Alonso wins British GP for Ferrari

SILVERSTONE, England, (Reuters) – Fernando Alonso  won the British Grand Prix yesterday for Ferrari’s first victory  of the season at the same circuit where 60 years ago they had  enjoyed their first success in Formula One.

Fernando Alonso

The win, gifted to the Spaniard by Red Bull after world  champion Sebastian Vettel’s hopes were scuppered by a wheelnut  problem at his second pitstop, was the 27th of Alonso’s career  and lifted him level with the great Jackie Stewart in fifth  position in the all-time lists.

Vettel finished second, denied his seventh win in nine races  but still on the podium for the 11th time in a row and with his  overall lead extended from 77 to 80 points.

It was Ferrari’s 216th win since that first with Argentina’s  ‘Pampas Bull’ Jose Froilan Gonzalez on July 14, 1951, and their  first since last October, when Alonso won in South Korea.

Alonso had driven Gonzalez’s historic Ferrari around the  circuit for two laps before the race and the old magic crossed  the generations.

“Now 60 years later in the same circuit, with the same  atmosphere and the same passion, winning again in a red car. I’m  very proud…it made a special day,” said the double world  champion.

“Every grand prix is special but winning in historic places,  and in this fantastic circuit like Silverstone and the tradition  in England with the culture of Formula One, is even more  special.”

Vettel now has 204 points to team mate Mark Webber’s 124 and  Alonso’s 112 with 10 races remaining.

Australian Webber, who had started on pole position,  finished third after trying hard to pass his team mate on the  penultimate lap while turning a deaf ear to repeated radio  orders to maintain position.

So-called ‘team orders’ have been declared legal this  season, but both Red Bull drivers still faced angry questions  afterwards about the situation.

Asked whether he had agreed with the team’s call, Webber  said: “I’m not fine with it, no.

“If Fernando retires on the last lap, we are battling for  victory. So I was fighting to the end. Of course I ignored the  team because I want to try and get another place. Seb was doing  his best, I was doing my best.”

HAMILTON FOURTH

Webber said it had been a one-way conversation with the  team, with all the speaking – four or five messages – directed  at him while he remained silent.

“I can understand Mark’s frustrations but we cannot give  away a load of points,” said team boss Christian Horner. “We did  not want to see our drivers in the fence at some time in the  last two laps, which is how it would have ended up.”

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton entertained the fans by roaring  from 10th on the grid to fourth, banging bodywork in a furious  battle with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who was forced wide, at the  final corner.

Alonso took the lead on the 28th of the 52 laps when he  pitted right behind Vettel, who had grabbed the lead off the  grid. As the German’s crew wrestled with the rear left tyre, the  Spaniard slipped past and was gone.

“It’s hard to say how much we lost but surely we lost the  lead. I think we had quite a cushion at that stage,” said  Vettel, who has still dropped only 21 points out of a possible  225, of the pitstop drama.

“I think you have to accept fair and square that Ferrari  beat us today…I think it shows us that we have to keep working  and pushing very hard.”

McLaren’s Jenson Button’s home-race jinx continued with the  31-year-old’s hopes also wrecked by a wheelgun when he was waved  away before the right front nut had been secured 12 laps from  the end.

With the wheel wobbling wildly, he parked up at the pit lane  exit and walked back to the garages without speaking to  reporters.

The Briton has never yet stood on the F1 podium at  Silverstone in 12 attempts.

“The guy on the front right lost a wheel nut and he went to  get another one but as he turned I think the lollipop man  thought we were good to go,” he said. “I’m sorry for the fans  that we couldn’t do more. This seems to be the way of it at  British Grands Prix for me, but I’ll try again next year.”

Germany’s Nico Rosberg was sixth for Mercedes with Mexican  Sergio Perez in the points for Sauber and Nick Heidfeld eighth  for Renault.

Michael Schumacher finished ninth for Mercedes, after  colliding with Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi, while Spaniard Jaime  Alguersuari made it three races in a row in the points with Toro  Rosso.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo made his race debut for  Hispania, finishing 19th and last.

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