The dramatic race saw several incidents and changes of lead, plus one safety car period. Sebastian Vettel had controlled the race from his pole position, edging out a dominant lead over Romain Grosjean before the safety car was deployed due to Jean-Eric Vergne and Heikki Kovalainen’s incident. After a quick pit stop, Sebastian retained the lead, however his RB7 came to a halt with an alternator failure on lap 34.
Romain Grosjean, who had moved into second position ahead of Lewis Hamilton before the first round of pit stops, had lost out to Alonso after the safety car restart, but was still in touch with the Spaniard. However, the Lotus driver’s race came to a premature end on lap 41 with an alternator problem that caused the engine to lose drive.
Williams F1 Team’s Pastor Maldonado, who had started from third in the grid, tried to pass the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton for third two laps from the end but the pair clashed. Hamilton went into the tyre barrier and Pastor lost his front wing, but finished the race in tenth position. He however dropped out of the points after a 20 seconds post-race penalty was applied for the clash with Hamilton. Team-mate Bruno Senna finished in 11th after a clash with the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi on lap 20 left him with a right rear puncture, plus a drivethrough penalty. He moves up to 10th after Pastor’s penalty.
Caterham F1 Team had an exceptional weekend, with Heikki Kovalainen outqualifying both Toro Rossos and securing a Q2 slot. His race performance was, however, hampered by first a KERS issue and then an incident with the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne, which left him with a front right puncture. Vitaly Petrov stayed clear of all the incidents and looked well-placed to give Caterham its first-ever points in 10th until he clashed with the sister Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo in the last part of the race and lost his front wing. The Russian finished in 13th.
Rémi Taffin, head of Renaultsport F1 track operations
A very dramatic race on almost every lap! Congratulations to Kimi on his result, equalling his best of the year, and to our partners at Lotus for reading the race exactly right and scoring its fifth podium of the season. Well done to Mark Webber as well for a great race from the back of the grid – with everything that was happening that’s no mean achievement.
However, we do need to hold our hands up and apologise to both Red Bull and Lotus on the problems on the sister cars of Sebastian and Romain. Both suffered alternator failures, although it seems for different reasons at this point in time. Sebastian’s overheated and the engine shut down, while Romain’s alternator failed and the electrical power to the engine stopped. We will of course thoroughly investigate the reasons for this when we get the units back to Viry to try and ensure that Red Bull and Lotus, plus our other partners, do not have the same issue in the future. Similarly, we will also work to understand the reasons for Heikki’s KERS failure – there is a lot of work to be done between now and Silverstone but we have a strong team and resources in the factory.