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Vettel romps to Silverstone win

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel takes the chequered flag at Silverstone

Highlights - British Grand Prix (UK users only)

By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport at Silverstone

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel scored a crushing victory in the British Grand Prix as championship leader Jenson Button's Brawn struggled to sixth.

Vettel took advantage of his team-mate Mark Webber being caught behind Brawn's Rubens Barrichello to build a decisive lead in the first stint of the race.

Webber passed Barrichello at the first pit stops to complete a Red Bull one-two ahead of the Brawn driver in third.

Last year's winner Lewis Hamilton was 16th in a car he said had "no grip".

Felipe Massa's Ferrari was fourth after winning a battle with the Williams of Nico Rosberg. Behind Button, Toyota's Jarno Trulli and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen took the final points positions in seventh and eighth.

We can really mount a championship challenge from here

Red Bull's Christian Horner

The result leaves Button with a reduced but still substantial championship lead of 23 points over Barrichello, with Vettel two further points adrift and 3.5 ahead of Webber.

Button's advantage is still more than two clear victories but, with more than half the season still to go, he will be concerned by the startling pace shown by Red Bull, who introduced a major upgrade to their car and were in a league of their own throughout the weekend at Silverstone.

"It was a completely seamless race by both drivers and they completely dominated it," said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

"We can really mount a championship challenge from here."

Brawn's potential was reduced by the low temperatures in Northamptonshire - both Button and Barrichello struggled to get their tyres up to the temperature at which they give their optimum grip.

That put the season's dominant team back into the battle with Williams, Toyota and Ferrari behind the leaders - a position from which they did well to finish third and sixth.

Sebastian Vettel

The car worked perfectly - Vettel (UK users only)

Red Bull, by contrast, had looked strong favourites as soon as their updated RB5 car showed its pace in practice in Friday.

Vettel was on pole by more than half a second and he made the most of the fact that Webber, after a frustrating qualifying session, was stuck behind Barrichello on the grid and could not pass him in the opening laps.

The German rising star, 21, pulled away by about a second a lap over the first stint, and was nearly 20 seconds in front of Barrichello by the time the Brazilian became the first of the top three to stop on lap 19.

"It's never easy it's a long race - you have to stay focused and keep your eyes open all the time," said Vettel.

"The start was very important and in the first stint I tried to push as hard as I could and make a gap.

"That worked perfectly and I had a fantastic car. The tyres were fantastic as well. This was a step in the right direction."

Webber, who spent the first stint less than a second behind the Brawn, came in on the next lap, and made up enough time to exit the pits just ahead of Barrichello.

606: DEBATE
King_Alonso786

From that moment, a Red Bull one-two was locked on barring any unforeseen misfortune.

Barrichello found himself holding off the Williams of Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa's Ferrari - a battle he won by staying out for a couple of extra laps before his final stop and rejoining with a comfortable advantage.

Massa jumped Rosberg at their final stops and in the closing laps they found themselves coming under increasing pressure from Button.

Brawn had decided to save a set of the quicker softer tyres until the final stint, when both Massa and Rosberg were on the harder and slower of the two tyre compounds teams are obliged to use in the race.

That meant Button was much faster than the Ferrari and Williams in the final few laps. The home crowd cheered him on, but although the Englishman closed in on them he was unable to pass.

"I didn't know what was going happen today," he told BBC Sport.

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton and Alonso do battle down the field

"I had good pace when I was on the soft tyres. The pace in the last stint compared to Rosberg and Massa was magnificent. [But] I had nowhere to go at the start. Everybody shot by on the outside. It is down to [our] tyre temperatures today."

World champion Hamilton - now 11th in the 2009 drivers' championship - started the race in 19th and, after a brief but engaging battle with Renault's two-time former world champion Fernando Alonso, finished 16th.

"I was pushing all the way and I the most important thing for me today was to give something to the fans," he said. "All I could do was try my best.

"This has been the best race in terms of the crowd for a long time in F1. I enjoyed it because of the fans and they gave me so much energy today, regardless of how bad we are doing."



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