The 2013 British GP was full of drama and some drivers were lucky, and some others very unlucky.. Read how did it all happen!
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton scored pole position on Saturday for his home race with his team mate Nico Rosberg qualifying in second place. The championship leader Sebastian Vettel gained the third position on the grid and his team mate Mark Webber was 4th. Force India’s Paul di Resta was 5th in qualifying, but was disqualified from the qualifying later by the FIA as his car was 1.5 kilos underweight. That meant the British driver had to start the race from the back of the grid.
Hamilton had a good start from pole position and was leading the race. His team mate Rosberg lost a position for Vettel, meanwhile Webber was struggling on the start and lost many positions and also collided with Lotus’ Romain Grosjean. Both were able to continue the race, but Webber dropped down to 14th.. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa started 12th after a difficult qualifying, but he was able to recover from it very well as he was already in 5th place after the first lap.
Hamilton was pulling away from his rivals and it looked all good for him so far, until a disaster happened: his left rear tyre exploded and he lost so many positions while trying to survive to the pits for a tyre change. Not what he wanted from his home race! This meant Vettel took the race lead. Yellow flags came out as there was quite a lot of debris from Hamilton’s tyre explosion.
It didn’t take many laps until another driver faced the same issue as Hamilton: Felipe Massa’s left rear tyre exploded too and caused the Brazilian into a spin. After a great start to the race, Massa faced the same bad luck as Hamilton. There was a big question in the air: Are these tyres safe? Can the same thing happening to two drivers be just a coincidence? There were some tyre failures earlier during the weekend too and it wasn’t looking good at all.
Drivers came for their first planned pit stops and it was a perfect timing for Vettel as later the team had noticed there were some dangerous wear on his left rear tyre, meaning Vettel could have faced Hamilton’s and Massa’s destiny. It was a good timing for another reason too: Jean Eric Vergne was the next victim of Pirelli’s exploding rear left tyres, and the safety car was called out thanks to the amount of debris. Many people were suggesting the race to be stopped with a red flag as there really was a big safety risk regarding to the tyres. You could have been thinking the drama around Pirelli was over as the tyre test saga with Mercedes was sorted at least somehow, but there was much more to come. During the Safety Car period, many drivers were told to be careful with the kerbs just in case as they could have been one reason for all the tyre failures.
Safety Car came in and the race continued with Vettel leading, Rosberg second, Sutil third, Alonso fourth and Räikkönen fifth. Webber was doing a great recovery after a horrible start and was already up to P8. Massa and Hamilton, the victims of exploding tyres, were both running in the last positions but made their way up on the grid very well. Drivers didn’t seem to listen much to their radios as they seemed to continue driving over the kerbs like they normally did. Räikkönen was coming for a second pit stop quite soon which seemed to be quite early. They put the prime tyre on and it seemed the aim was to drive to the chequered flag with these tyres. Even though it seemed to be early for a second stop, Alonso did the same and came for a tyre change. Rosberg and Vettel made their stops couple laps after for primes, too. Something strange happened to Esteban Gutierrez: it wasn’t shown well on the tv pictures but either he had a puncture or he drove over some front wing debris which was shown to be on the track. The Mexican had to come to the pits for tyre change and front wing change.
After the pit stops, Rosberg was keeping well with Vettel’s pace. Later, all suddenly, the Red Bull started running really slow. This time the reason wasn’t tyres, but something else. It seemed like Vettel’s gearbox was broken and it was race over for Vettel who had to park his car. Safety Car was out again as Vettel’s car was pulled away safely. Many drivers were called to the pits for fresher rubber for the remaining of laps including Rosberg who was now leading after the incredible bad luck for both of the earlier race leaders.
Safety Car came in and Rosberg was leading from Räikkönen who was asking on the radio why didn’t they pit during the Safety Car. The Finn knew most of the drivers he was going to race with had some new rubber compared to his quite long lasted primes. After the Safety Car, Webber and Alonso were looking dangerous and made their way up on the field. Webber moved to 4th after passing Ricciardo while Alonso got 7th as he passed Button. At the same time, the other McLaren had a problem: Sergio Perez became another victim of exploded tyre and he had to retire from the race. Not a good end for the day!
Räikkönen was still quite close to the leader Rosberg, but Webber and Alonso were coming fast - Webber got past Sutil and was already up to 3rd. Alonso was up to 6th as Perez had to retire and he also got past Ricciardo for 5th. Lewis Hamilton was right on the chase too and had made himself up past Ricciardo, too. It wasn’t looking good for Räikkönen as drivers from behind had much better pace compared to him with fresher tyres. Webber soon passed the Finn and was 2nd after all the difficulties at the start! Poor Räikkönen lost in strategy and was passed by Alonso and Hamilton too and dropped to 5th place all sudden. A costly mistake from the team. Who knows how strong Räikkönen could have been with fresher tyres?
Rosberg won the race while Webber got a strong second place after difficulties. Alonso was 3rd, and Hamilton, the first driver to have a tyre explosion in the race, had a very good finish in the end as he was 4th. Räikkönen was 5th and Massa recovered well to 6th. Sutil was 7th, Ricciardo 8th, Di Resta 9th and Hülkenberg 10th.
If there is a topic to talk about after this race, it’s definitely tyres. What will Pirelli do? We will see in the next few days. The next race is only one week away, which means there isn’t much time to make changes for the tyres. Let’s hope the driver safety is guaranteed.
by Sini Salminen