Still don't like him though.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Big snoozer. Fully the first 2/3rds of the race amounted to nothing (after the early pit stopd due to first lap collisions).
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