• British Grand Prix

Rosberg wins dramatic British GP hit by tyre failures

ESPN Staff
June 30, 2013
Nico Rosberg took his second victory of the season at Silverstone © Getty Images

Nico Rosberg just held on for victory at a British Grand Prix marred by tyre blow outs as he held off Mark Webber by 0.7s as he crossed the line.

Lewis Hamilton had led early on and looked comfortable but dropped to the back of the field when his tyre exploded while leading the race. Sebastian Vettel inherited first place but retired with a gearbox problem 11 laps before the end when two seconds clear, handing victory back to Mercedes and Rosberg.

However, Rosberg was made to work for it by Webber, who dropped out of the top ten with wing damage at the start but muscled his way back through the field to finish on the gearbox of the Mercedes. Fernando Alonso took third on the podium ahead of Hamilton, who also staged an impressive fightback.

Hamilton wasn't the only driver to suffer a tyre failure - all of which were left rears - as Felipe Massa then had one at Aintree and then Jean-Eric Vergne also suffered a blow out at the end of the Hangar Straight. The third failure caused the safety car to be deployed to clear debris, and with other drivers taking precautionary stops it was discovered Vettel also had cuts to his tyre when he had pit.

Drivers were warned to stay off the kerbs at high speed and so were slightly conservative after the safety car period, with Vettel opening up a lead of over three seconds. Further back, Webber had taken on a new front wing at his first stop and both he and Hamilton benefited from the safety car bunching up the field to climb back up in to the points.

Adrian Sutil was having a strong race in third place but holding up Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Webber behind which had left the front two well clear. As a result after the second stops Rosberg was able to start putting pressure on at the front with no danger behind and Vettel soon coasted to a halt at the final corner to bring the safety car out for a second time.

Raikkonen and Alonso had Webber closing them down before the second safety car and Webber passed Alonso in to Stowe before both decided to pit while Vettel's car was cleared. Raikkonen stayed out in an attempt to jump Rosberg but didn't manage to do so and was then a sitting duck for those behind late on.

Webber, Alonso and Hamilton - who did well to two-stop after his early puncture - all climbed through in the final eight laps after the safety car, with Sutil dropping out of podium contention having not stopped. It was a frantic ending to the race with Webber's pace allowing him to close on Rosberg, but the leader responded to hold on for his second win of the season.

There was still time for another tyre failure for Sergio Perez - which Alonso did well to avoid at the start of the Hangar Straight - and then for Hamilton to follow the Ferrari through ahead of Sutil and Raikkonen, but the pole-sitter couldn't snatch a late podium as Alonso held on to take 15 points out of Vettel's championship lead.

While the last laps were dramatic and fantastic viewing for the British crowd, questions have got to be asked as to the safety of the tyres as Hamilton admitted it was a major concern and Jenson Button said "it's got to change".

Lewis Hamilton was leading comfortably when he suffered a tyre failure early on © Sutton Images