ALONSO RUNS OUT OF STEAM WHILST MARK WEBBER SOARS TO VICTORY IN A DRY SILVERSTONE GRAND PRIX

10 Jul

Michael Aspin At Silverstone

2012 FORMULA ONE SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX

Upon arrival at the Circuit again today, I was astonished at the length of our queue- just fifteen minutes long compared to the hour we spent on the A43 yesterday, but the weather was even more surprising- who would have thought something called the Sun existed at Silverstone? It was a relief to be dry, but the Woodcote A stand was draughty, and we were still very cold, the racing nevertheless was incredible.

The GP race saw interesting overtaking and a real battle for first place, and the British National Anthem at the start filled me with cautious optimism- maybe our F1 drivers could do it, and replicate the victory of Jim Clarke and other Silverstone greats, or so I thought (incorrectly). Porsche Mobil 1 followed and then a superb demonstration by the Red Arrows preceded the main Grand Prix race, and our stand allowed us to see from Aintree down the DRS Straight, Brooklands, Luffield and that amazing zip wire camera, and the flat out Woodcote corner leading up to the old pit straight, and this was where we saw Fernando Alonso have an amazing start, racing his heart out, and we thought he would be Silverstone’s equivalent of Vettel; Woodcote A was perfect also to see Sergio Perez make contact with Pastor Maldonado and crash out into Luffield- the JCB did a brilliant job too.

McLaren. Synonymous with failure here at Silverstone this weekend, and this trend continued, though credit should be due for Button, gaining six places from sixteenth to tenth, and his one point was well deserved. At one moment, the crowd roared with cheer as Lewis Hamilton overtook leader Alonso at the DRS zone, but it turned to groans as Alonso simply overtook moments later, and pit stopping inevitably led to Hamilton finishing where he started- a meagre eighth place with four points.

Alonso led for most of the race hereafter, but with just four laps to go, Mark Webber had been creeping up to him and an almighty roar from the Grandstands clearly meant that he had succeeded in overtaking Alonso, and eventually took the chequered flag- a full twenty five points was awarded to a deserving victor; Alonso finished in a respectable second, and Ferrari as a whole did well- Felipe Massa finished a spectacular fourth place and they both earned valuable points for their team.

In Lotus, Kimi Raikkönen was very consistent, and finished fifth with ten points, and Romain Grosjean raced with almighty passion to come from the back after suffering damage in the opening lap following a collision with Paul Di Resta to finish sixth with eight points.

Paul Di Resta suffered a punctured tyre and damaged suspension very early on in the race, and he was most certainly out for the count. The final points of today’s amazing Grand Prix were awarded to Sebastian Vettel, who finished third with a very consistent performance (fifteen points), Michael Schumacher cruised past Lewis Hamilton into seventh (six points) and Bruno Senna finished ninth with two points. Kamui Kobayashi may have finished in the points if it weren’t for an horrendous pit stop in which he couldn’t bring the car to a halt and rammed into the poor mechanics- one has been admitted into hospital. Vitaly Petrov from Catherham did not start, and only Perez and Di Resta were the other retirements.

Following the Podium ceremony- the fun had only just begun- fans were given the opportunity to walk the circuit and we managed Copse, Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel until we were at the furthest point on the circuit, and it decided…. TO RAIN. We were soaked, but persevered, taking in the magnificent size of the enormous circuit; the Hangar Straight, Stowe, Vale and we were nearly at the Pit Lane, when we realised that it was still open and working- we were allowed to walk up and close to the garage that held the cars in Parc Fermé, and saw many teams putting their equipment away into huge lorries, which was also a chance to take exclusive pictures, and admire the astonishing Pit Lane Building- I re- iterate that we were soaked, but it was well and truly worth it- we should have seen the new addition to the track, including the Village and Loop, but time was against us and we had to leave- the Marshals closed the circuit to spectators.

To sum up an amazing weekend, the weather wasn’t great, but we had the chance to get excitingly close to the cars and the roaring engines; the atmosphere was amazing and I would certainly recommend a trip to Silverstone to anyone, irrespective of whether they like motor racing or not. If you intend to make this trip- bring three things- patience for weather and long queues, warm clothes, and enough money- expensive merchandise and refreshments!!! well worth it for a truly remarkable experience and an amazing atmosphere.

I will have another update in two weeks, when F1 leaves our sodden home soil and goes to the Hockenheimring in Germany.

OFFICIAL STANDINGS UPDATE

An eventful Silverstone Grand Prix has shaken up the standings in both the Drivers and Constructors championships. Concerning Drivers, Fernando Alonso leads with 126 points, 13 points ahead of Webber, who has 113, only marginally ahead of the current World Champion Vettel, who has 106 points. Hamilton is still in contention- he has 92 points; Kimi Raikkönen has 83 points, remaining in fifth place, and he is ahead of Nico Rosberg (75) and Romain Grosjean (61); Jenson Button’s dream of another title is slipping further out of reach- he only has 50 points and drastic action will need to be taken.

The McLaren slump in recent Grands Prix has led to them tumbling from second to fourth in the Constructors standings; they have 142 points, which is behind Lotus (144), Ferrari (152) and Red Bull have increased their lead- they now have 216 points- Mercedes are in fifth with 98 points; Caterham, Marussia and HRT are still to get off the mark.

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