Brought to you by TheJudge13 ‘on track correspondent’: James Parker
The Mercedes of Nico Rosberg avoided disaster in a drama filled British Grand Prix to take his second win of the season. With a hot track temperature of 34°C, the race ended up being dominated by one aspect – tyres. 2nd was a resurgent Mark Webber who recovered from 14th to claim a podium, whilst 3rd place went to the ever consistent Ferrari of Fernando Alonso.
Both Rosberg and Webber had poor getaways from 2nd and 4th, with Vettel leapfrogging the German into turn 1 behind Hamilton, whilst Webber dropped like a stone into the pack and made slight contact with the Lotus of Grosjean – dropping him to 14th on lap 1.
Massa went from 11th to 5th by the third corner and was tucked up behind Sutil who was running in 4th, whilst his team-mate, Alonso, was recovering from an average start taking Button into Stowe for 9th place.
This was followed by a move to take Grosjean for 8th place the following lap out of Luffield, whilst a recovering Di Resta (disqualified from Qualifying for an underweight car and starting 21st) was already up to 18th place and looking quick.
The race started to settle down, and by lap 5 Hamilton had eeked out an advantage of 1.9 seconds from the chasing Vettel. Webber was in no mood to sit amongst the pack and by lap 7 he was past Button into 11th going into Stowe.
It was the following lap at which the drama was about to start however, and the first of many tyre delamination’s through the afternoon. Coming out of the fast turn four, race leader Hamilton experienced a spectacular left rear delamination which forced him to navigate over three quarters of the lap back to the pitlane on three tyres.
Two laps later, the Ferrari of Felipe Massa experienced exactly the same scenario coming out of turn four, spinning on to the tarmac run off – he dropped to 22nd and dead last.
This resulted in mass panic up and down the pit lane; all the teams decided to take their first pit stops early as a precaution for the two incidents that had occurred. Lap ten saw Grosjean pit for the harder compound tyre, as did Alonso. A lap later, 4th and 5th place men Sutil and Raikkonen took the option to switch to hards, as did Ricciardo, Massa and Webber – the latter also taking the time to change his nosecone after the earlier contact with Grosjean during the start.
After the first stops, Alonso found himself tucked up behind the Lotus duo on lap thirteen. In the space of the next two laps the Spaniard performed a fantastic piece of driving. First he took Raikkonen going into copse for 8th and then Grosjean for 7th into Stowe. A lap later, the Ferrari man cruised up to the back of the longer running Vergne and utilised the DRS benefit on the wellington straight to take 6th into Brooklands.
Rosberg and Vettel were the last to pit on lap thirteen and fourteen, re-joining in 1st and 2nd – the RedBull team were quick to notify Vettel to “take it easy” after finding cuts on the Germans rear tyres after his first stint. A third delamination then occurred only seven laps after Hamilton’s. Jean Eric Vergne had yet to pit and was running in 7th when going into the fast Stowe corner his left rear too let go. Vergne’s tyre shredded it’s carcass and threw debris into the path of Raikkonen’s Lotus. Debris also hit Raikkonen’s helmet.
At this point in time, the safety car was called out to clear up the numerous shards of carbon fiber and other debris lying on the circuit. All the race engineers were telling their drivers to stay off the kerbs. Pirelli was also quick to recover the shredded rubber for tests.
After five laps behind the safety car, on lap twenty one, the race was once again restarted with Vettel doing a great job to create space between him and Rosberg. At this point Webber had managed to get himself up to 9th and made no mistake in passing Perez for 8th into Brooklands. He then set about chasing Grosjean and Ricciardo who were 6th and 7th respectively. By lap twenty-eight Ricciardo, who was feeling the pressure behind, took Grosjean into Brooklands for 6th, whilst Webber went and replicated the exact same move on lap twenty-nine.
2nd stops started on lap 30, with the majority of the top 10 opting for the harder tyres – other than Webber who chose the medium compound. Sutil decided to go 3 laps longer than both Alonso and Raikkonen, pitting on lap 33, but found himself re-joining behind the pair who enjoyed the undercut on fresher tyres.
Rosberg, Di Resta, Vettel and Hamilton were the last to pit on lap 34, 36 and 37 with the top two once again shadowing each other’s strategy and holding position. The final part of the race was starting to hot up with numerous fights up and down the field. Massa was struggling after earlier damage from his puncture and found himself getting passed by Perez, Grosjean and Button all in the space of one lap.
Further down, Hamilton and Di Resta in 10th and 11th were having a monumental scrap for the minor points. On lap thirty-eight they ran side by side through Brooklands and Luffield before Hamilton conceded going into Copse. The following lap however, the Mercedes man took no prisoners and made a move stick on the Wellington straight – maximising DRS.
More drama and a 2nd safety car was to come however. Race leader Vettel (by some margin) lost drive as he braked for Club corner and coming on to the pit straight the could not get any gears forcing him to pull up on the pit straight. That released Rosberg into the lead on lap forty-two. It was an incident which caused the first DNF for Vettel this season and a safety car was released to clear his car.
The safety car created an opportunity for Rosberg, Webber and Alonso to pit for a 3rd time, whilst 3rd place man Raikkonen was told to stay out on older rubber – something the Finn challenged. Alonso dropped to 8th and Webber 5th.
The race restarted on lap forty-five, leaving a seven lap dash to the flag. In the space of two laps Webber took both Ricciardo for 4th and Sutil for 3rd and set about chasing the Lotus of Raikkonen. Perez was the next man to suffer a rear left delamination on while going down the Hangar straight and he subsequently retired from P6 – a frustrating end to a solid race for the Mexican.
Alonso was making similar progress on fresh rubber – passing Button, Ricciardo and Sutil to elevate himself up into 4th. Hamilton took advantage of Alonso’s aggressiveness and followed the Spaniard through, passing Button, Ricciardo and Sutil to jump up to 5th.
Raikkonen was really struggling with wear and was left helpless to the attacks into Stowe of Webber, Alonso and Hamilton who were on much fresher tyres than the frustrated Lotus man.
Up front however Rosberg had a hard charging Webber bearing down on him, the latter sniffing a possible victory. By lap fifty-two, Webber was within 9 tenths of a second but was left too far back to challenge Rosberg down the Hangar straight which left the Mercedes man to claim a very good victory.
The misfortunes of others no doubt helped Webber and Alonso to secure 2nd and 3rd; Alonso making the most of Vettel’s retirement by claiming 15 points and the last podium position. 4th was Hamilton who managed the two safety car periods beautifully after dropping to 19th after his puncture on lap 8.
5th was a frustrated Raikkonen who was lamenting the decision not to pit during the second safety car period, whilst Massa – another puncture victim recovered to 6th. 7th and 8th were a solid Sutil and Ricciardo whilst the unlucky Paul Di Resta came from 21st on the grid to finish 9th. The Sauber of Hulkenberg rounded off the top 10 to claim his first points since Bahrain.
An action packed and exciting race but the big question will be about the tyres. Were they overheating? Was it a case of kerbs cutting the tyres? Were the tyres being run to soft?
Pirelli will be investigating the cause of the delaminations over the coming days but, with focus on driver safety something must be done soon.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery had this to say: “There have obviously been some issues with rear-left tyre failures which we have not seen before. We are taking the situation very seriously and we are currently investigating all tyres to determine the cause as soon as possible, ahead of the next Grand Prix in Germany.
At the moment, we can’t really say much more until we have fully investigated and analysed all of these incidents, which is our top priority. However, we can exclude that the new bonding process, which we introduced at this race, is at cause for the tyre failures we have seen today.
There might be some aspect to this circuit that impacts specifically on the latest version of our 2013 specification tyres but at this point we do not want to speculate but will now put together all the evidence to find out what happened and then take appropriate next steps should these be required.”
Perhaps the answer is the Kevlar belted tyres but as Brawn said after the race, Pirelli does not have the means to run proper tests and therefore cannot develop tyres properly. Is this the beginning of the end of the test ban?
Drivers Championship Standing
Constructors Championship Standing
Very good win for Nico Rosberg. Though not the outright fastest man on the track (that would be one of Vettel or Hamilton, considering their pace in the early stages) but still : he was in the right place at the right time.
Webber, Alonso and Hamilton drove great recovery races, the tyre explosions were a bit of a nonsense. Hamilton definitely had a chance of going for victory today but it wasn’t meant to be. But if the Mercedes can turn up for races like today more often, then there will be a time when he can finally nail that maiden win for Mercedes.
A thought for Vettel too, he was managing his race well until lap 42, when the gearbox just betrayed him. That’s one of the most hurting ways of going out, I am always devastated when such a thing happens to a driver leading a race. Hamilton last year in Singapore for instance, that was really bad. I’m gutted for him, even if his eventual retirement means the championship has gotten closer.
I’d like to know more about webber’s start. As would mark, I’m sure. Was his start software modified to make sure he didn’t cause problems for Vettel at the first turn? Mark seemed genuinely surprised about it on the radio…
Can we please bin the trash talk of Red Bull sabotaging Marks car? It isn’t even funny if meant in jest. As they have proven in Malaysia, RB cares first and foremost about the constructors championship. They would shoot their own foot if they sabotaged their own car. Ridiculous idea, really.
Put another way: do you think webber could be as bad at starting as we saw today, when it’s more or less a case of nailing the throttle and letting the software do its work?
His start was actually pretty good, but then the car suddenly stopped accelerating. From the heli cam it looked as if he didn’t find second gear or something. This was a different problem than Marks generally poor starts in the last few years.
And how do you suppose a driver “can not find” a gear on a sequential semi-auto gearbox?!
I mean, I suppose your boy couldn’t find any of his seven later in the race, so there is that…
‘My boy’ doesn’t race in F1 anymore 😉
I said it ‘looked like’ he couldn’t find any gear as in ‘that’s what it looks like if you don’t find second gear’, not that it was the actual problem. Jeez, I understand that people can get bumhurt if they support a driver and he has problems, but can we stop this childish bickering about it?
ridiculous answer. red bull cares very much about the drivers championship. all that malaysia has shown is the team can’t manage its drivers.
The podium should have been Webber, Alonso and Raikkonen. Mercedes 4 races ago had such bad tyre wear that they were effectively mid-fielders. Remember ” I’ve been passed by a Williams”, now have probably the best tyre wear. With today’s Mercedes performance it shows that both Horner and Domenicali were right all along and that a huge benefit was derived from the 1000K test and the IT “penalty” was a joke. Today Rosberg sets a purple sector under yellow flags and simply receives a reprimand. I wonder how a Mercedes 1 -2 next week will be engineered?
Ok, but as you say, the IT has made its ruling… So maybe we can move on now?
Ross Brawn has done plenty of rule bending in his days at Ferrari, and they benefitted massively from it, should history be rewritten because of it ? No. It’s over and done with now, but that’s just to say that all teams have tried to get an advantage over other teams one or another, and that’s the reason why they get ridiculous salaries : to find ways of going faster and exploiting rules to breaking point.
Mercedes effectively pulled a trick on the rest of the paddock (no secret here) and it turns out they knew what they were doing, there’s nothing wrong with trying what they did, whether you like it or not. Red Bull’s trick diffuser in 2011 absolutely blew the whole field away, and even if the blown diffuser concept was out-lawed mid-way through the 2011 season, should all teams have been excluded that year instead ? We’d probably have been left with only 2 teams had it been the case.
Regarding the specific case of Barcelona : Pirelli had brought softer compounds there, while in Silverstone the teams had harder compounds to use, especially the hardest Pirelli make this year. THAT, for sure, helped Red Bull and Mercedes moreso than Ferrari and Lotus.
Pretty sure Ferrari have had the benefit of not one but 2 tests, so sauce for the goose and all that. AND Ferrari had their best race immediately after THEIR test.
IF you’re going to yell about Merc, you’d best be yelling about Ferrari as well.
Did Ferrari test with their current car or an old car? Did Ferrari use their current drivers?
Mercedes has clearly gained an advantage, and it also shows Brawn’s a liar.
2013 parts and Massa. Haven’t heard either of those allegations refuted by anyone, including Ferrari. At a track where the had reams of historic data. Which gave Ferrari an even bigger advantage.
Pretty sure Brawn didn’t deny test so how exactly does that make him a liar, as he also admitted learning from test. At the tribunal. Cheeky perhaps, liar, not so sure.
At this point, current car or older car doesn’t make a world of difference. The only difference is on paper and in the field of law. Ferrari were the only ones who got to make a test before Barcelona, and even with a 2011 car they were able to fine-tune their strategy to perfection for that particular race. That’s a ridiculously big advantage and unfair in its own right, as no one else got to do the test at that particular time. Go figure.
It emerged during the Tribunal that Massa took part in the test, so they did use current drivers if that’s what you were trying to say. Not that it matters, given it was Pirelli’s test. Both Ferrari and Mercedes were entitled to take current drivers in it.
I and others have been saying it for weeks on end that Pirelli tyres should change and I know that the Judge wasn’t a big supporter of this idea. Surely the verdict has to change now.
Actually, it was mentioned in today’s coverage that Pirelli could not introduce the new tyre, that is supposed to be safer/stronger/whatever, because Pirelli need the unanimous approval of all teams. When they submitted their request, Lotus and Force India were the ones who vetoed it. Hardly Pirelli’s fault here, they followed the procedure and 2 teams made sure things didn’t go forward.
While this year’s tyres are not adequate, the fact is that we are asking Pirelli to do a job but we are making sure they can’t do it properly. How are Pirelli expected to validate their tyres when even tyre-tests led on safety-grounds cause such an uproar within the paddock ?
Changing tyres mid-season effectively rigs the whole game half-way through, so, opposing the change in that respect is legitimate. But if we were to oblige Pirelli to act with a safety-first approach, then they’ll just bring the hard and medium compounds for the remainder of the season, and that’s undeniably giving an (unfair) advantage to teams such as Red Bull and Mercedes, who are known to be harder on their tyres than, say, Lotus or even Force India.
It’s a needlessly complicated mess. But the bureaucrats at the FIA want it to be that way…
It does make you wonder, Todt backed Michelin and lost, but the FIA wrote the current testing regs, did they purposefully do so to make Pirelli’s job impossible, or was it just another case of hopeless incompetence by faceless bureaucrats.
Either way it’s clearly a bad situation, but I’m pretty sure Pirelli are allowed to make changes for safety, and after today, I think they will find less opposition in the paddock in any event.
I don’t put anything past politicians and bureaucrats. I’m sure you can make a lovely script with Todt making his evil plans 😀
I think we should stop calling these tyre failures “delaminations”, because as far as I can tell, in all cases this weekend the centre part of the tyre completely detached from the tyre walls.
This is in contrast to the failures earlier in the season where the centre (steel) belt was left intact (in these cases, the rubber laminate had detached from that centre belt and they therefore WERE “delaminations”).
I’m not just splitting hairs – it indicates that this weekend’s failures were perhaps not simply the same failure occurring again. Pirelli have not been able to bring updated tyres with the kevlar bands to the GP, so if the steel bands are also now detaching themselves from the side walls, have they perhaps done something to the bonding of the rubber to the steel bands which now means that the weak point in the tyres has moved to the edges where the bands meet the side wall?
mat somers had something on this here
the bonding process has been changed
“I think we should stop calling these tyre failures “delaminations”, because as far as I can tell, in all cases this weekend the centre part of the tyre completely detached from the tyre walls”
Excellent point RK, I think you’ll find when we here the analysis, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
Sorry, I’ve been quiet here this weekend, but a combination of a useless battery life, rubbish 3G and being pretty busy are the reasons.
I can see courtroom decorum has collapsed during my absence, so there may be some sharp raps of the gavel coming soon 😉
I’m done with talking about Merc & Pirelli testing and the IT. As far as Im concerned Ferrari & McLaren have in their time ‘taken advantage’ of opportunities.
For the record, Im not and haven’t been against tyres being made safer, I was one of the first to point out Pirelli would not get the unanimous team agreement they required.
Further, I have stated the degradable characteristics should not be altered for as Hembery puts it, ‘sporting equity’ reasons.
Having attended many races, I found today one of the most exciting I’ve ever attended. The crowd near me were highly engaged throughout and it wasn’t difficult to follow what was going on either.
I’ve heard a lot of interesting things this weekend, some of which I’ll share over the coming days. Some of which merely forms/adjusts my impressions.
I saw the cuts on the inside of the tyres which were done as Gary Anderson describes.
The debacle of the 3 headed monster continue to demonstrate its inability to agree beyond self interest.
1 team has big financial troubles, and as things stand will not be making the grid for 2014…
So much to ponder and digest.
Unlucky day for Vettel and Hamilton. Ferrari and Alonso get out of jail which is great for keeping the title close.
Many thanks to TJ13 contributors for an excellent weekend whilst I was away.
Oh… and by the way… it appears some teams were running tyre pressures and camber outside of the Pirelli recommended parameters.
Cest la vie… See you all tomorrow…
yes we need to wait for all the analysis and evidence to be in before we can really know what went on
Tyre pressures and camber outside of Pirelli’s recommendations? I wonder if this could be crucial information in the following few days…
It’s all going to be crucial. the kerbs, the GP2 race, everything. The hard part is teasing out what matters, and what is a red herring. Busy days ahead for Pirelli.
I thought it was clear from the BBC’s Gary Anderson that the kerbs were part of the problem. The inside of the kerb had a definate 90 degree angle and was marked black by what is most likely to be tyre rubber. Combined with teams running pressures low this will increase the risk of punctures.
Also the drivers are at fault as they were obviously running well off the circuit in cutting the corners. If the kerbs had been higher (they were almost flat, poor circuit design?) then the drivers would have been forced to stay on the tarmac and the risk of tyre failures would have been much reduced.
Yes but why then only in the race did we see so many failures? Were the teams only running outside of spec in the race?
Regardless, the manner in which they failed so spectacularly also endangered trailing drivers , sorting that is going to be a separate issue as well. And why didn’t we see any failures in GP2? As Somers points out, all the races with GP2 have also featured F1 tire failures.
Lots for Pirelli to do this week.
Pirelli changed the bonding process.
Hembery afert the race: “We are taking the situation very seriously and we are currently investigating (…). However, we can exclude that the new bonding process, which we introduced at this race, is at cause for the tyre failures we have seen today”. If they were really taking the situation seriously they would be investigating if the new bonding process had something to do with the problems we saw today even if only because their quality procedures have to ask for considering that posibility -since its a recent major change-. I genuinely felt sorry for Hembery while watching the race and then he jumps to say the first nonsense/lie that comes to his mind as usual. I should have known better.
I wonder what people thought about this bit of the race
lewis v di resta
lewis did alot of work to get round di resta the first time and then and im sure someone will correct me if im wrong, just after he got round they hit a drs zone and so paul just activated drs n drove back round him.
lewis then waited and drs passed him later on. (ill have to recheck).
You could make the argument that the sensible approach in this particular scenario, where the drs zones were and where the battle was that it was best not to bother n wait for drs thus taking away the exciting part and some other drivers may think more like this?
food for thought on the pros n cons of drs arguments anyway 🙂
Why not remove the ‘zones’ altogether – it’s just another regulation to be policed. Allow the drivers 10 (15, 20…?) opportunities per race to use DRS – wherever they like…?
That’s a pretty sound and good idea. That’s also why it will never ever reach the tiny brains of the FIA bureaucrats :p