Ferrari Hail Sainz At Silverstone

This year’s British Grand Prix had all manner of twists and turns – we’ll get to those – but after 52 breathless laps of the circuit where the first world championship Formula One race was held 72 years ago, Pérez’s second-place salvage job was just one story in a race with more drama than some entire seasons.

The race, delayed by almost an hour after a first-lap crash that affected a quarter of the 20-car field, was won by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz – the Spaniard taking his maiden F1 win from his maiden F1 pole in his 150th F1 start. It sounds straightforward, but round 10 of the season was anything but.

Sainz’s victory broke a run of six straight wins for Red Bull Racing – the longest streak for the team since Sebastian Vettel won the final nine races of 2013 – and extended the team’s curious British Grand Prix drought to a full decade since Mark Webber won for Red Bull Racing for a second time at Silverstone in 2012.

“It was a great comeback, we didn’t give up and we kept pushing,” Pérez said after being voted as Driver of the Day by the sport’s fans. “The opportunity came there at the end and we just took it. It was a great fight with Charles and then with Lewis… it was just an epic final laps, but it was a good fight between us.”

Finishing second was the furthest thing from his mind after the first lap, he admitted: “I just got squeezed, I had nowhere to go. Charles was on the inside, Max was on the outside and my front wing got damaged pretty badly. I had to pit to change it, went to last place and recovered from there.”

Starting from second on the grid, Verstappen struck the front on Lap 10 when Sainz ran wide, but had to relinquish the lead two laps later with an unscheduled pit stop. A new set of tyres didn’t alleviate his problems, though, with the team reporting right rear bodywork and floor damage that although not terminal, would reduce his peak performance.

“I’d just got into the lead because of Carlos’s error and then a few corners later there was a piece of debris on the racing line and I couldn’t drastically turn left or right. It went in my floor and completely destroyed the left-hand side of my floor,” he explained. “Within two corners, I felt like the car was falling apart. To finish seventh in that car… it’s better than zero points, that’s for sure.”

Making the best of a bad hand saw Verstappen hang around in the lower reaches of the top 10 for much of the rest of the race and he had a spirited fight with Mick Schumacher (Haas) over the final laps, edging the German by just 0.2s at the chequered flag as Schumacher scored his first F1 points.

The seventh place continues a curious run for Verstappen at Silverstone; he’s yet to win the British Grand Prix despite two F1 victories at Silverstone. How? He won the 2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, the second of two races held at Silverstone as part of a compromised calendar that season, and also won the Sprint Race at the circuit last year to set the grid for the race proper, but retired on the opening lap.

Race winner Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari celebrates on the podium with Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing. 03.07.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, British Grand Prix, Silverstone, England, Race Day. – www.xpbimages.com

The one-hour delay to the race we mentioned earlier? The race was red-flagged seconds after the lights went out, with two frightening incidents seeing Alfa Romeo rookie Zhou Guanyu counting his lucky stars after a dramatic crash that left him, remarkably, more shaken than injured.

Starting from eighth on the grid, Mercedes’s George Russell made a slow getaway and Zhou slithered down the outside as the field thundered towards Turn 1. Pierre Gasly of Scuderia AlphaTauri spied a gap between Russell and Zhou, but three cars arrowed into a space big enough for just two, Russell clipping Zhou and flipping the Alfa Romeo over. Zhou skated through the gravel trap upside down, flipped over the tyre wall and clattered into the fence. Fortunately, the Chinese driver was able to return to the paddock by the end of the race after he was released from the medical centre, declared fit.

The chaos kicked off a second incident further down the field, as Alex Albon (Williams) braked to avoid the incident and was nudged into the wall by Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin, with Ocon’s Alpine also getting caught up in the carnage. Fortunately, there were no injuries from one of the more dramatic first laps we’ve seen in F1 for some time.

Source Red Bull Magazine