Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso treated fans watching today’s British Grand Prix to an epic battle on track even though they were only fighting for fifth position.
The two drivers have six world championships between them, and this showed as they tussled for position throughout the race at Silverstone.
After the race was red flagged following Kimi Raikkonen’s crash on lap one, Red Bull opted to switch Vettel to the hard tire for the restart. On the slower compound, he struggled, allowing Alonso to make a brave pass on the entry to Copse and move ahead on the mediums.
However, the thinking behind Red Bull’s decision became clear as the race developed. With 15 laps to go, Vettel closed on Alonso and began to hound him for fifth position. The Spaniard bravely defended around the final complex of corners, infuriating Vettel who claimed that they were close to crashing.
Vettel continued to apply pressure, but Alonso would just not yield. Both drivers reported each other to FIA race director Charlie Whiting, with Alonso accused of being too aggressive and Vettel apparently exceeding track limits. Thankfully, no action was taken and the two drivers were able to juke it out on track.
Following many whining radio calls, Vettel eventually found a way past heading into Copse and crossed the line in fifth place.
“It felt very close with Fernando,” Vettel said after the race. “Maybe a bit too close! It got a bit silly when we both started to complain about the other going off track; I don’t think the people care too much if the car is a little bit to the left or the right.
“I got the message that I should respect the limits and that he was complaining, so I was doing the same thing. I’m not sure who won the list keeping. I think twice it was maybe a bit too harsh into turn six, but it was good to get the move at the end.
“I expected to get third today, the pace was there but the strategy wasn’t right. I’m looking forward to my home race in Germany; it’s always special to race there.”