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Aussie fastest at British GP

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Danner Reviews Fastest Lap at British Grand Prix

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DHL F1 Expert's Fastest Lap Tip for German GP

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Retiring Red Bull driver, Mark Webber, sets Fastest Lap of the FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX on his final tour in a bid to reel in leader Nico Rosberg. That’s back-to-back fastest laps for the Australian.

Apparently Mark Webber’s pending retirement is not slowing him down. After setting the fastest lap in Montréal and following his somewhat surprising retirement announcement last week, the 36-year-old Australian made a stunning charge into second place in the closing laps of the British Grand Prix that nearly netted him his first checkered flag of 2013. The chase led to a flurry of fastest laps by the leaders that kept fans on the edge of their seats right to the end.

“Toward the end of the race he was chasing the leader, Nico Rosberg, and he was just about close enough to catch him,” said DHL’s F1 Expert and former F1 driver Christian Danner after the race. “However, when the race was over Rosberg had eked out a victory for Mercedes while the second place and Fastest Lap went to Webber in the Red Bull.”

Watch the video above and get a cockpit view of Mark’s Fastest Lap.

The Australian completed his final tour of the day in 1min 33.401sec – 130 hundredths of a second ahead of his German rival, who was doing everything he could to stay out front since Sebastian Vettel’s transmission trouble opened the door for him to slide into P1 in lap 42.

Clever strategy and pure speed
Mark Webber has a history of bad luck off the grid in Formula One. Sadly, Silverstone this year was no different. After a good initial start from P4, the Australian quickly found himself in P14 at the end of lap 1 after a brush with Lotus driver Romain Grosjean left him with a damaged front wing – a shocking déjà vu from Canada.

Like Montréal, however, Webber immediately set aside unlucky lap 1 and began carving his way up the leaderboard.

By lap 15 he was in P9 when the safety car came out on the track and team Red Bull worked this to their advantage. As soon as racing resumed in lap 22, Webber immediately went on the attack and was in P6 by lap 31, moving into P4 when the second round of pit stops began.

The team’s strategy would pay off yet again. After pitting to put on the medium-compound Pirellis and resuming the race in P11, the Aussie attacked again, setting the fastest lap of the race in lap 33 with the time of 1min 35.413s. By lap 35 he was back in P4.

The game changed again in lap 41 when race leader and teammate, Vettel, was forced to retire due to a faulty gearbox. With the safety car out, Red Bull sent Webber in for a new set of medium tires. No longer needing to watch the wear and knowing he was one of the fastest men on the track, Red Bull’s number two set his sights on the leaders.

Fastest lap flurry
Webber wasted no time passing STR-Ferrari’s Daniel Ricciardo and Force India-Mercedes’ Adrian Sutil in laps 46 and 47, both at famed Brooklands corner. Finish driver Kimi Raikkonen fought him off in the Lotus at the same corner in lap 48 only to fall to the Australian one turn later in front of a cheering crowd at Luffield corner grandstands.

Now 1.35 seconds behind Rosberg, Webber began to trade fastest laps with the leader as the Mercedes driver was forced to match Red Bull’s speed to stay ahead. Webber piloted the fastest time of the day in the final lap of the race to close the gap and cross the finish line a mere 0.7 seconds behind Rosberg.

“It was a pretty wild race,” Webber told Sky Sports. “If you’d have said ‘give me second place’ after the first lap, of course I would’ve taken it! But to finish 0.7 seconds behind the winner... I gave everything I could to come back to Nico. [...] I did what I could. [...] It would have been a lot of cherries on top of the cake if I could’ve pulled a win off, but it wasn’t the case. Still a very good result.”

Not going quietly

Mark Webber surprised the world of motorsports last week when he announced his retirement from Formula One at the end of the 2013 season. With back-to-back Fastest Laps, the 2011 DHL Fastest Lap Champion is obviously not going to drive quietly into the F1 sunset. The veteran pilot has finished in the points in every race this season save the Chinese Grand Prix, where he was forced to retire prematurely on lap 17 when the rear right wheel slipped off his car.

Webber is currently running fifth in the drivers’ table with 87 points – only two points behind Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

The soon-to-be Formula One retiree will leave behind a fantastic fastest lap legacy. Take a quick look back at Mark’s F1 tenure and fastest lap results here.

The standings
Despite a blown gearbox, Sebastian Vettel remains at the top of the drivers’ table with 132 points, but Fernando Alonso – now at 111 – is getting much closer.

Red Bull Racing-Renault still leads the Constructors’ Championship with 219 points. Mercedes overtook Ferrari and they are now only three points apart.

With back-to-back Fastest Laps, Mark Webber is now the lead chaser behind teammate Vettel with three.

F1 News Briefs:
Iceman breaks Schumi’s record: Lotus driver Kim Räikkönen finished in the points for the 25th consecutive Grand Prix, overtaking Michael Schumacher’s long-held record.

Tires, tires tires: Pirelli’s Pneu tires are back in the spotlight after multiple tire failures wreaked havoc on the Silverstone Circuit. The drivers are not amused. Mercedes’ Hamilton called it “unacceptable.” Pirelli has announced it will strengthen the tires for the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring this weekend. Starting in Hungary on July 28, teams will return to the 2012 tire design.

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