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Webber wins British GP; Vettel, Button in fightbacks

Mark Webber rebounded from a nasty crash two weeks ago to win the British Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday for the Red Bull team.

india Updated: Jul 12, 2010 01:22 IST

Mark Webber rebounded from a nasty crash two weeks ago to win the British Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday for the Red Bull team.

Webber snatched the lead from pole-sitting teammate Sebastian Vettel at the start and never looked back en route to his third season victory ahead of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in a Mercedes GP.

Vettel's right rear tyre was sliced up in an accidental collision with Hamilton in the first turn and he limped into the pits for a tyre change to rank last, but, partly helped by a safety car phase, fought back to seventh place to salvage at least some championship points.

Two weeks ago in Valencia, Spain, the Australian Webber miraculously walked away unharmed from a major crash after driving into the Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen. The Red Bull was lifted into the air, flipped over and crashed into a tyre wall.

"Not bad for a number two driver," Webber said via team radio on Sunday after crossing the line, a reference to his unhappiness that Vettel got one remaining front wing and some previous incidents in the season.

"I did the best job I could," he said later. "I had a good start and it worked out well for me."

Hamilton leads the championship with 145 points after 10 of 19 races from team-mate Jenson Button, who has 133 after fighting from 14th on the grid to fourth place.

Webber is back in the frame with 128, Vettel has 121 while Fernando Alonso is stranded on 98 for Ferrari on an afternoon to forget.

"We have climbed this tree. We know the car well and must keep pushing," said Webber, looking ahead at the second half of the season.

Vettel seemed well positioned for his second straight Silverstone victory after getting the pole as in 2009 but that dream lasted just 10 seconds in the race.

Webber squeezed past the German from second place right at the start. TV evidence revealed that brief contact with Hamilton ruined Vettel's tyre and his winning chances effectively from the word go.

Vettel dropped to last place but worked his way up again slowly with no further pit stop, also benefiting from a brief safety car phase just after the halfway mark to clear debris from a broken rear wing of Pedro de la Rosa's Sauber.

"You realize immediately that nothing is possible anymore. If you can win it (the result) is no consolation," said Vettel. "But in the end we salvaged a few points."

Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, was probably fuming about the safety car the second straight time after being very upset about the rules in Valencia.

The Spaniard had just received a harsh drive-through penalty for cutting a corner when he had nowhere to go while trying to pass Robert Kubica's Renault when the safety car came out.

Rules prohibited him from serving the penalty in that stage and when he finally went through the pit lane on the restart he dropped far behind as the field was now close together again. A late puncture was the final insult as he finished 14th.

Up front, Webber safely rode home ahead of Hamilton, crossing the line in 1 hour 24 minutes 38.200 seconds for the 52 laps of 5.901 kilometres.

Hamilton said that apart from the early stages he had no chance of repeating the 2008 home win.

"We did the best job we could with the package we have," said Hamilton.

Rosberg defended third place from Button for his third podium of the season. Like Vettel, Button made the most from from the safety car although he missed his first Silverstone podium again.

Vettel will now hope to do better in his German home Grand Prix at Hockenheim, which is on the agenda next on July 25.

First Published: Jul 11, 2010 23:05 IST