Big Blowout! British GP Down to the Tires

2012_f1_tyres_pirelli2I have mixed feelings watching a race like today’s British Grand Prix. Yes, it turned into a last-few-laps nailbiter. Yes, we saw some great overtaking and wheel to wheel racing. But the tires were exploding. Big congratulations in order for Nico Rosberg. The man fastest in FP3 returns to win this years British Grand Prix from the second spot on the grid, amidst debris flying from all angles.

The biggest news being the the curse of the race leaders and tire delamination that plagued today’s racing. The front-running Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton (hadn’t looked this cheery in months by the way), was cut down early by a blowout on his left rear tire as he lead the pack on lap 8. The silence of the British faithful was eerie to say the least. Hamilton regained footing to finish just off the podium in 4th place. You can bet there’s no cheering in the Vettel camp today. The Red Bull ace lead the pack by a substantial margin today until gearbox failure forced him to retire at with 12 laps to go. A blitzing Felipe Massa seemed to get his pace back, until he suffered the same delamination blowout of his left rear tire, and went straight into the gravel pits. STR’s Jean-Eric Vergne and McLaren’s Sergio Perez both retired later in the race due to severe delamination and subsequent body damage, Perez blew out two tires.

Although circumstances were dire, what an amazing show of racing we saw following Vettel’s retirement. Aussie Brit Mark Webber, claimed 2nd spot on the podium with a massive drive today after a truly terrible start (4th to 15th). In the last few laps, Webber was catching Nico Rosberg at a rate of 0.2 seconds per lap, but not enough to overtake the German on the final straight. Webber adds another fastest lap to his tally (1:33.401). Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa contributed much needed speed today to a stale-performing Ferrari. Massa overcame his blowout to finish 6th, Alonso finished 3rd on the podium (9th in qualifying).

The young guys fought hard today, putting themselves just in the points. Force India continues to impress, as Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta take 7th and 9th places. Sutil had climbed as high as third after Vettel’s incident. di Resta pulled off another remarkable drive, working his way from last place on the grid all the way up to 9th – engaging in stellar battles with Lewis Hamilton. Daniel Ricciardo had a similarly close battle with Fernando Alonso, finishing in 8th.

Lotus will be pleased to get Kimi Raikkonen back into the points this weekend. Raikkonen started 8th behind teammate Romain Grosjean, and finished 5th. Grosjean still looked too dangerous for a Formula 1 car, coming in contact with Webber at the start and nearly hitting Alonso in the pits. Is this the last year for Kimi at Lotus? I’d put money on it.

Stay tuned for Pirelli tire backlash. Exactly one week to go until the cars fire back up on the grid in Germany.

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About zdoell

Graduate of Ithaca College, rowing coach, car fanatic.

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