SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — Nico Rosberg won the British Grand Prix in an eventful race Sunday, avoiding the tire trouble that affected several drivers and overtaking Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel with 10 laps remaining after the three-time defending champion retired with mechanical problems.
The Mercedes driver won his second race of the year and third of his career, edging Red Bull's Mark Webber, who recovered from a collision with Romain Grosjean shortly after the start. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso got past Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen with two laps remaining to claim third. Hamilton recovered to finish fourth.
"Fantastic, it's very special," said Rosberg, who also won in Monaco and in China last year. "Our team has done such a fantastic job. We have such momentum at the moment, progressing all the time."
It seemed as if the race was going to be Hamilton's to lose, after he got a great start and appeared to be extending his lead over Vettel. But on the eighth lap, Hamilton's left rear tire exploded and he was forced to pit. Two laps later, Ferrari's Felipe Massa lost his left rear tire and spun out. Five laps later, Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne also lost his rear tire, with the rubber exploding across the track.
That brought out the safety car until lap 22 when normal racing resumed.
It also prompted several drivers after the race to warn of the dangers of the exploding tires and Rosberg said the matter had to be investigated. Tire troubles have been a running theme all season, with several teams led by Red Bull claiming the Pirelli tires wear out too quickly and force drivers to pit more often than in previous seasons.
Hamilton was still clearly angry after the race.
"The safety is the biggest issue, it's unacceptable," Hamilton told the BBC. "Four blowouts is unacceptable. It's only when someone gets hurt that someone will be doing something about it. I think it's a waste of time talking to the (governing body) FIA, and if they don't do anything that says a lot about them."
Vergne said: "It's just a shame that this sort of problem can waste a whole weekend's work for the team. I am very upset about it and something needs to be done about it soon."
The BBC showed pictures of Turn 4 on the Silverstone circuit, where some of the incidents took place, saying the sidewall of the tire could have been punctured by a sharp part of the curb, which could explain why left rear tires were affected.
After the restart, Vettel began extending his lead over Rosberg and appeared set for a fourth win. But on the 42nd lap, Vettel's car came to a stop after his fifth gear broke and Rosberg took the lead. That brought out the safety car for a second time for three laps.
When it went off with seven laps to go, it triggered some of the best racing all day. Alonso was among the most aggressive, passing McLaren's Jenson Button, Force India's Adrian Sutil and eventually Raikkonen for third. Webber also charged past Raikkonen into second with four laps remaining.