Rosberg wins amid tire safety debate

Updated: 2013-07-02 06:20

By Agence France-Presse in Silverstone, Britain (China Daily)

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 Rosberg wins amid tire safety debate

Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany celebrates after winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, England, on Sunday. Darren Staples / Reuters

Vettel fails to finish; home victory eludes local hope Hamilton

Nico Rosberg won, but his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton took as many plaudits when he recovered from a massive tire explosion to finish fourth in a thrilling British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday.

However, Rosberg's joy was later put on ice as he was called before the race stewards to explain why he didn't slow down for the yellow flags between bends three and five over an hour into the race.

He emerged smiling after escaping with a reprimand as the stewards could have stripped him of the victory.

In a race marred by four tire failures and two safety car interventions, Hamilton lost the lead before fighting back from last place and then led the calls for urgent attention to this year's controversial problems with the fast-failing low-durability Pirelli tires.

"The safety is the biggest issue, it's unacceptable ..., " said the 28-year-old 2008 world champion.

"We had that tire test (in Spain in May) to improve the tire and to have four blowouts is unacceptable.

"It's only when someone gets hurt that someone will be doing something about it.

"I think it's a waste of time talking to the FIA (International Motoring Federation), and if they don't do anything that says a lot about them."

His former teammate Jenson Button of McLaren concurred: "There is nothing to be said - everyone can see what happened."

Button, the 2009 world champion but who has never won his home race in 14 years, said that the tire issue had to be sorted out.

"We've had five tires fail over the last few days, so it's a big issue and something that needs to be sorted out.

"It doesn't change how you drive, but of course it's on your mind. Happening at 300 kph, like for Checo (Perez), it's not right. It's not just dangerous for the driver in the car, it's dangerous for all the other cars.

"The cars behind get hit by rubber that has metal in it. It's got to change. I don't think anything needs to be said. We all know the situation."

As the drivers' reflected on the dangers of Pirelli's succession of tire failures in the aftermath of the race, and the controversy that followed Mercedes' 'secret' test with Pirelli last month in Spain, the FIA's president, Frenchman Jean Todt, held emergency meetings with the Italian suppliers.

Rosberg had words of consolation for Hamilton.

"With Lewis, I feel sorry for all the British fans," said the German, who celebrated his 28th birthday on Thursday.

"It would have been great for Lewis. It's always a massive disappointment, but that's racing. Sebastian (Vettel) stopped, I won't lie, I wasn't disappointed by that one. From then on, it was just a great race."

Rosberg survived huge late pressure from retirement-bound Australian Mark Webber of Red Bull to claim his second win of the season.

It was Mercedes' first victory in Britain since Stirling Moss won in 1955 at Aintree and Rosberg's second in three races and third of his career.

Rosberg, who won earlier in the season in Monaco, said it was a wonderful moment for him to win a race his Finnish father, 1982 world champion Keke, never won.

"This is a very special day for our team in our home race," he said.

"We are progressing all the time so it's a very special day for me and the team today."

Webber, who had won this race twice, said he felt happy but also frustrated at just falling short.

"It was frustrating, but the boys did a great job," said the 37-year-old.

"There were a lot of issues with the tires and we were lucky and it was a clean race for us."

(China Daily 07/02/2013 page22)