Explosive British Grand Prix sees six drivers DNF and Carlos Sainz’s first win in F1
In a race that many fans are deeming the best of the season so far, the British GP saw many shocking moments in the 52 laps that took place on Sunday afternoon. From protestors running onto the track, and a huge life-threatening crash on lap one, we saw Schumacher gain his first ever points in F1 and Carlos Sainz’s first win!
Qualifying kicked off on Saturday with rain falling in bursts throughout all three sessions, making it difficult for drivers to compete for the fastest lap. As the rain became increasingly heavy towards the end of Q2, many drivers failed to set a fast lap, allowing Latifi to make his first ever Q3 appearance. A quick spin from Leclerc on his final flying lap brought out the yellow flag and stopped both himself and Verstappen from setting what should have been their fastest times. As a result, it was a very shocked Sainz who found himself on pole for the race the next day.
On Sunday, the race started with Verstappen making a dive down the side of Sainz and overtaking him before the first corner. Simultaneously, environmental protestors stormed onto the track and sat down on the Wellington Straight, which happens to be the fastest point of the track. Hamilton (a well-known climate activist himself) commented on the protest after the race on Instagram saying: “I wasn’t aware of the protests today, and while I’ll always support those standing up for what they believe in, it must be done safely. Please don’t jump on to our race circuits to protest, we don’t want to put you in harm’s way.”
However, many viewers at home weren’t even aware of the protestors coming onto the track due to a huge crash involving Zhou, Russell, Gasly, Albon, and Vettel taking place on the first corner. The incident happened as Russell attempted to cut across to the racing line for the corner but didn’t see Gasly who was coming up behind and, as a result, their wheels collided. This jolted Russell and sent him into Zhou, whose car flipped upside down from the impact and slid across the gravel to the barrier. The car then went over the top of the barrier and crashed into the metal railings that protect fans.
Bottas, who saw the initial collision between the three drivers, slowed down to avoid the accident, which forced Albon, who was behind, to also slow down suddenly. However, Vettel didn’t react quick enough to the sudden change in speed and drove into the back of Albon, who was shunted into the inside wall and across the gravel.
Both accidents caused the red flag to be brought out immediately, and Russell managed to escape his car before running over to Zhou to check that he was ok. Both Albon and Zhou had to be removed from their cars and were placed on stretchers before being airlifted to hospital, but both later posted on social media that they were completely fine. Despite his protests, Russell’s concern for his rival meant he had to withdraw from the race as his car was removed from the track and returned to the pits, rather than him driving it back!
Once the race was ready to start again, it was announced that the grid would line up in their original order, as not enough cars had made it through sector one to the first safety car checkpoint. Therefore, the overtake Verstappen had made on Sainz was disregarded and, at the restart, Sainz managed to hold onto P1.
F1 is heading to the Red Bull Ring in Austria for the next round of racing, where Red Bull drivers Verstappen and Perez will be the crowd favourites
On lap three, Perez and Leclerc collided, causing both of them front wing damage, but it was only Perez who pitted to replace the damaged part. On lap 11, both Alpha Tauri cars collided into each other and fell down the order, which left Tsunoda with a five-second time penalty for causing the accident. Verstappen suffered a puncture on lap 12, which caused him to come in for an early pit stop and left him in P6.
Mechanical issues on lap 21 meant Bottas had to retire from the race, and six laps later Gasly was shown the black and orange flag. As the car could not be quickly fixed, he also had to retire from the race.
On lap 29, Ferrari decided to let their drivers, who were running in P2 and P3 at the time, fight each other for the position, but as they were losing so much time battling for the place, Ferrari had to intervene with team orders and let Leclerc pass as he was the quicker of the two.
The safety car was brought out on lap 39 after Ocon had to slow on track due to hydraulic issues, bringing the total number of DNFs for the race to six. This allowed Sainz and Hamilton to make cheap pit stops for soft tyres. However, for unknown reasons, the Ferrari team failed to call Leclerc into the pits.
On lap 42 the safety car was brought in, and after Leclerc made a mistake and slid onto the grass, Sainz overtook for the lead. Meanwhile, as Hamilton struggled to find grip for his new tyres, Perez managed to overtake, making the order: Sainz, Leclerc, Perez, Hamilton.
Three laps later, Perez and Leclerc went wheel to wheel battling for P2, but while they were fighting, Hamilton managed to overtake both of them. The three drivers then competed in close and impressive battling for the remainder of the race; however, as Leclerc was on older tyres he unfortunately lost out to the two drivers who were on much newer, soft tyres.
Sainz finished in P1, winning his first ever race in Formula 1, and after racing Verstappen for P7, Schumacher came home in P8 and received the first points of his F1 career. The podium was made up of Sainz, Perez and Hamilton, who got the fastest lap, and was delighted to impress the cheering fans at his home Grand Prix!
Next weekend, F1 is heading to the Red Bull Ring in Austria for the next round of racing, where Red Bull drivers Verstappen and Perez, who are currently first and second in the drivers’ championship, will be the crowd favourites!
1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 181
2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 147
3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 138
4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 127
5. George Russell (Mercedes) – 111
1. Red Bull – 328
2. Ferrari – 265
3. Mercedes – 204