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Vettel Victorious in Silverstone

June 21, 2009

Sebastian Vettel converted the perfect pole into the perfect win in a Red Bull dominated British Grand Prix at Silverstone this afternoon.

The young German driver produced fastest lap after fastest lap in the first stint to pull out a substantial gap to second place runner Rubens Barrichello, and eventually led home teammate Mark Webber for a Red Bull one-two, proving the high speed circuit works in favour of the RB5.

However, the British fans who descended on the Silverstone circuit to see Jenson Button make it seven out of eight wins, were left disappointed after a quiet race from the Frome-born driver. After starting from sixth on the grid, he lost three positions in the first few corners from Copse through to Becketts, but after chasing down fourth and fifth place finishers Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg in the final stint, he managed to finish sixth.

Button, who complained of understeer throughout the race, said: “When I was on the soft tyres I had good pace. The pace in the last stint was phenomenal.” He added: “I could reel in Massa and Rosberg at the end of the race as if they were stood still”. However, Button had difficulty in passing Nico’s Williams and had to settle for sixth, proving that the new regulations put in place to increase the chances of overtaking are just not working.

Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton finished out of the points yet again, down in 16th. Despite giving fans something to cheer about by overtaking Fernando Alonso down the start/finish straight and through Copse on lap 30, he proved over the course of the race what a difference a year actually makes. It wasn’t long before Lewis was re-passed by his former teammate, and he later took a trip off the track after clipping the grass verge on lap 44. However, the Briton seemed in high spirits by the end of the race producing doughnuts for his home crowd. He said of his race: “I enjoyed it”, adding: “The fans gave me so much energy this year.”

20-year-old Roshni Mapara, from Leicester, watched the race from Hangar Straight, where Hamilton put on a show for the fans. She said: “The doughnut was amazing,” adding, “We had no idea what he was doing, he just randomly drove off the track.” As a Lewis fan, she said: “I was a bit disappointed with Hamilton, but the race was amazing.”

However disappointing it was for the fans, who turned out in their thousands hoping to see Jenson and Lewis produce good results, they still cheered Vettel to victory as he came through Luffield and Woodcote for the final time. For any driver, winning in Silverstone is something of a dream, given the track’s history, and for Vettel, victory certainly seemed sweet, proving Button needs to keep an eye in his mirrors for the second half of the season.

For some of the other drivers, the weekend was something to be forgotten. Heikki Kovalainen, who qualified in 13th in the McLaren, spent most of his race at the back of the field in 19th, and shortly after his first and only pit stop, the Finn was caught in a tussle with Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Bourdais, which resulted in the eventual retirement of both drivers.

The biggest gain came from Felipe Massa, who, having started from 11th, ran longer in both the first and second stints, and got his Ferrari up to fourth behind the Brawn of Barrichello. But despite putting on a charge off the grid in one of only two KERS equipped cars, Massa’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen had a quiet race and finished just inside the points in eighth.

For Red Bull, they leave Silverstone with their second win, and second one-two of the season. Team principle Christian Horner said after the race: “Seamless race by both of the drivers. They completely dominated it.”

Button leads the driver’s championship with 23 points over teammate Barrichello, and 25 over Vettel. Brawn continue to lead the constructor’s championship with 105 points over Red Bull’s 74.5.

With 100,000 fans turning out for the final British Grand Prix at Silverstone, the race is set to move to Donington Park next year. Rumours have been rife since last year’s British Grand Prix, where the switch was announced, that the future of the British Grand Prix would be in the balance if the owners of Donington could not come up with the goods before 2010, however, Bernie Ecclestone confirmed this weekend that there will be a British Grand Prix next year, if not in its new home of Donington Park, in Silverstone once again. So, has Sebastian Vettel gone down in history as the last ever winner of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone? Time will tell…

 

There will be a three week break until the next race in Germany. Qualifying is on Saturday 11th July, with race coverage on Sunday 12th on BBC One.

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One comment

  1. Exellent race report. I’m off to add you to my blog roll!

    Let’s hope it’s not the last Silverstone…



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