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GP Week : Issue 161
That’s what it says here, at any rate: bottom line – Michael also lost time with a similar thing and recorded that 1min 52.020 on his one and only inter lap. Kimi, in parallel, was 1.2sec slower than Michael, of which only about 0.2 could be blamed on a faulty KERS unit. That, to my eye, was disappointing, particularly as the usual pressure from Romain had by then disappeared. The pattern continued in Kimi’s race: the car was strong but the early-lap traffic was ferocious. He and Romain finished fifth and sixth.... And so it came down to the finale. Ahead: 15 laps. Fernando’s lead over Mark Webber as he completed his final out-lap: 3.9 seconds. It was when Fernando first leaned on the Ferrari through Copse that he felt the problem: understeer. (The sort of understeer that had troubled Webber on softs in Stint One.) Was it a new-tyre thing? He felt it again through Becketts. And then through Stowe. It was not. Was it perhaps a characteristic of the softs here, at Silverstone, on this particular afternoon? It hadn’t shown up on Felipe’s car. Maybe Fernando’s sharp initial turn-in was pushing the tyre harder. Who knew? Such is 2012. Fernando was obliged to back away a little, to nurse the left- front. The balance, for the first time that weekend, had gone away. Quickly – obviously – Mark closed him down, “smelling blood” as @AussieGrit would later put it. Fernando’s steering angles said it all. Choose your moment, Mark. Choose your moment. Not difficult. Activate DRS. Wait for Fernando to move left at the end of the straight. Stay on line. Give Fernando enough room. Stay with it on the outside. Slowly into Luffield, giving yourself lots of pace on exit. Job done. Fernando drove well after that, for this was not going to be Canada. His tyres hadn’t ‘fallen off the cliff’; he had understeer, that’s all. In other races, in other years, it would have been a throwaway comment after his win. In 2012, with engines and cars and tyre types so unbearably close, it made the difference between victory and defeat. So Fernando protected the left front, he stayed positive – and he beat a fast- closing Sebastian Vettel across the line. Ferrari split the Red Bulls at Silverstone – not bad in the context of the past six months: “To finish second after leading is not good,” said Fernando after wards – “but then I could have finished second after running third for most of the day. "When I have had time to think about it I will be very happy with this result ...” Mark needed no such meditation. This was golden. This was another British Grand Prix in a year in which he has already won at Monaco. Two of the classics. Again. With his team-mate back in P3. With the much-maligned Felipe Massa driving forcefully and well to finish fourth – and to lap 0.3 sec quicker than Fernando on hard tyres late in the race – and Bruno Senna also finishing a strong ninth after a late-race tussle with Nico Hulkenberg, the thought occurred that there was a bit of a 'Number Two' feel to Silverstone, 2012 – just as there had been in 2010. Good on ‘em ... although about his status at Red Bull on this occasion Mark had no reason to comment. A couple of years on, the podium ceremony, capped by some welcome public address questions from Sir Jackie Stewart, was full of dignity, smiles and even a little breakthrough sunshine. For more of Windsor on F1 watch The Flying Lap live every week on http://smibs.tv 25 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> SILVERSTONE