Even as he currently dominates the headlines after officially announcing his move to Porsche endurance racing in 2014, Mark Webber won the 2012 British Grand Prix for Red Bull. He led Fernando Alonso across the line at Silverstone after they fought over the win late in the race. Alonso had led through the pit stops and had a three second gap over Webber with ten laps remaining. Alonso’s tyres seemed to have given up early, with Webber able to catch Alonso quickly. The Australian was right behind the former world champion with five laps to make a pass. Webber took the lead through the DRS zone and held it to the win, despite Alonso’s fighting back immediately after the pass.
Sebastian Vettel finished third for Red Bull. Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top five, while both McLaren drivers finished in the points (Lewis Hamilton eighth and Jenson Button tenth). After a dreary and rainy weekend, the race ran entirely in the dry, and mostly under a shining sun. There were few incidents and most of the drama came from tyre management and pit stops.
Alonso and Hamilton had scrapped as McLaren looked to cover a top ten for Hamilton, while Alonso was pushing through for the win. Hamilton was unhappy throughout his home race, complaining about tyre strategy and worrying about drivers on different strategies. He finished eighth.
Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez came together while fighting, with the Mexican rather disgruntled with the Venezuelan’s driving abilities. Kamui Kobayashi also had an incident, but his was in missing his pit box and running into some of his crew members. There were no major injuries.
Alonso (1:51.746) won pole during the rain-soaked and -paused qualifying session on Saturday, holding off Webber in the seconds after the Q3 checkered flag fell. Rain had been the major force to be reckoned with all weekend, slowing the running on Friday and causing a red flag with just six minutes remaining in Q2 on Saturday.
Only the Saturday morning practice saw dry running before the race for the weekend, while traffic jammed on the circuit and off, and track organizers went so far as to request fans stay away Saturday. There had been too much mud Friday, and fans were getting mired in the parking areas. Grosjean (1:56.552) topped the morning session on Friday, leading Ricciardo, Hamilton, Perez, and Massa.
That afternoon, Hamilton (1:56.345) took charge over Kobayashi, Schumacher, Rosberg, and Perez. The afternoon session saw most drivers off the track at one point or another in the heavy rain, as limited tyres also kept them tucked away dry in the garage. Saturday morning may have been dry, but a red flag caused that session’s lack of running, as Pic suffered electrical issues in his Sauber. Alonso (1:32.167) led at the end of the hour over Button, Grosjean, Vettel, and Raikkonen.
Saturday remained the Spaniard’s day, as he won pole even after narrowly missing a knockout in Q2 after no time set before the red flag for dangerous conditions. Schumacher and Vettel completed row two on the starting grid for the race, as Massa and Raikkonen rounded out row three. Hamilton managed only to qualify eighth fastest, starting just next to Maldonado, while teammate and fellow Briton Button got caught out by conditions and yellow flags and managed only to qualify eighteenth.
Final Positions, 2012 British Grand Prix:
Driver Team Gap Stop 1. Mark Webber Red Bull 2 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 3.0 2 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 4.8 2 4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 9.5 2 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 10.3 2 6. Romain Grosjean Lotus 17.1 2 7. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 29.1 2 8. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 36.4 2 9. Bruno Senna Williams 43.3 2 10. Jenson Button McLaren 44.4 2 11. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 45.3 2 12. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 47.8 2 13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 51.2 2 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 53.3 2 15. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 57.3 2 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1 Lap 2 17. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1 Lap 2 18. Timo Glock Marussia 1 Lap 2 19. Charles Pic Marussia 1 Lap 2 20. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 2 Laps 1 21. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 2 Laps 2 Sergio Perez Sauber 41 Laps 1 Paul Di Resta Force India 50 Laps 2 Vitaly Petrov Caterham did not start