Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jr. converted his maiden pole position yesterday, into a first ever victory in F1 today in the British GP over the Red Bull of Sergio Perez.
However, it was anything but routine, as the new F1 car design produced an absolute barnstormer of a race on the fast Silverstone track.
Sainz had lost P1 at the start, but after getting the position back at the restart, he managed to keep ahead of Verstappen.
Later in the race he was told to let his teammate past, but after Ocon pulled over at Copse, Sainz came into the pit lane for the soft tire. He then managed to get past his teammate at the restart and went on to seal his first-ever victory in F1.
The final battle for the first five positions was set up when a safety car came out for the disabled Alpine of Esteban Ocon.
When the green flew with 10 laps to go the race was on between Charles Leclerc, Sainz, Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso.
Leclerc was a sitting duck on hard tires when all the others were on softs. Leclerc battled hard and had to yield to Hamilton and settle for 4th.
Hamilton was among the battle, but settled for 3rd at the end with 2nd, 3rd and 4th swapping places several times, sometimes in the same lap.
“I dont know what to say, it’s amazing,” said race winner Sainz.
“First race win, 150 races later, with Ferrari and in Silverstone. Thanks everyone. Lewis was on it, I heard, but I managed to hold on.
“It was not easy, I struggled a lot with the balance on the first stint… All of a sudden, the Safety Car gave us a chance to get back in it, and we did it.”
“Yes, it was a great comeback,” said Perez, who was voted Driver of the Day. “We didn’t give up and we kept pushing and then the opportunity came there at the end and we just [went] for it. It was a great fight with Charles first of all, then with Lewis. I felt like I had the position and Lewis was there. It was just an epic final lap but it was a good fight.”
The battle between Perez, Hamilton and Leclerc was one of the greatest moments we’ve witnessed so far this season. Perez, who was at one stage last after pitting to change his front wing, takes his sixth podium of the season.
Hamilton had at one stage looked like the favorite to win the race, but after falling behind Perez at the restart, he still managed to finish in P3. His second podium finish in a row, and his 13th at Silverstone.
“I gave it everything today, I was trying to chase down those Ferraris,” said Hamilton.
“Congratulations to Carlos, in the end I was in that battle but those guys were just too quick on the straights for us today. We lost a bit of time in the pit stops, and then I was chasing and chasing, but the pace was good on both stint.
“Glad everyone was safe from the big crash at the beginning. But we are going to continue to push, try and give it everything we can.”
Points leader Max Verstappen held off Mick Schumacher for 7th after another disastrous British GP for the Dutchman when his floor was damaged by debris early, and he lost important downforce and was never a factor after that.
He had at one stage taken the lead of the Grand Prix, and had been pulling away from Sainz. But he has to contend with his championship lead being eaten into as his nearest challengers Perez finished P2 and Leclerc finished P4.
Schumacher finally scored his first F1 points in 8th place.
The race was red-flagged after a horrific first lap accident that sent Zhou Guanyu upside down and into the Turn 1 barriers after Pierre Gasly touched wheels with George Russell sending the Mercedes into Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu. See photos and video here.
How the Race Unfolded
When the lights went out at the start, polesitter Sainz, on medium tires, got away well, but Verstappen, on soft tires, was quicker off the line and passed he passed the Spaniard as they headed towards Turn 1. Behind the front pair, Leclerc bogged down and he was passed by Hamilton. Pérez also made a slow getaway and he was passed for fifth by Alpine’s Fernando Alonso.
At the lower end of the top 10, however, Mercedes’ George Russell and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu got away badly and they were engulfed by the medium-tire starters around them. Williams’ Nicholas Latifi slipped between the pair to steal eighth place. Starting from 11th, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly tried to make the same move, but as he did so Russell drifted to the left and there was contact. That pitched the Mercedes into Zhou’s Alfa. The Chinese driver’s car was flipped over and it slid through the gravel trap where it was launched over the tire barriers into the catch fencing.
Behind the incident, Valtteri Bottas lifted in the second Alfa Romeo to avoid becoming embroiled in the smash and behind him Williams’ Alex Albon also backed off. Unsighted, Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel hit the back of Albon’s car and the Thai driver was sent into the wall on the right side of the pit straight. He bounced back into the path of AlphaTauris’s Yuki Tsunoda and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon. The race was immediately red-flagged. Thankfully, Zhou was eventually helped from his car and taken by ambulance to the medical center, as was Albon. Both were later cleared of any injury.
With the barriers requiring repair there was a long delay but after a little over 50 minutes the field formed on the grid, in original order as not all cars had reached the SC2 line, for the restart, taken by Verstappen and Sainz on medium tires.
And when the lights went out for the second time, Verstappen immediately put pressure on Sainz, but the Spaniard held the lead as they emerged from Turn 1. Behind them Leclerc made a move down the inside into Turn 4 to try to pass Pérez. There was contact and the Mexican’s front wing was damaged. Leclerc then attacked Verstappen and as they went through Turn 4 they banged wheels, but the Dutchman was able to hold on to P2.
With a portion of his front wing missing, Pérez was struggling to hold on to fourth place and at the end of lap five he pitted for a replacement and for more medium tires. He rejoined at the back of the field in P17 and his pit stop freed Hamilton into fourth place ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris.
On lap 10 Sainz found himself just eight tenths of a second ahead of Verstappen and was reporting that the Red Bull was quicker. And under pressure from the Dutchman Sainz made a mistake on the exit of Becketts and he drifted off track. Verstappen pounced and as they went onto the Hangar Straight he took the lead.
On lap 12, though, Verstappen suddenly slowed on the Hangar straight and Sainz and Leclerc swept past. The Dutchman pitted for new tires in case of a puncture but was later told that he had sustained floor damage and that though he would suffer a loss of load and performance he was fit to continue.
At the front, Leclerc was pressing to be allowed to pass his team-mate and that allowed Hamilton to close to within three seconds of the lead. Ferrari’s solution was to pit Sainz at the end of lap 20 to cover Hamilton and to give Leclerc a chance to outpace Hamilton. Sainz took on hard tires and rejoined in P3.
Further back, Pérez was storming through the order as others pitted around him and by lap 22 the Red Bull driver had climbed to P8, 1.9s behind Ocon. Verstappen then pitted again at the end of lap 23. He switched to hard tires and rejoined in P8 behind Vettel.
Leclerc made his first stop at the end of lap 25 and in a 2.8s halt he made the switch to hard tires, resuming behind Sainz. That handed the lead to Hamilton and gave him an opportunity to stretch his legs before his own pit stop.
Leclerc, though, began to bring his new hard tires up to temperature and he was soon reeling off fastest laps. On lap 30 Hamilton had 19 seconds in hand over Leclerc and the pit window was wide open. The danger eventually became apparent to Ferrari and after Sainz failed to match the target times set, the Italian squad swapped the positions and Leclerc took over in the lead. At the end of lap 33 Hamilton finally made his way to pit lane. But the Mercedes driver’s stop was a slow four seconds, and he emerged behind Sainz in third place.
Further back, on lap 35, Norris made a pit stop for hard tires and that handed fourth place to Pérez, though the Mexican would need another stop. Verstappen, meanwhile, was in eighth place but coming under heavy pressure from Ocon and at the end of lap 36 the Frenchman powered past the struggling Dutch driver under DRS on the Hangar Straight.
Ocon’s hold on P8 was short, however. On Lap the Alpine driver slowed, and he was forced to stop on the old pit straight. Verstappen swept past and moments later the Safety Car was deployed.
Sainz and Hamilton pitted for soft tires, but Leclerc missed the moment and he was forced to stay out on 14-lap-old hard tires. The Safety Car also played into Pérez’s hands as he got a free stop, took on soft tires and kept hold of fourth place. Verstappen also pitted for the red-banded rubber.
The Safety Car left the track at the end of lap 42 and Sainz clung to the back of Leclerc and Pérez honed in on Hamilton. And in Turn 4 Pérez made a brave move past Hamilton on the inside through Turn 4. Ahead Leclerc briefly went off track and Sainz pounced to once again take the lead.
And what followed was a titanic battle for second place. While Sainz opened a four-second lead, Leclerc, Pérez and Hamilton tussled furiously for position and on lap 46 it was Pérez who emerged in second ahead of the Ferrari and the Mercedes. Hamilton then passed Leclerc and the finishing positions at the front were set.
And after 52 exhilarating laps Sainz crossed the line to take his first win ahead of Pérez and Hamilton, while Leclerc was forced to settle for fourth place ahead of Alonso and Norris. In the closing stages Verstappen came under heavy pressure from Haas’ Mick Schumacher in the closing laps, but the Dutchman still had too much pace for the German driver and he claimed a battling seventh place ahead of the Haas. Ninth place went to Vettel and Haas’s Kevin Magnussen claimed the final point.
The series now heads to the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian Grand Prix, which is also a Sprint weekend. After a brilliant race in Silverstone, let’s hope for another exciting weekend of action that kicks off on this coming Friday in Austria.
|2||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing RBPT||52||+3.779s|
|5||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||52||+9.571s|
|6||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes||52||+11.943s|
|7||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RBPT||52||+18.777s|
|8||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||52||+18.995s|
|9||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||52||+22.356s|
|10||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||52||+24.590s|
|11||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||52||+26.147s|
|12||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||52||+32.511s|
|13||3||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren Mercedes||52||+32.817s|
|14||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri RBPT||52||+40.910s|
|NC||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||37||DNF|
|NC||10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri RBPT||26||DNF|
|NC||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||20||DNF|
|NC||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||0||DNF|
|NC||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||0||DNF|
* Provisional results