One grassy moment aside, from the moment he burst off the grid, Lewis Hamilton's drive to an ultra-dominant win in the treacherous wet conditions was peerless; more than a minute ahead of second placed Nick Heidfeld, and joined by only one other rival - Honda's Rubens Barrichello - on the lead lap. The result sets up a tantalizing three-way tie, with the two Ferrari drivers, for the lead of the drivers' world championship, with BMW's Robert Kubica only two more points back. Hamilton's teammate and pole sitter Heikki Kovalainen was less impressive in the wet, spinning twice and finishing a lap down and fifth. "He shouldn't feel too disappointed because he demonstrated that his racing skills are beyond question," said team boss Ron Dennis.
Heidfeld drove well, executing some spectacular passing moves and enjoying good strategy decisions to secure his third second place of the 2008 season, albeit more than a minute behind the winner. "Qualifying went well and in the race we did everything right," said the German, who has often struggled for pace in 2008. Conversely, Kubica's ultra-consistent season so far hit a snag at Silverstone, and he terminally aquaplaned into the gravel in the race, but he is now just 2 points behind the trio of championship leaders.
At the wheel of the unlikeliest of cars - the mediocre RA108 - Rubens Barrichello drove through the British spray to the 62nd podium of his long career, aided by the astute decisions to switch to the right wet tires, that meant he even passed winner Hamilton at one point. He might even have finished second, if not for a faulty fuel rig. Jenson Button spun on a puddle and into retirement at Bridge corner.
Disaster is an extreme word, but the reality of Ferrari's day and weekend at Silverstone was not too far away from that description, with Kimi Raikkonen's fourth place the only consolation -- not to mention both his and Felipe Massa's joint lead with Hamilton in the drivers' championship. Raikkonen set the fastest lap of the race and looked on course to challenge Hamilton, until the misguided decision was made to not change his tires at the first pitstop. Massa's race was an unmitigated disaster; he spun at least five times and finished dead last, the only runner to be lapped twice. "I could hardly keep the car in a straight line," the Brazilian rued.
Fernando Alonso finished sixth with poor pace late in the race, also lamenting the decision to keep the same tires on his car at his first pitstop. "We could have probably had a better result today," he said. Teammate Nelson Piquet did change tires at his pitstop, but he aquaplaned into the gravel in the downpour.
Jarno Trulli finished seventh but regrets not joining Barrichello in switching to the extreme wet tires amid the hardest rain. "We should have gone for it. It's a pity because I was driving so strongly that we could have made the podium," he said. Timo Glock struggled on the standard wets in the rain, spinning twice and finishing second to last.
Nico Rosberg started from the pitlane and had an unscheduled visit to the pits to replace a damaged nose after he ran into the back of Glock, finishing ninth. Kazuki Nakajima did better to collect the final point, meaning he and teammate Rosberg have each scored 8 points so far this year, but the Japanese was on course for seventh at Silverstone until he was passed by Trulli on the very last lap.
Mark Webber started on the front row of the grid but admits to having "dropped it" on a white line at Becketts on the first lap. He was tenth at the chequered flag after a second spin, which was better than David Coulthard's first lap clash and retirement along with Red Bull stablemate Sebastian Vettel. "I'm sorry for him that we made contact and went into the gravel, I'm sorry for Red Bull too, as it was two cars out in one hit," Coulthard, at his last home grand prix as a driver, said.
Vettel got stuck in the gravel following a hit from the rear by Coulthard. Sebastien Bourdais, who spun once, crossed the line eleventh of the thirteen finishers.
Adrian Sutil aquaplaned on a puddle and spectacularly spun into retirement on lap 11. Giancarlo Fisichella followed suit with a spin into the Becketts gravel on lap 27.
Although missing out on the top spot, Australia’s Mark Webber will start at the front row of the grid at the British GP after a tough day of qualifying. His team mate, David Coulthard, lost track time due to an oil leak in the morning of qualifying and will have to start from 11th spot. On pole is McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen, followed by Webber and Kimi Raikkonen in second and third spots respectively. Championship leader Felipe Massa will start at 9th place after a problem fitting a rear wheel in the decisive third sessions slowed him down.
From the opening lap on Friday, Heikki Kovalainen - to start from the first pole position of his F1 career - has dominated the weekend so far. His advantage over teammate Lewis Hamilton (P4) in qualifying, when the local hero ran into the gravel on his first Q3 run, was a cavernous eight tenths. "Obviously I just pushed a little bit too hard and it's a pity that I missed the front row," the Briton said.
For the first time since 2006, Mark Webber - also P2 in the damp morning practice - is on the front row of the grid; a first for Red Bull. "We're expecting to have some trouble keeping the Ferraris and McLarens behind us (in the race)," the Australian said. David Coulthard lost track time with an oil leak in the morning and is P11.
The red cars have been slightly off-color at Silverstone, but Kimi Raikkonen pulled out the third best time in Q3. Championship leader Felipe Massa is a lowly P9 after a problem fitting a rear wheel in the decisive Q3. "Compared with last week's test it seems we have taken a step backwards," said team official Luca Baldisserri.
Light and shade in the BMW-Sauber pits; Nick Heidfeld showing some pace with P5, and Robert Kubica - despite looking just two tenths slower than the McLarens in Q1 and Q2 - ultimately stranded in P10 with some sort of technical fault at the rear of his car.
Fernando Alonso topped the damp morning timesheet, and teammate Nelson Piquet was also top-6. They will line up a promising P6 and 7 on Sunday's grid, with engineering boss Pat Symonds revealing both have "good fuel loads".
The bold letters atop Toro Rosso's post-qualifying press document exclaimed 'Best ever', in tribute to the consistently quick Sebastian Vettel's P8 on the grid, complemented by Sebastien Bourdais, a few tenths arrears as usual (P13).
Timo Glock (P12) has looked the measure of teammate Jarno Trulli (P14) at Silverstone, but the pair have not been competitive, despite a promising pre-race test here. "I went for a wet setup in case we have a wet race tomorrow. Now I just hope that will pay off," a disconsolate Trulli said.
A bad weekend and qualifying for Williams, with Nico Rosberg's oddly bouncing car dropping out in Q1, and Kazuki Nakajima (P15) faring little better. "We've obviously been trying to find a solution to my suspension problem, but so far nothing has worked," Rosberg said.
Along with the slowest Force Indias and Rosberg's struggling Williams, both Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button ignominiously dropped out in Q1, which at the very end was affected by a sprinkle of rain. "I'm afraid that reflects the true potential of the car on a dry track," Barrichello said.
Giancarlo Fisichella, who spectacularly spun his car near the end of his last attempt and also had trouble with a loose engine cover, is last on the grid, just bettered by his teammate Adrian Sutil. "We are not too far away from the others," Sutil said.