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For 40 of its 52 laps the British Grand Prix looked like another routine victory for Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull. Pole man Lewis Hamilton had led initially for Mercedes, but on his eighth lap he abruptly slowed, left rear tyre in shreds. A lap later Felipe Massa’s Ferrari suffered the same fate; on lap 14 it was the turn of Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso, and then, much later in the race, of Sergio Pérez’s McLaren. The subject of tyres has utterly dominated the 2013 Grand Prix season, but at Silverstone the concern was not so much with wear as with disintegration. When Vettel retired, Nico Rosberg – who had been within two or three seconds of the Red Bull all the way – took up the lead, and came home to score his second victory of the season, under great pressure from Mark Webber, following a safety car period – the second of the race – towards the end. On the podium with them was Fernando Alonso, gratified to finish as high as third after qualifying poorly in an off-the-pace Ferrari. Rosberg was of course elated after the race, although he allowed that potential tyre problems had been a worry throughout the race. At his second stop one of the rear Pirellis removed from his Mercedes was found to have cuts on its inside shoulder – and the same had been true of those taken off Vettel’s car at its first stop.