Nico Rosberg of Mercedes won the British Grand Prix yesterday after race leader Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull dropped out of an event marred by tire blowouts.
Rosberg finished less than a second ahead of Red Bull’s Mark Webber, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso third after the 52 laps at Silverstone. It was the second win this season for Rosberg, who triumphed at Monaco, and the third of the 28-year-old German’s Formula One career.
Rosberg, who started second on the grid, paid tribute to his team, which is based near the racetrack.
“It’s a very special day and it’s even more special because our factory is so close,” he told the post-race presentation. “ We’re progressing all the time. We are really quick in qualifying and getting quicker all the time in the races.”
Rosberg was reprimanded by race officials after failing to slow for yellow flags during the race, although he was allowed to keep the victory.
The tire failures yesterday came amid track temperatures of 31 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit). The left-rear tires of Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne and McLaren’s Sergio Perez were blown out. Debris littered the track after the tire explosions and the safety car made its first appearance as pieces of rubber were cleared up.
Vettel’s car stopped with gearbox trouble 10 laps from the end as he led the race. The defending three-time champion still tops the Formula One drivers’ standings, with 132 points, although his main rivals narrowed the gap. Alonso has 111 points, followed by Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen (98), Hamilton (89), Webber (87) and Rosberg (82).
Hamilton was aiming for his second Silverstone victory in front of a home audience. He led from pole, then dropped to last place after his eighth-lap tire burst, before charging through the field to finish fourth.
Vettel got past Rosberg at the start to go second and took the lead after Hamilton’s mishap, keeping command until his mechanical problem, which caused the second entrance of the safety car.
Webber dropped down the field after a poor start before surging to second spot by the end. He was seeking a third Silverstone win in four years. Last week he announced he’s quitting Formula One at the end of this season to race for Porsche in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other endurance races.
Raikkonen was fifth yesterday, followed by Massa, Adrian Sutil of Force India and Daniel Ricciardo of Toro Rosso. Paul Di Resta of Force India and Nico Hulkenberg of Sauber rounded out the 10 scoring places.
“With Lewis, I feel sorry for all the British fans,” Rosberg said. “It would have been great for Lewis. It’s always a massive disappointment, but that’s racing. Sebastian stopped, I won’t lie, I wasn’t disappointed by that one. From then on, it was just a great race.”
The next race, the ninth in a 19-event season, is the German Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring on July 7.