The rain stayed away long enough at Silverstone for Red Bull’s Mark Webber to narrowly beat Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in a tense battle to win the British Grand Prix.
Alonso led much of the race, after gaining pole in the torrential rain during qualifying, but Webber benefited from a different tyre strategy to hunt the Spaniard down after the final round of pit stops.
The Australian passed Alonso into Brooklands with four laps to go and held him off to gain his second race victory of the season and close the gap on Alonso in the driver’s championship.
Reigning champion Sebastian Vettel took third ahead of the Ferrari of Felipe Massa in fourth.
It wasn’t such a successful day for the British contingent at their home Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton struggling to eighth, Jenson Button in tenth and Force India’s Paul di Resta retiring after a collision with Romain Grosjean during the first lap.
The lack of pace the McLaren’s showed on the high speed of Silverstone really dented Hamilton’s championship hopes.
The Brit is now 37 points behind Alonso, whose lead over Webber was cut to 13 points with Vettel in third, 29 points behind Alonso.
The race was ultimately decided with the battle of the tyre strategies.
Ferrari started Alonso on the hard tyre, as did Hamilton, while Red Bull started Webber on the more conventional softer tyre.
This meant that when it came to the final stops Webber was on the hard tyre and Alonso on the soft allowing the Red Bull driver to chase down the leader.
In just eight laps Webber managed to close a four second deficit with Alonso helpless in defending his position when Webber took him on the outside of the Brooklands corner at the end of the DRS overtaking zone.
Earlier in the race the use of DRS was suspended after a nasty collision between Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez on lap 12 causing the latter to retire.
As a result Maldonado was investigated once again by the stewards, for the third time in four races.
Whilst Alonso and Webber were battling it out in front of a sell out crowd at the front, Vettel, who slipped behind Massa to fifth on the first lap made use of his early pit stop strategy to pass the Brazilian.
Both Lotus drivers finished in the points with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean finishing fifth and sixth respectively, while Michael Schumacher faded from third on the grid to pass Hamilton on the last lap and grab seventh position.
Williams driver Bruno Senna and Jenson Button took the final point places.
British Grand Prix top ten
1. Mark Webber
2. Fernando Alonso +3.060
3. Sebastian Vettel +4.836
4. Felipe Massa +9.519
5. Kimi Raikkonen +10.314
6. Romain Grosjean +17.101
7. Michael Schumacher +29.153
8. Lewis Hamilton +36.463
9. Bruno Senna +43.347
10. Jenson Button +44.444