Nico Rosberg has been allowed to keep his British Grand Prix victory after the Mercedes driver was reprimanded by the stewards for failing to slow for yellow flags during yesterday’s race.
Rosberg crossed the line first on a dramatic day at Silverstone, capitalising on a mechanical failure on Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull in a race marred by four identical Pirelli tyre failures.
But the FIA had asked Rosberg and a team representative to report to the race stewards, with 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell among their number, for appearing to fail to observe the yellow flags.
However, he was reprimanded, rather than handed a time penalty, rubber-stamping his second win of the season and third of his career.
Rosberg committed the offence between turns three and five at 14.06pm and, while the stewards found he had not made the required significant reduction in speed required, a reprimand was deemed sufficient punishment.
Once Vettel retired with a gearbox problem at the end of lap 41, Rosberg held off Mark Webber’s late charge to take the win by just 0.7 seconds.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso took advantage of championship leader Vettel’s troubles with third place, closing his deficit to the German to 21 points.
Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton was fourth, but was left bitterly frustrated having led the early laps before becoming the first driver to fall victim to a Pirelli tyre failure.
Hamilton had made full use of his pole position to dominate the opening laps, and was edging away from second-placed Vettel when his tyre failed spectacularly as he was building speed on the Wellington Straight.
The mishap dropped him to dead last, although an inspired recovery saw him pick up a handy haul of points.
But the 28-year-old was frustrated to have missed out on another Silverstone win, to go with his masterful wet-weather drive in 2008.
He said: “I’m disappointed by today’s race and I would have loved to deliver the win this afternoon for all the British fans here at Silverstone.
“The race started so well for us today; I felt comfortable out in front and was managing my pace. The tyre problem was such a shame and from then it was just a case of giving it my all and battling as far up the field as possible.
“I had some good overtaking moves and, given another lap, I might have got Fernando and ended up on the podium.”
Button was never likely to secure his first British GP podium finish such have been McLaren’s travails this season.
But the 2009 world champion was annoyed to have missed out on a top-10 finish as the decision not to make a third stop for fresh rubber backfired.
“Our pace wasn’t too bad, but the last stint was particularly tough,” said Button.
“After the final safety car, there wasn’t a lot of tread left on my tyres, so getting them up to temperature was very tricky – we struggle with that anyway.”
Alonso should have had more to cheer about than Button and Hamilton, but cut a surprisingly glum figure despite having narrowed Vettel’s lead by finishing on the podium after starting ninth.
The Spaniard bemoaned Ferrari’s lack of speed, saying: “We were not fast in qualifying and not fast in the race – definitely this weekend we did not manage to get the tyres to work.
“We have been very lucky. I also had a tyre problem, my right rear-tyre disintegrated but it was at the last corner and I was able to pit.
“It was a very lucky and I just need to be very thankful for the team.”
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