Carlos Sainz secured Ferrari’s first Formula 1 victory at the end of an eventful British Grand Prix.
Ferrari’s questionable strategy calls benefited the Spaniard at the expense of Charles Leclerc, costing him the win and narrowing his title chances.
Lewis Hamilton was in contention for the win but finished third behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez after a manic final nine laps, after a late safety car.
Ferrari’s bad day cost Max Verstappen important ground in the championship race, as Charles Leclerc finished only fourth.
Despite losing only six points to Leclerc, Red Bull’s driver finished only seventh due to his vehicle being slowed by floor damage from running over debris. Currently, Verstappen leads the way in the Championship and is 34 points in front of Perez, with Leclerc another nine points adrift.
Environmental protesters invaded the track after the start of the race, but did not draw the attention away from a huge pileup at the first corner, which caused a red flag and delayed the race for an hour.
A preliminary medical examination indicated that Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu escaped uninjured after vaulting the barriers at the first corner by sliding across the gravel trap upside down.
In addition to the original crash, Williams driver Alex Albon was flown to Coventry Hospital for precautionary checks after being punted into the pit wall by Sebastian Vettel.
The accident occurred when George Russell of Mercedes and Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri collided, resulting in Russell being spun into the side of Zhou.
The Manic Final Laps
Leclerc had built a substantial lead when the late safety car bunched up the field, allowing Hamilton to close in on Sainz and seize the position.
Ferrari decided to leave Leclerc on the track with his hard tyres, while they called in Sainz to change to soft tyres, a decision made by many other teams with drivers in leading positions.
Mercedes and Red Bull both gained positions after safety car periods, when Hamilton and Perez, who had fallen back in the track after a wing change on lap one after colliding with Leclerc, gained free stops to regain their positions at the front of the pack.
Sainz denied Ferrari’s request to give Leclerc as much space as possible at the restart, and he took the lead through Wellington Straight and into Brooklands bend with nine laps to go.
Perez overtook Hamilton for third at Turn Four, and the two of them went after Leclerc. With six laps to go, Leclerc sat it out around the outside of Perez at Stowe, defending his position, and tried to hold on through the slow Vale corner.
Stewards looked at Perez cutting the apex of the second part of the chicane before clearing him, forcing Leclerc wide around Club.
Hamilton was able to pass both of his rivals into Turn Three, but Perez got back in front of him at Turn Four on the next lap and Leclerc managed to race ahead of the Mercedes at Turn Four.
Later in the race, Hamilton overtook Leclerc around the Luffield hairpin, a long turn. Despite his worn tyres, Leclerc refused to give ground at Copse, where the cars reached speeds of up to 180mph and forced Hamilton to give way. On the final three turns of the track, Hamilton finally gained his position for good.
Leclerc kept the experienced Spanish driver Fernando Alonso at bay to finish fourth ahead of him and Lando Norris, despite the fierce fight between Alonso, Perez, and Hamilton.
Using the fresh soft tyres provided by the safety car, Verstappen finished seventh, just ahead of Haas driver Mick Schumacher, who finished eighth and earned his first Formula One points after nearly two years in the sport.
Vettel and the second Haas of Kevin Magnussen managed to finish in the final points positions.
Williams Racing Performance
Results paled into insignificance when Williams Racing driver Alex Albon did not finish and was flown to Coventry Hospital, but luckily he was given the all-clear.
Nicholas Latifi 16th after starting 12th and 19th respectively.
What they said:
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance:
Following the incident at the start of the race, we are grateful that nobody was seriously hurt. It was a shame that Alex suffered contact as a result of the crash ahead of him, and that this put him out of the race after just a few corners and before we had a chance to see how the new upgrades were working. However, Nicholas backed-up his strong drive yesterday with a very good race today. He showed good pace and took advantage of opportunities that came his way, including the late safety car. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite have the pace at the end to challenge for the final points position, but he raced hard until the end and put up a strong fight against faster cars. When he ran wide at T9, he did some damage to the floor, which harmed his pace in the crucial period after his first pit stop.
We will get Alex’s car repaired and then we’ll head to Austria with some useful momentum and a plan to further exploit the new package. The Red Bull Ring has some similar characteristics to Silverstone and probably similar weather too and so we should be able to pick-up where we left off this weekend.
I’m very glad that everyone else involved in the first lap incident is okay. Thank you to all the medical staff at the track and Coventry Hospital. It’s a shame our race ended before it began today, but we are already fully focused on Austria. Bring on the next one.
From lap one we were always fighting an uphill battle. At the beginning I was surprised at how much I could stay with the cars ahead but in reality, there was a little DRS train that was keeping me there because the cars behind were much quicker. It felt really nice to be properly racing in the pack. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the basic pace in the end alongside managing the car towards the end of the race. The car’s lacking downforce compared to the others with us missing pace in the high-speed corners, which wasn’t helped by some floor damage today. We put up a good fight, but it wasn’t meant to be today. Frustrating in the end but overall a positive weekend.
British Grand Prix Results
|Track: Silverstone Circuit, Great Britain||Weather:|
|Lap Length: 5.891 km||Temperature: Air:|
|Pos||Driver||Team||Time/Gap (Fastest Lap)||Grid||Tyre Changes|
|2.||S.Perez||Oracle Red Bull Racing||+3.779s||4||2 (5,39)|
|12.||N. Latifi||Williams Racing|| |
|DNF||A. Albon||Williams Racing||DNF||16|
2022 FIA Formula One World Championship Schedule
|1||20-Mar-22||Bahrain Grand Prix||Bahrain IC, Sakhir|
|2||27-Mar-22||Saudi Arabia Grand Prix||Jeddah Street Circuit, Jeddah|
|3||10-Apr-22||Australian Grand Prix||Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne|
|4||24-Apr-22||Emilia Romagna Grand Prix||Imola|
|5||08-May-22||Miami Grand Prix||Miami International Autodrome, Miami|
|6||22-May-22||Spanish Grand Prix||Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona|
|7||29-May-22||Monaco Grand Prix||Monte Carlo, Monaco|
|8||12-Jun-22||Azerbaijan Grand Prix||Baku City Circuit, Baku|
|9||19-Jun-22||Canadian Grand Prix||Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal|
|10||03-Jul-22||British Grand Prix||Silverstone|
|11||10-Jul-22||Austrian Grand Prix||Red Bull Ring, Spielberg|
|12||24-Jul-22||French Grand Prix||Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet|
|13||31-Jul-22||Hungarian Grand Prix||Hungaroring, Mogyorod|
|14||28-Aug-22||Belgian Grand Prix||Spa-Francorchamps, Francorchamps|
|15||04-Sep-22||Dutch Grand Prix||Zandvoort|
|16||11-Sep-22||Italian Grand Prix||Monza|
|17||02-Oct-22||Singapore Grand Prix||Marina Bay, Singapore|
|18||09-Oct-22||Japanese Grand Prix||Suzuka|
|19||23-Oct-22||United States Grand Prix||Circuit of the Americas, Austin|
|20||30-Oct-22||Mexican Grand Prix||Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City|
|21||13-Nov-22||Brazilian Grand Prix||Interlagos, Sao Paulo|
|22||20-Nov-22||Abu Dhabi Grand Prix||Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi|