Mark Webber scored his second Silverstone victory after chasing down and passing Fernando Alonso in a final few laps in a dramatic and completely dry British Grand Prix.
By winning the race, the Australian has reduced Alonso’s lead in the championship to 13 points.
Sebastian Vettel completed the podium and almost managed to make it a Red Bull one-two as he gained on Alonso’s tyre-troubled car at the end.
Alonso pulled out a five-second lead over Webber in the first stint and maintained it for the majority of the race.
But while most of the field used soft tyres early then switched to the harder compound, Alonso waited until his final stint to try the softs, and could not keep up his previous pace.
Webber caught up rapidly and was on the Ferrari’s rear wing with seven laps to go, trying several moves before deploying his DRS on the run towards Brooklands on lap 48 out of 52.
Alonso defended the inside and yet Webber went around the outside, and after attempting to retaliate at Luffield, the Spaniard had to let the Australian go and concentrate on staying clear of Vettel.
The defending world champion had run fifth in the opening stint before a slightly early first stop helped him jump to third, unable to catch Alonso in the end.
Felipe Massa spent the opening laps trying ever-more creative attempts to overtake Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes for third, finally managing at Stowe on lap 11. The Ferrari lost out to Vettel in the following pit sequence, and then resisted the fast-closing Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen to take fourth.
Lotus managed to get both cars in the top six despite Romain Grosjean breaking his front wing in a brush with Paul di Resta on the opening lap. The resulting puncture and associated damage ended the Force India’s race, while Grosjean charged back from last to sixth.
Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button could only finish eighth and tenth in the McLarens. Hamilton had his moment in the lead and enjoyed a spirited dice with Alonso as he ran a very long first stint on hards, but then did just a handful of laps on softs before switching back to harder Pirellis. Hamilton’s pace then faded and he lost seventh place to Schumacher late on.
Although Button jumped to P12 at the start, his progress was less dramatic thereafter. In the closing laps he was in the thick of an epic dice for ninth with Bruno Senna and Nico Hulkenberg, won by the Williams. Force India’s Hulkenberg ran wide at Copse in the heat of battle and dropped out of the points.
The other major incident of the race involved Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez. Running seventh and ninth in the first stint, they pitted together on lap 11 but then collided at Brooklands on their out-laps. The furious Perez sustained terminal damage to his Sauber, while Maldonado dragged his Williams back to the pits for repairs and finished P16.
Completing a nightmare race for Sauber, Kamui Kobayashi hit several mechanics at his final stop. At least there were no serious injuries and the Japanese driver was able to continue to finish in P11.
Nico Rosberg had a less dramatic bad pitstop during what was already a low-key midfield race, which ended with his Mercedes P15.
British Grand Prix, race results after 52 laps:
1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1h25:11.288
2. Alonso Ferrari +3.060
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault +4.836
4. Massa Ferrari +9.519
5. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault +10.314
6. Grosjean Lotus-Renault +17.101
7. Schumacher Mercedes +29.153
8. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes +36.463
9. Senna Williams-Renault +43.347
10. Button McLaren-Mercedes +44.444
11. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari +45.370
12. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +47.856
13. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari +51.241
14. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari +53.313
15. Rosberg Mercedes +57.394
16. Maldonado Williams-Renault +1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault +1 lap
18. Glock Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap
19. Pic Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap
20. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth +2 laps
21. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth +2 laps
Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:34.661
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 14 laps
Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 3 laps
Petrov Caterham-Renault 1 lap
World Championship standings, round 9:
1. Alonso 129
2. Webber 116
3. Vettel 100
4. Hamilton 92
5. Raikkonen 83
6. Rosberg 75
7. Grosjean 61
8. Button 50
9. Perez 39
10. Maldonado 29
11. Di Resta 27
12. Schumacher 23
13. Massa 23
14. Kobayashi 21
15. Senna 18
16. Hulkenberg 17
17. Vergne 4
18. Ricciardo 2
1. Red Bull-Renault 216
2. Ferrari 152
3. Lotus-Renault 144
4. McLaren-Mercedes 142
5. Mercedes 98
6. Sauber-Ferrari 60
7. Williams-Renault 47
8. Force India-Mercedes 44
9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6
Next race: German Grand Prix, Hockenheim. July 20-22.