Silverstone is in the headlines right now, with the British Grand Prix this weekend and the sadder news that the track has activated the break clause in its contract. The track has seen many great races throughout history, and here are three of the circuits best moment from the last decade or so …
Webber’s Alonso Hunt – 2012
Silverstone was the scene of Mark Webber’s last Formula 1 victory back in the 2012 Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso took pole ahead of Webber after a soaking wet qualifying session, and was shadowing the Ferrari man in the early stages. The pair started on different tyres, Alonso on hards and Webber on softs.
The Spaniard looked secure in P1 as the race neared its end but tyre graining slowed him down, and Webber caught up on the harder compound. With four laps to go he made his move and swept around the outside of the Ferrari at Brooklands. Alonso tried to get back around Webber in the next couple of corners but unfortunately it was too late, and Webber stormed away to take the 9th and final win of his career after a thrilling hunt.
Barichello’s charge – 2003
Rubens Barichello was often the underdog at Ferrari, but 2003 saw perhaps one of the best drives from the likeable Brazilians career. He started on pole for the race but dropped back at the start behind Jarno Trulli and Kimi Raikkonen and was made to work hard for the victory by the pair.
By lap 11, he had taken Raikkonen but his charge was halted by the bizarre track invasion of Neil Horan. The ensuing pitstops caused by the inevitable safety car saw Barichello jumped by Raikkonen and Ralf Schumacher, so again he had to fight hard to get near the front. A hard fight for the rest of the race saw Raikkonen and Barichello become the two leaders after passing Trulli, and the pair were locked in a tight battle after their final pitstops. Barichello piled on the pressure, forcing Raikkonen into a mistake and taking the lead from the McLaren driver. It was a thrilling fight, with action through the whole field and the Toyota drivers of Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta starring after they lead the race at one stage.
Williams Near Fairytale – 2015
The 2015 British Grand Prix will always be bittersweet for Williams. A lightning start by Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas saw the two cars 1-3 after the lights went out, then 1-2 after a lap one safety car.
They pulled away from the rest of the field with the two Mercedes, but pitstops saw them lose out to Hamilton. Bottas was the faster of the two but was stuck behind Massa and is convinced to this day that he could have won the race. As it turned out, whilst they kept Rosberg at bay, they lost out to the Mercedes cars and the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel when rain arrived at the circuit–Williams seeming to lose performance in the wet. It was great to see the cars lead and be in the hunt for the win, but sadly all they took from that race was 4th and 5th. This was the team’s best chance of winning a race for some time.