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Webber pips Alonso to take British Grand Prix at Silverstone

updated 3:51 PM EDT, Sun July 8, 2012
Red Bull's Australian driver Mark Webber celebrates after winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone
Red Bull's Australian driver Mark Webber celebrates after winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Australian Mark Webber wins the Formula One British Grand Prix for Red Bull
  • Webber pips Ferrari's Fernando Alonso to the checkered flag at Silverstone
  • Defending double world champion Sebastian Vettel finishes race in third
  • Alonso retains his lead at the top of the F1 drivers' championship

(CNN) -- Mark Webber and Red Bull judged their race strategy perfectly to pip Fernando Alonso to the checkered flag during an action packed British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

The Australian maneuvered expertly through 52 immensely tactical laps to record his second victory of the season, though Ferrari's Alonso did maintain his lead in the drivers' championship.

With the torrential rain that had affected the build up absent for the entire race, Webber hunted down Alonso in the closing stages as the Spaniard's tires began to wear, eventually overtaking on lap 49.

Defending double world champion Sebastian Vettel, also of Red Bull, came third while Alonso's Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa finished fourth.

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"It was a very interesting race. Fernando Alonso had very good pace," Webber told a press conference after his victory. "We had the better strategy in the end. We never gave up, kept pushing and it did not work out in the end for Fernando.

"I've had a few wins, but this one is taking a little bit to sink in. It didn't look like a spectacular race between us initially, but it was one -- pacing the stints on the tires, Fernando starting on the harder tire.

"After the first stint Fernando had I thought he was in good shape to close the win out. But it came our way and I am absolutely over the moon.

"I had a single opportunity to pounce and I wasn't going to let that slip. Fernando, with the front-left tire, if you lose balance around this place, the speed is very high in that second sector and it's very hard for the driver to do something.

"It was obvious he was pushing as hard as possible but the balance wasn't with him."

It was Webber's second win at Silverstone in three years and helped him cut Alonso's lead at the top of the drivers' standings to 13 points. Alonso has 129 to Webber's 116, with Vettel third on 100 points.

Alonso said: "It was very close today but at the end Mark was much quicker than us and deserved the victory. Now we are fighting for victories in the last three or four grands prix.

"I hope the fans enjoyed the show today. I'm still leading the championship and that's the main target for us, we lost seven points with Mark winning but we gained some more points on the rest of the field."

World champion Vettel added: "Mark deserved to win. Thanks for all fans out there -- it's been horrible weather for them, not just for us. But today the sun came out and British summer showed its best."

Starting on pole, Alonso protected his lead even after a pit stop on lap 16 but the hard tires on Lewis Hamilton's McLaren car set up a tussle for first place on lap 19.

I had a single opportunity to pounce and I wasn't going to let that slip
Mark Webber

The lead changed hands several times as the former McLaren teammates battled round the circuit. Eventually, Alonso came out on top and Webber moved up to third when Hamilton pitted.

The Spaniard was forced into his own stop for a set of compulsory soft tires as a furious round of strategic stops took place around lap 38.

And try as he might, Alonso couldn't hold off Webber as his tires faded fast, allowing the Australian to make his decisive move three laps from home.

There was also controversy further down the field as Sauber's Sergio Perez blasted his Williams counterpart Pastor Maldonado for a crash that put the Mexican out of the race.

Perez said of the Venezuelan: "He doesn't respect other drivers. I was already in front and he should have given space not to crash, but he tried to push me all the way.

"I don't understand why he drives like that and I hope the stewards do something. It is not first time he has damaged my weekend. This guy will never learn if they don't do something. He could hurt someone. Everybody has concerns about him."

Maldonado was later reprimanded and fined $12,000 by the sport's governing body, the FIA, for the collision while Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi from Japan was fined $30,000 for injuring three three mechanics during a pit-stop.

The next race in the Formula One calendar is the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim on July 22.

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