The race may not have been one of the best 2012 has given us, but Silverstone certainly brought some controversy off the track.
This time, however, it wasn't the teams or drivers that were behind it, but rather the fans. Around 20,000 people were refused entry into Silverstone for Saturday's qualifying.
In stereotypical British style, despite the fact it is July, the rain poured in the week running up to the British Grand Prix, and for most of the weekend. While Silverstone does have concreted parking areas, due to the sheer number of people who flock in for F1, they use grass areas as well, and the rain turned the entire site into a quagmire.
The situation got so desperate that Silverstone asked anyone who didn't have park-and-ride or were already camping to stay away for Saturday's qualifying to allow the ground to recover for race day. This affected about 30,000 fans. Silverstone have apologised unreservedly for the problems and have promised to refund any unused Friday and Saturday tickets to fans.
Parking was also a problem for thousands of campers (including myself!) who had to park in a field and lug all the camping equipment to where we were camping, sometimes over a mile away. The reason for this parking system was apparently due to health and safety reasons; having cars on slippery, muddy grass near tents was too unsafe.
Under normal conditions campers can park right next to their tents and most people had packed accordingly. I saw gazebos, duvets, huge tents, teepees and even fridges being carried to pitches up and down the massive Woodlands campsite and nearly everyone would have had to do multiple runs to get everything to their site. I personally had to do three and I didn't have anything that glamorous with me!
Despite the conditions, I didn't see one single frown on a single face my entire time at Silverstone or on the Woodlands campsite. Everyone helped each other out, made a joke of it and got on with things. We had made it to the circuit and that was all that mattered. In that way we were luckier than a lot of other people.
The Friday free practice and Saturday qualifying sessions were also effected by the rain. Nearly all the teams had brought updates with them to Silverstone but I'm sure many were wishing they'd installed a rudder on their cars.
Hardly any cars risked the soaking conditions during the wet free practice, and those who did sometimes paid the price. Bruno Senna crashed out in his Williams after skidding on the standing water, and Kamui Kobayashi and Charles Pic spun on the track.
The conditions during qualifying were even worse. Timo Glock spun on the start/finish straight causing that section to be yellow flagged. This, combined with the pouring rain, caused Jenson Button, the man who has been called the Master in the Wet, to drop out in Q1.
The rain continued until race director Charlie Whiting finally red flagged Q2 because of the danger, and for over 90 minutes the cars stayed parked in their garages. At other circuits this may have been a cause of some serious problems with objections from fans, but not at Silverstone.
After a period sitting about chatting, the fans in the stands started a Mexican wave, which quickly spread and caused one of the best scenes I have ever witnessed. For after a little encouragement from the fans, the crews from nearly every team stood in front of their garages and joined in with the wave, including Nico Rosberg and Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn (seriously! go to YouTube). Apparently Brawn got a ribbing from other bosses after it but it was met with a rapturous reception from the crowd.
The eventual outcome of qualifying was with the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso on pole for Sunday. Considering Ferrari started the season out notably slower than the other front running teams they have made impressive strides forward. Felipe Massa even qualified in P5 and finished in P4. Excuse the sarcastic tone but that's almost unheard of these days. He did push hard this weekend, so credit where credit's due.
The Red Bulls were also strong this weekend, especially second place man Mark Webber, who switched to the harder compound tyres on his final pit stop and managed to make them outlast front-runner Alonso. This allowed him to pounce on the Spaniard just four laps from the end of the race, clinching the win. His team mate Sebastian Vettel also joined him on the podium finishing the race in P3.
It wasn't a good race for the British drivers however. Paul di Resta had to retire after the first lap, when his tyre was punctured after a clip by Romain Grosjean in the Lotus. As for McLaren, they were just nowhere pace-wise.
Hamilton and Button qualified in P8 and P18 respectively and could only translate that into a P8 and P10 finish. For a team that started the season as the ones to beat this is definitely not good.
Despite the poor result the British fans cheered as hard as ever for their "home" team. Quite a few of the teams have factories in Britain but since McLaren also have two British drivers they seem to have been adopted by the home crowd; that is going by the number of red McLaren baseball hats that could be seen in the crowds this weekend. Hamilton showed his appreciation for all the support by spinning his car in donuts during the parade lap after the race had finished, a move which is banned by the race officials but went down an absolute storm with the crowd.
One notable piece of British sarcasm was on display when after every successful McLaren pit stop the crowds cheered. This is a pretty clear example of how the team has dropped off since the start of the season, when a decent pit stop is a cause for celebration.
Hamilton said after the race that McLaren had to improve if they were to stay in contention for the championship, which I definitely agree with. McLaren are currently sitting fourth in the constructors championship behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus. As of yet a Lotus driver hasn't won a race.
McLaren weren't the only casualty this weekend. Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado collided on lap 12 after both had been in the pits; an incident which forced Perez to retire and caused Maldonado to finish in P16. Perez was very vocal about the contact in his post race interviews calling Maldonado "stupid" and "dangerous".
The Venezuelan has been at the centre of some controversial crashes in his time in the sport, three this year alone, and although this one didn't seem as bad as previous incidents, the stewards fined Maldonado 10,000 euros.
Kamui Kobayashi was also handed a fine this weekend after he took out half of his pit crew when he came in for his second stop. The Japanese driver hit three men who were waiting to change his front right tyre as well as the front jack man after he appeared to come in to his stop too quickly. It made uncomfortable viewing but thankfully no-one was seriously hurt in the incident. Kobayashi apologised to his team and the stewards fined him 25,000 euros for an unsafe stop.
A more serious injury in the sport took place away from the Silverstone track this week. Maria de Villota, test driver for the Marussia team, crashed into the tail lift of a lorry while she was testing the car at Duxford airfield last Tuesday. According to reports Maria had slowed to around 30 miles an hour when the car suddenly accelerated. The brunt of the damage seemed to be to her helmet area and there were genuine worries about whether she would survive. An ambulance statement called her injuries "life threatening".
Maria underwent a lengthy operation to repair "serious head and facial injuries" and unfortunately lost her right eye. However the most recent reports say she is now conscious and talking which is brilliant news.
Nearly all the drivers paid tribute to her in some way at Silverstone this weekend, with Alonso even dedicating his pole position to her. The investigation into what caused the accident is still being investigated but race director Charlie Whiting has been quoted calling it a "one in five million freak occurrence". Whatever the cause and effect, the main thing is that Maria is recovering.
All in all, this entire Silverstone experience has been one that I will never forget. The paddock and media centre offered a chance to glimpse a little of the glamourous side of the sport, a world away from the mud and camping the rest of us mere mortals were enduring! It really was something for a huge fan like myself to see the luxurious team motorhomes, the stunning Silverstone wing, and be so close to the action.
I even caught a glimpse of some of the famous faces from the sport, including the legend that is Murray Walker, who actually said hello to me. I was over the moon with that until I realised that a) I was probably staring and b) I was in the luxurious surroundings of the Silverstone centre in my mud covered wellies, filthy trousers and splattered jacket.
I probably stood out.
You can follow Jen Buchanan on Twitter.
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