Formula 1 is experiencing a completely crazy race at Silverstone. A bad accident is scary. Then the hope of winning world champion Verstappen bursts. At the end there is a premiere winner.
Undeterred by the shocking start-up accident at Silverstone, Carlos Sainz celebrated his maiden Formula 1 victory with a Spanish flag slung over his shoulders. In his 150th Grand Prix, the Ferrari driver triumphed in the most spectacular race in years.
In the midst of the madness in Great Britain, Mick Schumacher also had a lucky day and, after a great race to catch up, scored the first four World Cup points of his career in eighth place. “It took long enough,” said the 23-year-old before he was showered with champagne by sister Gina.
The Haas driver almost even overtook world champion Max Verstappen. The World Championship leader dragged himself across the finish line in seventh place with a damaged Red Bull. In the overall standings, however, he is still clearly ahead. Teammate Sergio Perez finished second at Silverstone and is now 34 points behind Verstappen. Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc had to settle for fourth place behind the acclaimed Mercedes superstar Lewis Hamilton.
However, the best news of the day for Formula One was that China’s Guanyu Zhou and Thailand’s Alexander Albon escaped a frightening early-race crash without serious injuries. So Sainz could cheer freely. “I will never forget this day, I’m so incredibly happy,” said the 27-year-old.
Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel also had reason to be happy on his 35th birthday. He rewarded himself with two points after fighting his way up from 18th on the grid to ninth. “It was not to be expected in this form. The pace was good and we dared a bit with the strategy,” said the Heppenheimer.
Dramatic accident after take-off
The 142,000 spectators in the stands saw a highly dramatic spectacle. Formula 1 held its breath seconds after the start. Zhou shot his Alfa Romeo headlong off the track, flew over the tire barriers and into the safety fence. Miraculously, he survived the frightening accident without serious injuries. The “Halo” cockpit protection, a titanium roll bar, which was still controversial a few years ago, probably prevented worse things from happening.
The scene was triggered by an attempt by Pierre Gasly in the Alpha Tauri. The Frenchman touched George Russell’s Mercedes, which in turn collided with Zhou’s car. Behind it, the pilots tried to dodge. In doing so, Vettel bumped into Albon’s Williams, who spun and rumbled into several cars. The Williams stranded on the side of the track, badly damaged.
Like Zhou, Albon was taken to the track hospital. “There were no serious injuries,” said the world association Fia. Zhou was able to leave the medical center during the race. Albon, however, was flown by helicopter to nearby Coventry Hospital for further “precautionary examinations”.
Because of the accidents, the race was stopped immediately. Because of this, an action by several demonstrators who climbed over the fences and stormed onto the track almost went under. The police had previously had evidence of such protests and warned of the danger to life for those involved. All activists were safely taken off the track and there were several arrests, Nottingham County Police said.
After almost an hour, the race could start again. If Verstappen overtook Sainz at the first start, the Spaniard aggressively defended his lead this time. When fighting for positions, Verstappen and Leclerc pushed each other, who then touched the Red Bull from Perez. The Mexican soon had to get a new front wing.
Sainz can benefit from the safety car phase
A thrilling chase with ever new twists developed. Verstappen took the lead after Sainz made a driving mistake. Shortly thereafter, however, the world champion complained about problems and came into the pits for new tyres. But things didn’t get any better for the 24-year-old, who had previously won six races of the season. “The car is 100 percent broken,” said Verstappen and came back to the garage. Red Bull informed him that his chassis was damaged. The chance of victory was gone.
Halfway through the race, Hamilton took the lead for the first time because both Ferraris had fresh tires fitted. Leclerc was allowed to pass his slower teammate Sainz in pursuit of the Mercedes star. In lap 34 Hamilton came to the tire service, now the two Ferraris were in front again.
But the spectacle wasn’t over yet. Esteban Ocon had to park his defective Alpine. The safety car came to salvage the car and slowed the field down. Leclerc drove on, Sainz and Hamilton got fresh rubber rollers again.
That paid off especially for Sainz, who was able to overtake Leclerc after the race was approved. Hamilton still had to let Perez pass, but still claimed the place on the podium.