2010 British Grand Prix

Santander British Grand Prix

Sunday, July 11, 2010
Warm, dry and sunny
Fastest Lap:
Alonso, 1m30.874
2010 season:

"Not bad for a number two driver,” was Mark Webber’s cryptic comment over the radio on his victorious slowing-down lap, and thereby hung a tale. Twenty-four hours earlier, at the post-qualifying press conference, Webber had looked like a man ready to explode, which indeed he was. Alongside him sat the pole position man, his Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel, and clearly Webber felt it had not been a fair fight. It was all a matter of wings – in particular, front wings. The team had new ones for Silverstone, but there had been time enough to manufacture only two, one for each driver. Or so Webber thought. On Saturday morning, though, Vettel’s collapsed on the Hangar Straight – ‘finger trouble’ (F1-speak for ‘human error’), apparently – and it looked like bad luck for Sebastian, for the wing was damaged beyond repair and no spare was available. Except, of course, for the one on Webber’s car. And it was decided by the team that because Vettel was ahead of Mark in terms of championship points and position, he should have the one and only new front wing at Silverstone. Accordingly, it was transferred from Webber’s car to Vettel’s, and symbolically – if nothing else – that was highly significant, for it further fuelled the widespread belief (hotly denied by the team, of course) that Sebastian is the favoured one at Red Bull, and Mark ‘the other driver’. Webber was livid, and none could blame him. Unsmiling, stone-faced, he suggested at the conference that, “The team had got the result it wanted…” As we know, Webber has come through a hard school en route to the top echelons of Formula 1, and as the cars came up to the grid one almost – but not quite – felt a twinge of sympathy for the boy Vettel, who was about to experience the wrath of a team-mate who felt he had been wronged. Having qualified second, Mark was of course on the ‘dirty’ side of the track, but at Silverstone this tends to be less of a problem than at most circuits (perhaps because of the unusually large number of support races here), and when the lights went out the second Red Bull was instantly alongside the first, Webber ignoring Vettel’s attempt to block him.