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Carlos Sainz grabbed his maiden victory at a scintillating Silverstone that will likely be remembered for Zhou Guanyu’s escape from a horrifying shunt. Autoweek rounds up the main talking points.
Sainz, Finally, Gets His Maiden Victory
There was some fortune involved in this long overdue victory for Carlos Sainz.
First up was being gifted a second start from pole position after initially relinquishing the lead to Max Verstappen at the first start. Next up was Verstappen’s own mechanical issues, which handed Sainz back a lead he had lost after making a mistake through the Becketts turn.
Sainz’s own speed was not strong and he handed the lead to teammate Charles Leclerc. He then received another dose of fortune when the safety car was deployed, nullifying the threat from behind from the faster Lewis Hamilton, and leaving him well-placed on soft tires after Leclerc was kept out on old hards.
The pass for the lead against Leclerc with 10 laps remaining was straightforward and the victory was Sainz’s. Three doses of good fortune? Undoubtedly. Has he put in better performances? Definitely. Yet after years of perseverance, persistence and extreme dedication this was a race to savor for sweet Carlos Sainz. First place never seemed so good.
“I cannot describe it, it’s the best feeling you can have as a racing driver to win for Ferrari at such a great place like Silverstone,” Sainz, 27, said after winning for the first time in his eight-year F1 career and in his 150th start. “It’s a very happy day in my life.”
Damage Limitation for Verstappen
This could have been a very bad day in the office for the reigning World Champion. Leading the race, Verstappen clobbered a piece of AlphaTauri debris that destroyed the left-hand-side of the floor. Red Bull estimated that Verstappen was robbed of around half his downforce levels.
“It felt like the car was falling apart, I thought initially it was a puncture, and after that the car was a handful,” said Verstappen. “To finish seventh with that car was still a good result. Better than zero points that’s for sure.”
Verstappen’s day could have been a lot worse had Ferrari not fumbled.
Ferrari dithered for several laps before eventually instructing Sainz to cede position to the faster Leclerc. From there the win looked likely for Leclerc, but when the safety car was deployed the race leader was kept out on harder tires. Leclerc defended exceptionally in his bid to hold onto position, including an astonishing hang-around-the-outside of Lewis Hamilton at Copse, but ultimately slipped to fourth.
It was an open goal amid Verstappen’s woes but 13 points went begging for Leclerc. Such opportunities won’t arise frequently given Verstappen and Red Bull’s usual potency.
“Before the Safety Car we were extremely quick, we found the right balance, changed a bit the driving, found a rhythm, all was looking good for victory,” said Leclerc. “We decided to keep the lead car out and it didn’t pay off for me. It’s a big disappointment.”
Leclerc was nonetheless noble as he added “I don’t want the focus to be pointed to my disappointing race but more towards (Carlos’) incredible win and the first one is always extremely special.”
Hamilton Shows Mercedes' Potential
Amazingly, when Leclerc peeled into the pits, it marked the first time in 2022 that Lewis Hamilton led a Grand Prix. No-one would have expected that to come in race 10.
Silverstone had been expected to suit Mercedes given its fast and flowing layout, the relatively smooth surface, not to mention Hamilton’s own ability around a circuit where he thrives. Hamilton jumped from fifth to third at the first start but was then put back to fifth at the second start—and dropped behind Lando Norris.
By the time he cleared Norris he was six seconds behind the Ferrari drivers but gradually closed in on the scarlet machines, and after the pit stop phase had a realistic chance of hunting down the front pair on fresher hard tires—even with a slow tire change. The safety car scuppered Hamilton’s victory prospects but third represented a strong result, giving him a 10th consecutive Silverstone podium and 13th overall at the track—a new F1 record.
“Definitely, for a while it was feeling on,” Hamilton said of the win. “A bunch of things went against us. The start, we got up to third then they put us back to fifth. Then I lost ground to Lando, so I spent a bunch of laps trying to get past him. Then the gap was five or six seconds to the Ferraris. But I was doing good time, catching them up, I did a good long stint and I thought: ‘Yes, maybe we can fight for a win here.’ But unfortunately the gap was too big and the pit stop was not very quick. Then at the end, I just struggled with the warm-up and lost out to two cars. It was so tough today.
“I don’t think we’re in a position to win yet [on merit] but we’re not far away.”
Seven in Custody After Track Invasion
There was a fortunate escape at Silverstone after police warnings over a potential track invasion by protestors materialized. A group from an organization called Just Stop Oil made their way onto the Wellington Straight on the opening lap. by which time the cars had slowed due to the red flag. The potential consequences don’t bear considering. Seven people were arrested and swiftly removed from the track.
Event commander chief Inspector Tom Thompson, said: “I’m really disappointed that this group of people ignored our warnings prior to race day and made the incredibly dangerous decision to enter the track. We offered to facilitate a peaceful event at the circuit but they instead chose to put the lives of the drivers, marshals and volunteers at risk. It is incredibly disappointing that anyone would make the decision to do this. Thankfully, we had plans in place for an eventuality such as this and the group were swiftly removed and arrested by our officers.”
American F1 Hopeful Sargeant Delivers at Silverstone
America has not had a Formula 1 representative since Alexander Rossi’s all-too-short spell in late 2015, but Logan Sargeant’s quietly impressive Formula 2 season boomed info life at Silverstone. Sargeant claimed his maiden pole with an emphatic display during qualifying and controlled proceedings in the 29-lap Feature Race on Sunday morning to capture his first victory in the championship. He is the first American to win a Formula 2 race since Rossi in 2015.
“After being extremely good here in F3 in 2020 I knew it was a great opportunity,” said Sargeant. “It’s a big boost of confidence going forward. I’m just going to keep doing the best job I can and hopefully that keeps landing me at the front.”
Sargeant remains a long shot, on 88 points to the 148 of title leader Felipe Drugovich, but is now third in the standings and is Formula 2’s top rookie at the mid-point of the 14-event season.
Sargeant’s win came in a race in which the halo proved its worth once more. The inept Roy Nissany waywardly pushed Dennis Hauger off and was then struck by the Norwegian’s out-of-control car after it launched over a kerb. Hauger’s car slammed into Nissany’s halo – likely avoiding the Israeli suffering a serious injury or worse.
F1 British Grand Prix Results
Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, 52 laps
Sergio Perez, Red Bull, +3.7 seconds
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +6.2
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +8.5
Fernando Alonso, Alpine, +9.5
Lando Norris, McLaren, +11.9
Max Verstappen Red Bull, +18.7
Mick Schumacher, Haas, +18.9
Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, +22.3
Kevin Magnussen, Haas, +24.5
Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, +26.1
Nicholas Latifi, Williams, +32.5
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, +32.8
Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, +40.9
Esteban Ocon, Alpine, 15 laps
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, 26 laps
Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo, 32 laps
George Russell, Mercedes, 52 laps
Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo, 52 laps
Alex Albon, Williams, 52 laps
Max Verstappen 181
Sergio Perez 147
Charles Leclerc 138
Carlos Saina 127
George Russell 111
Lewis Hamilton 93
Lando Norris 58
Valtteri Bottas 46
Esteban Ocon 39
Fernando Alonso 28
Pierre Gasly 16
Kevin Magnussen 16
Sebastian Vettel 15
Daniel Ricciardo 15
Yuki Tsunoda 11
Zhou Guanyu, 5
Mick Schumacher 4
Alex Albon 3
Lance Stoll 3
Nicholas Latifi 0
Nico Hulkenberg 0
Red Bull 328
Alfa Romeo 51
Aston Martin 18