The Crystal Ball’s feeling a bit smug after the last race in Valencia. It got it right that Webber and Vergne would go out in Q1, Kovaleinnen would get into Q2 and Raikkonen would win, er, well, it was nearly right! Clairvoyance isn’t an exact science – if it were, they wouldn’t need to put up posters advertising where to find them…
So, we’re off to Silverstone, the race track equivalent of a bride from My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding – all fake tan, extravagant new frilly bits, but underneath, still as rough as hell!
The usual mixture of showers, heavy rain and monsoons great the teams for the day. Fashion for the spectators is to be wearing mud up to just below the knee and defiant ice cream vans are strategically placed around the circuit to act as windbreaks.
One of Silverstone’s famous hares makes an appearance on the Hanger Straight just as Pedro de la Rosa comes onto it. Disaster is averted, however, as the floppy eared fellow is easily able to out-run the HRT and he quickly disappears from whence he came.
Vettel has one of his Friday offs when he misses his braking point going into the Luffield complex. Others to venture off are Ricciardo, Hulkenberg and Petrov who goes across the sodden grass and disappears into a spectacularly explosion of water and mud. When he steps from his car, he can’t see a thing through his visor, trips and falls face first into the mud!
By the end of the day, Alonso is quickest in the Lego Ferrari followed by Button and an impressive diResta.
Guess who’s going out in Q1. The Marussias? Of Course, HRTs? Absolutely. Vergne? Yep – standard under-performance But who’s joining them? Petrov misses out on Q2, but his team-mate makes it through which leaves Bruno Senna (who hasn’t raced at Silverstone since 2008 – before the changes) to make the walk of shame.
Q2 turns out to be pretty uneventful as all the top guys go through – no, that doesn’t include you Massa, leaving Ricciardo, Kovalainen Perez, Kobayashi, diResta and Hulkenberg joing the hapless Brazilian back in the pits.
Just as Q3 gets underway, light rain starts to fall. Hamilton, having gone out as the lights went green bangs in a quick lap that, as the rain gets heavier can’t be beaten. Vettel, somehow manages to grab second. Red Bull were only planning on one run and had to react quickly to get him out as quickly as possible.
Grabbing third is Webber ahead of Raikkonen, Alonso, Button (out second but not able to make the most of the conditions… again), Maldonado, Schumacher, Rosberg and Grosjean.
A press release from organizers at the end of the day confirms 176 spectators were treated for trench foot.
The start is dry, but with rain forecast, strategy is going to be the key for success. The first few laps are the usual hectic mixture that we’ve got use tot his year. This time, it’s the turn of Kobayashi and Hulkenberg to lose the front wing lottery and they are forced to stop for replacements.
Still, that’s better than Petrov who ends up getting punted off by Glock into the gravel as they go into Luffield. Next time round the Russian is throwing gravel at the German driver!
Sure enough, the rain comes on lap 15 and it’s heavy. Button just makes the pit entry and is first out on inters, leaping him into third place. The rest all pile in together and there’s a problem for Ferrari as Massa, who by virtue of being further back, stalls and is only just leaving as Alonso comes in, delaying the Spaniard slightly.
The big drama comes on lap 34. Vettel, closely pursued by team-mate Webber goes to overtake back marker Charles Pic at Vale. As he does so, the Marussia driver chops across in front of him, forcing him to swerve, bouncing off of Webber’s car and spinning backwards off and out. The roar from the crowd is defening. There’s a stewards enquiry and sure enough, Pic has 20 seconds taken OFF of his race time!
The rain stays for the rest of the race and as the spectators gradually submerge into the mud, Hamilton keeps them happy – despite everyone holding their breath every time he pits, but this time they manage all the stops without any drama. In the end he crosses the line to win from Alonso who has had a relatively quiet race by not being able to challenge Lewis and being safe from Button who he was easily able to cover off.
Fourth was Raikkonen who after the race described it as ‘alright’, before walking off. Fifth was Schumacher ahead on newly married (and seemingly a little bit exhausted…) Grosjean and Rosberg. Amazingly Senna nets eight having for once stayed out of trouble and driven quickly. diResta and Webber, having been slightly delayed by a sticking wheel nut on his pit stop after his bump with Vettel lands the last points-paying place.
Massa comes in eleventh and in the post-race press interviews explains how he’s getting quicker and better. The TV crews just walk off as he’s talking…
The Crystal Ball and all at F1 Rogues wish to send their best wishes to Maria de Villota, her family and friends and wish her a speedy and successful recovery.