F1 Silverstone Race Results & Report: Alonso For the Win, Red Bulls Breaks Out Team Orders

What Happens When It Rains, But Not During the Race

10:20am EST — Fernando Alonso took an eventually dominant win at the 2011 British Grand Prix after fighting over position and taking the lead during an uncharacteristically slow stop from Red Bull. Sebastian Vettel could not catch the Spaniard despite his great start and early lead. Mark Webber completed the podium, taking third from an ailing and fuel-saving Lewis Hamilton in the final laps. It was a sometimes chaotic and damp race, with a rainshower before the race began and much of the field starting on intermediate tires.

Webber (1:30.399) started on pole, beating out Vettel to the first position with a quick lap before rain began falling near the end of Q3 during Saturday’s qualifying session. Alonso and Massa made an all-Ferrari second row on the grid, with Button, Button and di Resta an all-British third row. Hamilton struggled with bad timing, managing only tenth fastest as rain slowed the final minutes of qualifying. Schumacher also qualified poorly despite early quick pace in the weekend and will start thirteenth.

Despite particularly rainy conditions throughout the weekend, Red Bull still posted the fastest time in two of the three practice sessions at Silverstone. Webber (1:46.603) led the first and Vettel (1:31.401) the last and only mainly dry session, with Massa (1:49.967) taking control for Friday afternoon’s rain-impeded session. Despite the conditions, only Kobayashi suffered a shunt after losing control on wet kerbing and Astroturf. Though he damaged all four corners of the car, the Sauber team managed to get him out fifteen minutes into the afternoon session, as he was unhurt.

As had happened all weekend, rain began falling before the race began, with Button explaining that half the circuit was wet and the other half bone dry. Perez had a difficult time getting to the grid, going off at Becketts and having to return to the garage for a new nose. Though the rain stopped before the race began, it wrecked havoc with tire choice. In the end, the top ten were on intermediates for the start.

Under cloudy skies, Vettel got a clean start, leading into the first turn from his pole-sitting teammate. Button moved up to fourth passed Massa as Alonso looked frantically for a way around Webber. Hamilton moved up to seventh from his tenth starting position as spray flew through the air. Schumacher also started well, ending the first lap in ninth. Vettel led is teammate by a second, with Alonso, Button, Massa, Hamilton, di resta, Kobayashi, Schumacher, and Maldonado. Massa went back around Button for fourth, leaving Hamilton to pick off his teammate. Vettel continued to gain time on the wet/dry track.

Kovalainen pitted on L3 from twentieth, backing into the Lotus garage with gearbox issues. Mike Gascoyne later explained on Twitter, “Gearbox failure looks to be caused by a electrical problem, nothing to do with the gearbox on heikki’s car.” Meanwhile, Vettel had a four second lead posted in the first four laps. Hamilton had a moment running wide at Brooklands, managing to continue on without losing position. Four positions back, Mercedes informed Schumacher that he would be going to slicks soon, with the German suggesting that it would be three of four more laps until he could switch.

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F1 Silverstone Quali Results & Report: Webber on Pole for British GP

What Happens When It Rains In Britain

9:14am EST — Mark Webber won pole for the 2011 British Grand Prix in an intermittently rainy qualifying session at Silverstone. He had beat teammate Sebastian Vettel to the provisional pole in an early run in Q3 and was unable to be beaten as rain begin falling in the final minutes of the session. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa will start on the second row for Sunday’s race, with Jenson Button fifth at home, with teammate Lewis Hamilton languishing down in tenth. Michael Schumacher was also caught out by some raindrops, qualifying only thrteenth and not passing beyond Q2.

Despite particularly rainy conditions, Red Bull still posted the fastest time in two of the three practice sessions at Silverstone. Webber (1:46.603) led the first and Vettel (1:31.401) the last and only mainly dry session, with Massa (1:49.967) taking control for Friday afternoon’s rain-impeded session. Despite the conditions, only Kobayashi suffered a shunt after losing control on wet kerbing and Astroturf. Though he damaged all four corners of the car, the Sauber team managed to get him out fifteen minutes into the afternoon session, as he was unhurt. Webber led Schumacher, Barrichello, Perez, and Massa as the fastest five in his session while teammate Vettel had Alonso, Webber, Massa, and Maldonado rounding out his fastest five. For Massa, Rosberg, Kobayashi, Hamilton, and Button were those able to post quicker times as the session closed on a drying track.

Q1:
di Resta led what looked like a battalion of cars onto the circuit as the clouds appeared to threaten rain at some point during the first, twenty-minute session of qualifying. Within two minutes, all drivers were on the track. The Scot’s first time was quickly beaten by Sutil and Kovalainen, with Hamtilton, then Alonso on the top of the timesheets. Barrichello and Maldonado quickly separated the former teammates, with Massa going second fastest.

Things seemed to settle down by five minutes into the session, with Alonso leading Massa, Webber, Barrichello, Maldonado, Vettel, di Resta, Kovalainen, Rosberg, and Kobayashi as the top ten. Soon, though, Vettel was on top with a 1:33.555. Alonso had a moment, running off through the grass and gravel at Luffield, though he managed to continue on. Barrichello next went fastest, with Webber soon supplanting him. The order never seemed to last long, as Massa went to the top, then did Maldonado. Vettel swapped position with Webber for third fastest, though it wasn’t fastest that was most concerning.

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F1 Silverstone FP3 Results & Report: Vettel Fastest of All in Only Dry Session

What Happens When Everything’s Back to Normal

6:17am EST — Sebastian Vettel (1:31.401) was quickest in Saturday morning’s final practice for the 2011 British Grand Prix, beating out Fernando Alonso with a lap time just six hundredths quicker. It was the only generally dry practice of the race weekend, despite some drizzle during the hour-long session and featured occasionally unexpected leaders. At the end, it was generally the usual suspects in the fastest ten, with Webber, Massa, Maldonado, Button, Kobayashi, Rosberg, Perez, and di Resta. Hamilton was a surprisingly slow thirteenth fastest while Schumacher was eleventh without the rain to equalize the cars.

Webber posted the fastest time of Friday’s practices during the damp morning session, as the afternoon was disrupted by heavy rain. The morning did feature wet conditions, but not to the extent of the British summer afternoon. In the morning, Schumacher, Barrichello, Perez, and Massa were the fastest five behind Webber, with Alonso (7th), Hamilton (8th), Vettel (13th), and Button (15th) farther down the order.

Though Kobayashi’s Sauber was the only casualty from the wet first session, after the Japanese driver lost control on wet kerbing and fake grass, the team got him out fifteen minutes into the very wet afternoon session. He was one of the few drivers to set even an installation lap in the first half of the session, as times did not really begin to be set until the final half hour. Though Webber led Alonso with five minutes to go, it was Massa who ended the session on top, with Rosberg, Kobayashi, Hamilton, and Button the top five. Webber and Alonso were forced down to fourteenth and fifteenth, respectively. Vettel, who ended his session a few minutes earlier and a bit slower, ended up eighteenth.

Despite clouds in the sky, conditions were comparatively quite dry for the final sixty-minute practice session Saturday morning at Silverstone. There was a rush for drivers to get out into the dry running, as all but Schumacher were out for an installation lap in the first five minutes of the session. However, all returned to the garage straightaway and set no immediate times. Soon, only Schumacher was out on the circuit with around ten minutes gone in the session. He did not set a complete timed lap, returning to the garage as D’Ambrosio, Trulli, Kovalainen, Maldonado, Perez, and Barrichello returned to the track.

Alguersuari (1:38.936) set the first time, thirteen minutes into the session, soon followed by D’Ambrosio and Trulli. However, Kovalainen had radioed in that it had begun to rain. Perez quickly took the lead, only to be displaced by Schumacher (1:36.228) by a margin of more than two seconds. Alguersuari slotted into second moments later, eight tenths off the German’s early pace.

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F1 Silverstone FP2 Results & Report: Massa Quickest In Rain-Slowed Session

What Happens When It’s All Upside-Down

9:42am EST — Felipe Massa (1:49.967) was fastest in the very wet Friday afternoon practice session for the 2011 British Grand Prix in the final lap of the session. Though the session was never red flagged, nearly half of the ninety-minutes session was spent in the garages as rain pelted down and left large standing puddles on the circuit. Nico Rosberg, Kamui Kobayashi, Lewis Hamilton, and Jenson Button completed the fastest five as times came quickly in the final minutes of the session. Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso, who led with five minutes to go and remained in the garage, were fourteenth and fifteenth fastest while Sebastian Vettel was eighteenth fastest.

Webber (1:46.603) topped the first practice session Friday morning in wet and drying conditions, with Schumacher, Barrichello, Perez, and Massa the fastest five. Alonso was seventh fastest, though he led much of the latter stages of the session, with Hamilton eighth, Vettel thirteenth, and Button fifteenth. Daniel Ricciardo was slowest in his debut as a full-time HRT driver, just under two tenths slower than teammate Tonio Liuzzi. Kamui Kobayashi provided the most dramatic moments of the session, losing control over the wet kerbing and Astroturf, launching his Sauber into the air and sliding into the tire barrier. He was unhurt and the session was not stopped, though the Sauber mechanics had quite the to job get his car back into race trim.

Just minutes before the second ninety-minute session began, what had been a somewhat drying circuit became wet again as rain began falling heavily. There was no rush for drivers to begin running, though Glock was the first driver out, a few minutes into the session. He returned to the garage after a single installation lap.

Alguersuari was the next to attempt a lap, having a twitchy time of it on his way around, though Buemi soon joined him. Ten minutes into the session, only Glock and Buemi had set two installation laps, while Alguersuari had two. Mike Gascoyne helpfully tweeted, “Forecast saying steady rain for the next 20mins. track is dangerous now,” adding later, “Also looks like more rain to follow afterwards on the radar.” Fifteen minutes into the session, Kobayashi was out for his installation lap, even after his heavy shunt in the morning session.

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F1 Silverstone FP1 Results & Report: Webber Fastest in 1st, Wet, Session

What Happens When It Rains…In Britain

5:49am EST — Mark Webber (1:46.603) was the fastest man in the first practice session for the 2011 British Grand Prix, leading Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Sergio Perez, and Felipe Massa as the fastest five on a wet and damp Silverstone circuit. Fernando Alonso, who ended the session seventh fastest, led much of the latter stages until Webber took well over a second off his best time. Though both Alonso and Lewis Hamilton took a turn trying out the special Pirelli medium compound for Friday use, a slick tire, the only major incident involved Kamui Kobayashi. He was caught out by the wet kerbs and faux grass on the main straight, launching his Sauber into the air and sliding heavily into the tire barrier. He was quickly out of the car.

The first practice was declared a wet session, though the earlier rain stop minutes before the ninety minute session began. As was usual, Virgin Racing’s D’Ambrosio was the first out, with a surprising number of drivers out for installation laps in the first few minutes on the wet track. Fifteen minutes into the session, no one had yet set a time, and most of the drivers were back in their updated Silverstone garages.

D’Ambrosio was the first to set a time a few minutes later, with a time of 2:03.001 and a rooster tail of wet still streaming behind his and the other cars circulating. Rosberg and Barrichello outpaced him minutes later, taking over ten seconds off his time as the track began to dry out more. Still, the circuit wasn’t that dry, with Alonso suffering a spin at Vale. Webber, Schumacher, and Button soon also set times, with Button’s second fast lap displacing Rosberg at the top. It was Webber’s turn next to go fastest with a 1:50.032.

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MotoGP Indy: A Day of Heat, Offs, and Announcements

What Happens When the Heat is On

6:37pm EST — Friday at Indianapolis started with the pitwalkabout and ended with a sunburn.  The weather, as anyone affiliated with the circuit will tell you regularly is the best possible, after two years of horrible and not so great weather.  Many of the teams were quite set up and ready to go, with only cleaning and such happening around the garages Friday morning when the fans were let loose along pitlane.  There was a general groan when the garage door went down at Fiat Yamaha, as there was an interview for MotoGP with Jeremy Burgess and Valentino Rossi.  Somehow the fans gathered around didn’t know the Italian was behind the door, though the crowd dext door grew exponentially when Ben Spies signed some autographs after the first big (and already known) announcement of the weekend.  The American will replace departing Rossi at Fiat Yamaha for 2011.  Jorge Lorenzo, as he reminded a crowd later in the day, has not yet signed, but it is presumed to be only a formality.  Herve Poncharal told the assembled that he hopes to keep Colin Edwards and gain Cal Crutchlow for 2011 at Tech 3 Yamaha.

Meanwhile, IMS also announced that they had signed a deal to stay on the MotoGP calendar for 2011, though not schedulded next to Laguna Seca as many had hoped and speculated.  The schedule will be reviewed for 2012 and beyond, as the contract is only for next year.  In somewhat related news, Ducati (maybe to pay Rossi’s salary, but definitely as a response to the team’s generally terrible results so far this season) has withdrawn their World Superbike team for 2011.

The premier class bikes did not take to the track until nearly two pm, in a session marked by offs for the American riders.  Nicky Hayden slid off about halfway through and got up checking his left wrist while Ben Spies had the worst luck, sliding off at Turn 8 in the final minutes of the session.  He appeared unhurt, popping right up to check on the bike, but walked to the corner workers favoring his right wrist.  Times dropped right down  in those minutes Spies lost to his crash and return to the garage, despite Casey Stoner’s dominance of the session.  Lorenzo was a half second behind, with Hayden keeping up the momentum after his crash to be third fastest.  It was not the best session for Rossi either, with the Italian posting the fifth fastest time at the end.  Pictures will be posted later this evening or in the morning.

Final Times for FP1:
1. Stoner 1:40.884
2. Lorenzo 1:41.109
3. Hayden 1:41.405
4. Pedrosa 1:41.421
5. Rossi 1:41.623
6. Edwards 1:41.664
7. Dovizioso 1:41.683
8. Spies 1:41. 722
9. Espargaro 1:41.992
10. Melandri 1:42.147
11. Simoncelli 1:42.268
12. Barbera 1:42.368
13. Kallio 1:42.600
14. Bautista 1:42.696
15. Capirossi 1:42.790
16. Aoyama 1:42.874
17. de Puniet 1:42.987

MotoGP Indy: Scattered Thoughts and Random Pictures from Indianapolis

What Happens When a Yellow Shirt Says You’re Not Allowed

5:21pm EST — Tomorrow the action starts, but today is a day of media attention and fan shenanigans.  Here in Indy (without a press pass and special access), the only time to see or hear form any riders was around noon at the Indiana war volunteers monument when some of the MotoGPRU riders, Ben Spies, Roger Lee Hayden, Kevin Schwanz, and Kenny Noyes had a meet and greet and faux interview by Ralph Sheehen.  Riders from the public followed the MotoGPRU boys into Monument Circle while those with names more recognizable stood around looking uncomfortable and interacting with fans (not uncomfortably).  Pictures from that event as well as the Indianapolis Speedway museum are available through this link at the On Any Sunday, These Days Facebook page, as well as the VMRonSunday Twitpic account.  For an interesting way to spend some time, MotoGP fan or not, there are some pictures of the museum, as well as of some riders/engineers walking, running, bicycling, and scootering around the circuit.  As a side note, Jorge Lorenzo appears to enjoy sushi, at least according to his dining choice Wednesday night, and women (though not this one) have absolutely no shame in removing his raised hood to give him a kiss.  There’s not much else to say right now, but there will certainly be continued live coverage of the pitwalkabout and first practice on Friday here and through my Twitter account.  Look for minute-by-minute coverage and posted pictures.