Nico Rosberg has won the British Formula One Grand Prix. The German driver came first after Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton fell victim to tire failure and Sebastian Vettel's car broke down.
Hamilton's tire explosion Sunday was just one of several such incidents at Silverstone. Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne had to deal with tire explosions along with Hamilton between the eighth and 15th laps. Sergio Perez suffered a similar fate late in the race.
Red Bull's Vettel had taken first place after Hamilton's blowout, but then he too was stopped after a gear box failure with just 10 laps to go.
The misfortune for Hamilton and Vettel was good fortune for Rosberg, who grabbed his second victory of the season.
"It is fantastic, a very, very special day," Rosberg said. "I am very proud to be sitting here in a silver arrow and to win on this historic track."
Vettel keeps championship lead
Vettel still maintains the championship lead with 132 points, but Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso made up ground against the three-time world champion with a third place finish on Sunday, giving him 111 points.
Australia's Mark Webber fought back from 14th place after the first lap to finish second by just 0.7 seconds to continue his run of podium finishes at Silverstone dating back to 2009.
"When Sebastian stopped, I won't lie. I wasn't disappointed by that one. And it was just a great race from then," Rosberg said. "With Lewis, I feel sorry for all the British fans. It would have been a great race for Lewis here in front of his home crowd. That's racing sometimes."
Hamilton had started the race on pole position and had led for the first eight laps until his left rear tire exploded. He dropped to 21st place after pitting in 18th, but ended up finishing fourth after a mighty effort. The British driver was visibly angry after the race.
"It was quite dangerous," Hamilton said. "I was thinking of stopping. I don't know why I have to put my life at risk for these damn tires."
Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen finished fifth to set a Formula One record of 25 straight points finishes, besting Michael Schumacher's previous record of 24. Massa recovered from his tire blowout to finish sixth.
F1 resumes next weekend with the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring on Sunday.
dr/kms (dpa, Reuters, AFP)