Webber beats Alonso to British Grand Prix win

2012 British Grand Prix review

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Mark Webber lost pole position to Fernando Alonso by a tiny margin at Silverstone on Saturday.

But Webber turned the tables on race day, chasing down and passing Alonso to score his second victory in the British Grand Prix.

Alonso pulls away

Against all expectations, the clouds parted and the sun shone through as the cars formed up on the grid for the start.

Alonso was wise to the threat from Webber right from the start. When the red lights went out he chopped decisively across the front of the Red Bull.

The Ferrari driver led on the run into Village while Sebastian Vettel fended off Kimi Raikkonen. The other Lotus of Romain Grosjean made slight contact with Paul di Resta – the Force India spun out with a puncture while Grosjean headed to the pits for a new front wing.

Alonso got his head down and began to edge away from Webber. He in turn left third-placed Michael Schumacher behind but the Mercedes driver couldn’t shake a growing train behind him.

Felipe Massa took a few looks at the Mercedes while Vettel tried to take advantage and pass the Ferrari. Pastor Maldonado briefly appeared in sixth after elbowing Raikkonen aside, but was later re-passed by the Lotus.

The other Lotus of Grosjean shaped the opening phase of the race. Having pitted for his new front wing and began to pick off the stragglers, the front-runners were increasingly wary of his progress.

Red Bull were first to react, bringing Vettel in to get him out from behind Massa. But no sooner had they done that Massa squeezed past Schumacher for fourth.

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Maldonado and Perez collide

Maldonado clumsily took out Perez

The pursuing drivers responded to Vettel’s pit stop, beginning with Maldonado and Perez. The Sauber driver emerged on the tail of the Williams and Maldonado moved to cover the inside line on the approach to Brooklands.

Perez moved to the outside to pass but as the pair went into the corner Maldonado lost the rear of his car and hit Perez. An aggrieved Perez, who had also been hit by Maldonado during practice in Monaco, accused him of having “no respect” for his competitors.

The use of DRS was temporarily suspended while the yellow flags were out at Brooklands, which marked the end of the DRS zone. But at this point most drivers were busy with their first pit stops.

An exception was Lewis Hamilton, who like Alonso had started on the hard tyres. When the Ferrari driver pitted Hamilton briefly took the lead and was still lapping well enough on his worn tyres to be taking time out of those who had been in front of him.

But Hamilton lost time defending his lead from Alonso – the Ferrari driver took him in The Loop and although Hamilton briefly took the place back at Brooklands he had to yield to Alonso’s evidently quicker Ferrari.

Hamilton’s pit stop restored Webber to second place ahead of team mate Vettel followed by Massa. Raikkonen and Hamilton jumped ahead of Schumacher through their pit stops.

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Webber passes Alonso

The front runners held their position through their second pit stops but the change of tyres proved decisive. While Red Bull returned to hard tyres for their final stint, Ferrari left their soft-tyre stint until last.

This left Alonso vulnerable in the closing laps as he, like several drivers before him, weren’t able to get the best performance out of the tyre. Webber began edging into his lead and had the Ferrari in his sights with half-a-dozen laps to go.

At first Webber thought Alonso was “playing with him” and would pick up the pace as soon as he got within range. But these weren’t games from Alonso – as in Valencia, he didn’t quite have the performance he needed in the final laps.

Unlike in Valencia, he had a driver behind him ready to take advantage. On lap 48 Webber came out of Aintree hard on Alonso’s tail, used DRS to draw alongside him and completed an around-the-outside pass at Brooklands to clinch the place.

However Alonso still had enough in hand to keep third-placed Vettel at bay. Behind them, the other Ferrari of Massa was receiving attention from Raikkonen but the Lotus driver lost time running wide on the penultimate lap.

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Grosjean recovers

A botched pit stop left Sauber’s mechanics needing treatment

Behind Raikkonen was, surprisingly, his team mate Grosjean, Despite having pitted early for a new front wing and run a very long final stint, Grosjean was still setting fastest lap in the closing stages.

Schumacher was seventh ahead of Hamilton. The McLaren driver used his soft tyres in the middle stint and was perplexed to end up back where he started, unable to keep the resurgent Grosjean behind him.

Hulkenberg defended ninth from Senna before finally succumbing at Brooklands on the penultimate tour. The Force India driver tried to wrest the place back at Copse but succeeded only in losing the final points place to Button.

A chastened Kamui Kobayashi inherited 11th – he had collided badly with his pit crew earlier, sending two of them to the medical centre with fortunately minor injuries.

The Toro Rosso pair were next ahead of Nico Rosberg, languishing in 15th. Maldonado ended up 16th, 9.3 seconds ahead of Heikki Kovalainen. The other Caterham of Vitaly Petrov didn’t even start the race due to an engine problem.

Timo Glock and Charles Pic were 18th and 19th for Marussia, though the team surely took more pleasure from the news of an improvement in the condition of injured test driver Maria de Villota, who was reported as conscious and talking to her family before the race. The HRTs filled the final place.

Webber closes on Alonso in title race

Webber’s second victory in the British Grand Prix narrows his deficit to Alonso in the drivers’ championship to 13 points. But Ferrari move up to second in the constructors ahead of Lotus and McLaren.

For the latter, their upgrade package planned for the next round in Germany can’t come soon enough.

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2012 British Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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67 comments on “Webber beats Alonso to British Grand Prix win”

  1. For the latter, their upgrade package planned for the next round in Germany can’t come soon enough.
    Agree with that, Mclaren really have been super disappointing ever since Monaco. Hamilton dragged them to the front in Canada, but otherwise, what has happened??? Lucky they are only 10 points behind Ferrari, hope this upgrade in Germany can bring them back into play.

    1. As Button said, it’s not just Ferrari that’s ahead of them, Lotus, Williams and Sauber look in better shape too. They really need to react, because they are failing behind fast!

      But at least they got all their pitstops right this time! No multitasking in McLaren, then. Either they have the best car and the worst mechanics, or the best mechanics and the worst car :P.

      1. McLaren dropped to 4th in the constructors championship today and I’m not so sure they will be able to regain it. Not with Massa potentially returning to better form and the Lotus pair both consistently scoring solid points. Lewis correctly identified that consistency would be the key to this years championship, it’s just sad that McLaren have been consistently making mistakes, not scoring well.

        1. Well, at least there were no more mistakes in the race for them. Maybe it was a mistake not to try the new bits in the race for them, at least on one of the cars, but that’s it.
          Before we say they are lost forever, lets just see if they get back on it next race.
          Williams might be faster now, but Maldonado is doing a good job of trying to squander as big a load of points as McLaren lost out on in their pit-stop blundering this year! Both Saubers are not that consistent, or just attract bad luck currently and strange enough Lotus is fast and consistent but seem to be able to grab next to the big points every time too.

          1. @bascb even if Williams and Sauber are not consistent in finishing their races, it’s still a team that gets between McLaren and the top guns here and there.

            So it’s another couple of bumps they need to go around. It’s not looking good at all.

          2. Oh, I agree with all of you that its really a big wasted opportunity for McLaren so far. Their only luck is, that others have been slipping up as well on several things. But at the front it looks as if Ferrari and Red Bull are now getting a grips on their season and are starting to edge ahead too far for anyone to catch them.

            On the other hand, the times are this close so that its not as if they need to find a whole second to be back into the mix, just a couple of tenths (and keep a check on those pitstops, not to let the team slip up there again) can bring them right back into it. Oh, and Button needs to find out how to use these tyres better.

          3. I’d say the drivers championship is still wide open to almost anyone in the top 6 at least. But Red Bull have rather queitly been romping away in the constructors with nobody drawing much attention to it; probably because of the situation we have in the drivers (7 from 7 etc).

        2. agree with all the above except that Massa is improving, although it looks that way. I think the car is just so much better, simply because they can now set up the balance better with all the tyre data of several months. Of course the upgrades have helped too, and will continue to do so. Today’s failure to win was a failure of strategy and numbers. Ah! even the numbers man himself can miscalculate, and make the wrong decision!!

          1. @dehooch, “the wrong decision” probably a failure to re-adjust to the possibility of a dry race (and lack of dry practice), they would have been hailed for their tactical brilliance if it had rained on lap 20.

    2. not only mclaren will have an upgrade. Ferrari is suppose to bring a big upgraded for the next race and if I’m not mistaken the big upgrade for mclaren was this race! Wasn’t it??

      1. I think it just turned out to be a new wing or something. Gary Anderson wasn’t too impressed with it whatever it was after McLaren had talked about it so much.

        1. I think ScarbsF1 mentioned they did bring their adjustable brake cooling/tyre heating to the front wheels as well this race (not sure if raced though).

      2. Nah, it’s scheduled for Germany.

  2. WEBBER!!!!!!!!!!! Ahh, what a win for him! A win over his team mate and the rest of the field, in the dry, that can’t be accused of being because other drivers couldn’t get passed due to track conditions, like with Monaco potentially. Also made even better by not having to hear anything from the team to screw him over/cause contraversey.

    The steps forward he has made with these Pirellis this year are astounding, just like Massa today. I am so happy to see a genuine resurgence in performance from the pair of them. I really hope they can keep the pace up all year, the cars both seem great and Mark especially, seems to be on equal footing with his team mate again. I hope he can go on to win the title. It would be great for the sport to have Mark as a champion. He’s one of the most popular drivers in the paddock and among the fans. Not to mention he is one of the most deserving after the struggles he’s been though over the years.


    1. ShaneB457 (@shaneb12345678910)
      8th July 2012, 21:15

      Well said mate.. I would love to see Webber as world champion this year especially as he is nearing the end of his career. This win and the one in monaco shows that he still has skill though. :)
      If he keeps up the consistency then I’d say he will definately be a strong contender.

    2. +1, wonder how the Vettel uber alles fans will explain this one away. A little observation for the conspiracy theorists, how is it that Webbers starts are not a problem anytime Vettel is not looking dominant ?

      1. Nick.UK (@)
        9th July 2012, 2:49

        Less pressure for Mark to feel maybe. You’re not wearing a tin foil hat right now are you?

      2. @hohum

        wonder how the Vettel uber alles fans will explain this one away

        Explain what away? Webber’s having his best season so far. It’s when people start coming up with conspiracies/excuses for his losses in 2010 and 2011 that people (and not just “Vettel uber alles fans”) explain them away, because said conspiracies are usually rubbish.

  3. Did anyone else really want to punch Ken Clarke today for standing in the way of the drivers on the podium!? Vettel did make me laugh with his hat antics. I think he was also thinking along the lines of; “dude get out the way!”

    1. There was a guy standing in front of Razia on the podium after the GP2 race. I do hope they find a different place for them to stand in the future.

    2. @slr @nick-uk considering that the Silverstone podium area is a small one, the dignitaries really have no place to stand

      1. @malleshmagdum It’s hardly small by comparison to other podiums. Looked like there was plenty of room to use… It’s not like the area in front of the winner was the only choice available to them!

    3. @nick-uk I did find it (slightly) annoying, but I love how Vettel just takes it in his stride.

  4. Ferrari really could have done better with their strategy today. Alonso on hards came in shortly after the guys on Softs, when he could have stayed out three or four laps longer. On this second stint he had 19 seconds in hand and came in. He could have waited 3 or 4 laps until the gap was down to 16 or 17 seconds before coming in. That would have left him to do only around 6 or 7 laps on the soft compound, which would have been more than fast enough to keep webber behind, or even overtake webber.

    Staying out a little longer in only one of his stints could have made all the difference.

    1. it’s easy with hindsight, but today wasn’t like Canada, where Ferrari made a terrible gamble. They didn’t have hint (due to the rainy weekend) how much soft tyres would have lasted. Webber lasted 14 laps without any problem, for instance…

    2. I agree. I like webber. It Alonso was the best driver only let down once again by Ferrari. How is the world they pitted him only after 15 laps when those tires last at least 25 laps on other drivers. Alonso had to do 13-15 laps on the soft and they inly last 10 laps of the other drivers. Alonso. In his second pit stop was also pitted too early . Ferrari needs a better strategies who is executing the plan they have set up before the race and not reacting to every move the other drivers make. They lost the 2010 by doing that and they seems to covet about that. Alonso must be kind of sad that he is giving his all and the team is constantly screw him up just like in Canada. Alonso was the driver of the weekend followed by webber. I like them both but if someone says that webber deserved more than Alonso you need to watch the race and qualifying again.

      1. Well just because they screwed up today, does not mean they have been screwing up a lot. I think Ferrari have been doing really well to back Alonso up. This race was probably the odd one where they could have done better.

        Second place is still excellent for him, as it means only one driver took points off of him.

        1. Second place is still excellent for him, as it means only one driver took points off of him.

          Arguably the wrong one, though :-)

          Otherwise, I think Ferrari’s only failure was the 2012 design of their car. From Melbourne on, until now, they made the best of what was available, and managed to develop a car that could put both driver in the top 4. That they do not make a PERFECT week-end from GP does not make them an unsupporting team from Alonso. Far from it.

          1. When you think about it, Grosjean had a very long stint at the end, and was the fastest car on track for a long time, which is why he made up so many places! The guys at the front were reacting to each other, while Lotus had Grosjean running the fastest possible way to get him back up the field. Well worth taking note of.

      2. MIchael JOnes
        9th July 2012, 2:00

        The reason that Ferrari pitted alonso when they did was because the gap between him and webber was closing considerably. Mark was putting in some really good laps and putting pressure on alonso’s lead (possibly alonso’s hard tyres were fading too) and had Ferrari left Alonso out any longer , he would have seen the backside of Webber as he left the pits. Ferrari really had 2 choices: Do we pit now and guarantee Alonso track position for the last few laps OR do we pit a few laps later, possibly lose track position (as webber was charging strong) and attempt to overtake Webber using soft tyres? Good luck overtaking Webber using soft tyres against a man on hard tyres in that race. It was a good overtaking move by mark to win it too, Alonso was no sitting duck jus task Vetell who didnt even get near him to challenge for 2nd. Mark totally deserved to win the race, and dont forget he had to endure the soft tyres early in the race too.

      3. It was not wrong strategy. They pitted him earlier in the first stint because otherwise he could have finished into traffic, not just behind Hamilton. On the second stint they choose to do 15 laps on soft tyres. Now, given that they didn’t have much data because of no dry testing and that Massa did a very good first stint on softs with a heavy car for 14 laps, they must have thought that Alonso could have done the same for 15 laps with a lighter car. But apparently Ferrari is still in trouble when lighter. And Soft tyres where a joke compared to the hards this race.

    3. The problem was that the SOFTS weren’t any faster than the HARDS, waiting a couple more laps would only have given Webber the lead earlier.

  5. An unlucky race for Sauber, a bad race for Force India. Looks like Force India’s updates haven’t worked. They always fail to deliver when expectations are high.

    1. @malleshmagdum To be fair to Force India, they had both drivers in the top 10 from qualifying, Di Resta had his race ruined and Hulk was in the points until he ran wide at the very end. There’s hope yet.

    2. Also, Hulkenberg had a wet-weather set-up for the race (not sure what they change exactly, but obviously it wasn’t ideal), and he was clearly struggling with his tyres after the last stop. Di Resta said he had a dry set-up, so he should have gone quicker than Hulkenberg, but never had a chance after the unscheduled update to his rear wheel on the first lap.

      1. @andrewtanner @bullfrog considering that they are aiming for atleast a top 8 finish for both the drivers in every race, their pace in Silverstone wasnt ideal.

    3. @malleshmagdum, I wasn’t expecting much from Force India in this race. As I posted earlier they are very slow in high speed corners if compared to Saubers and Williams.
      Expect them to excel in coming circuits like Hockenheimring, Spa, Monza but not in Hungaroring, India, Suzuka type circuits.

  6. Ted Kravitz thinks Ferrari were banking on rain, and hoping to avoid the soft tyres altogether. I can’t believe that – I think if they were experimenting with a wacky strategy like that, they’d have tried it on Massa.
    Ted’s race notebook (video – Sky are very sorry about the adverts)

    1. @bullfrog What happened with adverts. Did they run them at a poor time?

      …BBC doesn’t have that problem… just sayin’ :)

      1. They just make you watch adverts before (and after) every video clip on their web site.

  7. McLaren concentrated on their pitstops so hard that they forgot to develop their car :p

  8. everyone wondering why the Red Bull was quicker than the Ferrari? Mystery solved! Alonso’s picture was on the Red Bull! See Alonso’s tweet :p

  9. I think the way some people are ganging up on McLaren is a bit unfair. Hamilton’s pace at the end of the first stint was very promising, and only his disastrous second stint ruined his race, IMO. He only managed 8 slow laps on the softs, which meant he had to come in far too early for his final stop, which becomes a bit of a double whammy: he has to drive slower in order to preserve the tyres, and he still didn’t quite succeed, going quite slowly in the final ten laps (similar to his final stint in Barcelona). Race winner Mark Webber, on the other hand, managed something like 15 good laps on the softs in the first stint. With such a stint, Hamilton’s race would have looked a lot different.

    An interesting question is to what extent his fighting for position with Alonso hurt his race. I think he rejoined the track not too far behind Raikkonen and Schumacher, which meant he was immediately in the dirty air. If he had come out in front of Schumacher, would he have been able to get more out of his tyres? Even in that best-case scenario, though, I think fifth would have been the maximum result. Of course, Hamilton being Hamilton, there was no way he was going to wave Fernando Alonso by in a battle for the lead in front of his home crowd. And did we just witness the first ‘inverted DRS pass’?

    1. I think considering where Hamilton would be if he had a race with a perfect strategy and the perfect pace is quite meaningless. It’s not like the same does not happen for every other driver around him.

    2. No, he did not complete the pass; it even lost him time trying to do it.

    3. Real fans dont attack the team when they dont do well. They offer encouragement and motivate them to do better. Mclaren fans could learn something from the Ferrari supporters.

      1. I’m not attacking McLaren but in honesty, their pace was not on par with the Scuderia, RB & Lotus, perhaps the limited running in dry conditions hindered them in the sense that little data gathered meaning that all teams were travelling into the unknown without an effective race strategy behind them, having to plan accordingly to the life expectancy of the tyres given by Pirelli as well as the drivers’ feeling of the tyres on track.

        I desperately hope that the bigger ‘visible’ upgrades coming for Hockenheim will seen them back competitive again, it’s worrying that you go from 1st & 3rd in Australia with control & dominance it must be said, to being half a minute off the race winner at Silverstone, a track that more or less defines raw performance, as for the upgrades well a few tenths would do although I wonder that the recent emphasis on improving pit-stops has hindered them in the aero department, If I had a choice between aerodynamic performance & rapid pit-stops I’m certain we would all choose the former.

      2. ROFL Seriously? Ferrari fans are by far the worst. As soon as Ferrari start to fail (Like they did at the start of the season) the fans and Italian press are giving them a terrible time!

  10. Its Tyres that win again. No credits taken off from Webber, but this was Alonso’s race, tyres let him down.

    Just like @adrianmorse mentioned

    “Hamilton’s pace at the end of the first stint was very promising”

    but with same set of tyres on his last stint he was no where near the pace of his first stint.

    If same type of tyres can’t give same type of performance in same race, then I guess every race is lottery (not just wet one as was predicted for this race).

    1. @knightmare Hamilton’s pace at the end of both his hard tyre stints was poor:


      1. Thanks for the link @keithcollantine prolly I just got bit carried away ;)

    2. MIchael JOnes
      9th July 2012, 4:10

      webber used the exact same soft tyres too and lost a good 5 seconds to alonso towards the end of his soft tyres stint. the Tyres fail, but everyone has to deal with it.

      webber deserved all he got.

      1. Yes, MIchael JOnes Webber deserves this and lot more, he is the most under rated driver. If he continues this form (and RedBull’s development keeps a check on Ferrari’s development) he will win WDC this year.

        I was just unhappy with tyres (and Alonso losing out in last few laps :P )


  11. This aarticle just reminded me of the tussle between Alonso and Hamilton. Hamilton was at his best there, fighting into Brooklands when he probably shouldn’t do so but cool nonetheless ;)

    I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again; major disappointment for Sauber. Kobayashi’s freak accident in the pits cost him a points finish I reckon and Perez was running superbly from a rather dire qualifying spot. They had the pace and with similar temperatures to be expected in Germany hopefully they will have a bit more luck there.

    Lotus proved that they don’t need scorching temperatures to bag a decent result although not quite a podium.

    I don’t think we can consider Ferrari to not have raw pace anymore. They’ve arrived for 2012 by virtue of good development, solid results from Fernando and what seems to be a rejuvenated Massa. That much is reflected in the constructors table.

    1. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again; major disappointment for Sauber. Kobayashi’s freak accident in the pits cost him a points finish I reckon and Perez was running superbly from a rather dire qualifying spot. They had the pace and with similar temperatures to be expected in Germany hopefully they will have a bit more luck there.

      I agree, it was real shame both Sauber drivers lost almost certain points finishes. I really want Sauber to do well as they’re my favourite team.

    2. Keep in mind their car seems to do well in the high speed corners, while the others jump ahead in the stop-go tracks. The RBR car seems to be best on both…

  12. never heard about a lotus car updates? do they bring minor updates or none at all? and the strategy at lotus hardly works for them, kimi is always released into traffic

    1. They had several upgrades. But as everyone else, they had hard time analyzing them due to rain.

  13. Lotus are going to keep falling behind now, i know they havent the same resources as Red Bull, Ferrari and Mclaren but they do need more updates so they can challenge for the win

    1. I don’t think Lotus lack any kind of financial support compare to Red Bull, Ferrari or McLaren.

      They got results and they have VERY able sponsors behind them. What Lotus need, is to sort out qualifying and start further up the front so they don’t have to waist half of the race wasting tyres on getting past the people and then chase the leaders instead of fighting the leaders from start.

  14. Alonso pitted to early on his 1st pit-stop. If stayed 4 more laps on those hard tires he would have won this GP.

    1. disgruntled
      9th July 2012, 8:24


  15. Just been reading that Webber’s last set of tyres – the ones he won the race on – were used. Pretty much the only used set anyone put on in the race. Which means Mark was faster than Alonso on harder tyres, that were several laps older, and they’d been used before that (presumably on Saturday morning). What was going on out there?!

    And wasn’t it great to have everyone choosing a new set of tyres to start the race on, including the top 10, with a mixture of hard and soft right at the front? Didn’t harm the racing at all (it probably improved the opening laps), and the field didn’t get strung out. Just proves that the top-ten qualifying tyres rule should go.

    1. There has been a lot of talk about the wear benefits of ‘setting in’ the Pirelli tyres, with scrub in laps. When the tyre compounds are brought up to full racing temperature over a few laps, all the way through to the core, and then you park it and let them cool down for later use; it is speculated that the Pirelli compound cures and changes its durability/grip behaviour slightly.

      This is a strange ageing behaviour that has been discussed quite a bit in F1 Tech forums through the first half of the 2012 season. I first saw the subject speculated after the Bahrain GP I think.

      So perhaps, not only was Webber running on the light end of his fuel load in his last stint chasing down Alonso, but using his temp-cycled (used) Hard Tyre set may have given him better durability/grip than a brand new (un-cured) Hard set would have. I am not sure that approach would work at every race weekend. JF

  16. Well, looks like Mclaren fixed their pitstops too late… Had they brought up 2.8 pitstops in first few races they could have much easier job to bring themselves back pointwise…

  17. Quite surprised with Ferrari´s pace, pretty even with Red Bull´s on the hard tyres, not so good on the soft but in my opinion that was mainly by the lack of dry running wich prevented them to fine tune the set up.
    Lotus quite fast, but Raikkonen needs to be more agressive when overtaking, because he is always chasing someone and losing lots of time. Perhaps they could be more agressive with the pit stops.
    Bottom line they didn´t lack pace to the front runners, even had a little more at certain stages of the race.
    Mclaren is sinking and sinking fast, clearly the 4th strongest team now, behind RB, Ferrari and Lotus.
    They will come up with an upgrade in Germany, if it doesn´t live to expectations they will be completely out of the game.
    I must say that after their strong start in Australia and being a team with considerable resources (technical and financial) it´s quite surprising this slump and very difficult to explain.
    Excellent job with the pit-stops though!

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