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GP Week : Issue 124
Team-By-Team: British Grand Prix, Silverstone McLaren were hit hard by the clarification in the exhaust-blown diffuser rules over the course of the weekend, as they struggled to keep pace with Ferrari and Red Bull ahead. Qualifying 5th and 10th, Button and Hamilton trailed the lead quartet at the start, but slowly reeled them in and Button could have finished on the podium had he not retired with a loose wheel nut. Hamilton had to save fuel in the final stint and just about held off Massa for fourth at the death. As in Canada, Red Bull lost out on victory through another mistake, this time in the pitlane when Vettel lost seven seconds with a delay on the left-rear tyre. Red Bull enjoyed a 1- 2 for the first half of the race, but with Alonso upping his pace from mid-distance and Vettel’s pitstop problem, the reigning champions had to make do with a 2-3 finish. Webber lost the lead to Vettel from pole and went against team orders to challenge him for second in the closing laps, but without success. Renault endured another challenging weekend as Nick Heidfeld came home with the team’s only points in eighth place, although it was still a vast improvement on their qualifying pace. Heidfeld’s progress began by picking up two places at the start, before gradually climbing through the field on a two-stop strategy. Petrov was unlucky to miss out on points after being involved in a three-way battle for tenth with Alguersuari and Sutil. He finished 1.5 seconds adrift of the final point. Mercedes’ weekend should have yielded much more than sixth and ninth places after Schumacher was hit with a 10-second stop/go penalty, robbing the German and his team of at least four more points if not significantly more. He had been running strongly until tangling with Kobayashi, earning him the penalty and dropping him down the order. He recovered to ninth as Rosberg fended off Sauber’s Sergio Perez in the fight for sixth, but Schumacher believes he could have challenged for fourth or fifth had things gone to plan. Poor pace on the intermediate tyre in the first phase of the race proved to be an insurmountable challenge to Williams as they failed to capitalise on Pastor Maldonado’s best qualifying of the year in seventh. The Venezuelan had dropped to 13th by lap 6 as he struggled to keep the car on the road and fell further behind on his three-stop strategy. Barrichello’s two-stop strategy allowed him to leapfrog his team-mate, crossing the line in formation in a disappointing 13th and 14th. Alonso’s first victory of 2011 could scarcely have come at a better time as he fights to stay in the title hunt and made for an apt celebration of the 60th anniversary of Ferrari’s first F1 victory, at Silverstone in 1951. Although he struggled initially on the switch over to slicks after the stint on intermediates, once his tyres were up to temperature Alonso’s pace went unmatched and he got the break he needed when Vettel was delayed in the pits, before romping clear to a 20-second lead. Massa took fifth after just missing out in a battle with Hamilton. 30