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Class of the Field
Adam Barton

A Formula One fan since he was six, back while Häkkinen and Schumacher were having many an epic battle, Adam has seen a great deal. From German domination (twice), to British determination (once) and a Spanish invasion. A near compulsive fan who one day hopes to write about the sport for a living, outside of F1 Adam also authors his own blog One Guy's Opinion.

Grosjean shines again as Silverstone finally dries out - Where Mark Webber takes victory, plenty more show their worth


Another race in 2012, and we leave surprised and amazed at the standard of racing and level of excitement that this year can throw at us. It was a race where Red Bull and Ferrari confirmed their advantage at the front of the field; once the track wasn’t underwater of course. But other drivers made the most of what they had or, in the case of Romain Grosjean, recovering from a difficult start.

Grosjean continues good form

Romain left playing catch-up
Romain left playing catch-upCredit: Andrew Ferraro/LAT

After a collision at the start, Romain Grosjean was left playing catch-up. There was little he or Paul di Resta could do to avoid each other at the start, although (and I hate apportioning blame to drivers for every little incident) if you were to blame someone, Di Resta moved over a little too far with Grosjean on the extreme outside of the track. That left the Lotus driver missing his front wing’s left end fence and it was a case of damage limitation during the first stint, putting in the best times he could with a car that was clearly struggling with understeer. He was gradually going backwards as cars could turn into the fast corners of Silverstone with far more confidence than him.

Grosjean struggled through the first two laps as the incident with Di Resta had a surprisingly big effect on the handling of his Lotus. He had fallen right into the middle of the pack by the end of the second lap and had to make up a lot of time once he was out again. Grosjean then proceeded through the field to sixth, having to extend the life of the hard tyres as he made a two stop strategy work with long stints. After his early stop, he had very good pace and showed once again that he is the man to look at when you want to know the true pace of the Lotus, knowing that he had to make the tyres last beyond their recommended usage.

It wasn’t a perfect weekend for Grosjean as he stuck the car in the gravel on a needless lap at the end of Q2. This mistake left him tenth on the grid, when a top 5 slot was possible and also put him in the vicinity of di Resta at the start, as Grosjean alluded to after the race.

It was a shame but there's nothing you can really do in these situations. I think the best thing is to qualify on pole or second place and then it's easier in the first corners...

- Romain Grosjean

Nonetheless, after his drive yesterday, I remain confident that Romain will win a race at some point this year.

Ferrari complete recovery

Both Ferrari drivers were on song when it counted over the weekend. Fernando Alonso will take the plaudits as he got Ferrari’s first pole in two years and looked odds on to repeat his win of twelve months ago for much of the race. But Felipe Massa had without doubt his strongest race of the season. During Q3, I was desperate for him to stick his prancing horse on pole, proving his many critics that he still had the pace.

Nonetheless, fifth was a good effort and he proved that he wasn’t aided by the bad weather as he raced well to fourth, just seven seconds behind Fernando. It’s not even like Alonso was coasting late in the race, he was giving it his all to fight for the victory. Felipe also fought for much of the race with last year’s dominant champion, again showing how strong a drive it was.

Even if this isn’t a flash in the pan, I think it’s unlikely the Brazilian will remain at the Italian giants next year, but it's nice that he has shown good pace over the last four grands prix. The result for Ferrari proves that they have well and truly recovered from their disastrous early season pace, as they leapt into second in the constructors’ championship ahead of Lotus and McLaren. The pace they showed at Silverstone leaves us with a titanic scrap for one, if not both of the titles this year.

Webber on the march

It was great to see Mark Webber put in another sterling performance and make up for last year when he was banned from overtaking the dominant Sebastian Vettel despite the fact he was actually quicker than him.

How will Red Bull handle Webber's pace?
How will Red Bull handle Webber's pace?Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images

It was a great drive by the Aussie and, if I’m honest, it snuck up on me as I thought Alonso was going to hold out for a third victory of the season. But Webber made his strategy pay as he had the grip late in the race to push Alonso all the way and pull off a fantastic manoeuvre around the outside of Brooklands. The victory really does cement his standing in Red Bull and we are left in the same situation as 2010, when the favoured son lagged behind in the championship. How will Red Bull handle it this time?

Schumacher puts in another strong drive

After a dismal start to the year, I think that Schumacher deserves a mention for a controlled drive. It is clear now that Mercedes don’t have the race pace that they did early in the season and Michael managed best of the rest behind the teams that are clearly pulling away in terms of speed. It was a performance that showed when Schumacher has a clear race, he does have the pace to at least rival Nico Rosberg, if not beat him as he did comfortably on Sunday. Even if Schumacher went backwards in the race, he drove to the maximum of the car’s ability to pick up some well earned points.

Big names falling backwards

Perhaps being a race winner has got to him

At the start of the year, McLaren had a dominant car and although it was expected that others would catch-up at some point, the drop off has been extraordinary, particularly for a team that is used to recovering late in the season. I think McLaren rued the points they have dropped through mistakes and unreliability more at Silverstone than they have all season. They were stuck racing in the pack for the tail end of the points. Something needs to be done to keep this great team from plunging to embarrassing depths this year and to allow Hamilton and Button to recover in the championship.

Finally, one man who can’t do anything right at the moment is Pastor Maldonado. Since his win in Barcelona, he has made countless errors and made many enemies in the F1 paddock. Perhaps being a race winner has got to him and made him a little over-confident; or he has been found out as people now expect more than he can deliver. He will be hoping for a quiet weekend in Germany to get his season back on track, rather than thinking of the championship.

So F1 is off to Germany in two weeks time with a clear pecking order for once. There are sizeable gaps appearing between the big teams and it is up to those falling back to claw their way towards the front. I am sure Lotus and McLaren will be thinking long and hard about the points that they could have had so far this season, but will have to look ahead to the rest of the season rather than dwelling on the disappointment if they are to recover.