The Silverstone Circuit was home to a weekend of firsts, as Carlos Sainz fought for his maiden Formula One victory.
The chaotic race wasn’t short of surprises. The drama began on lap one, extending until the final stages of the marathon race.
Marathon leads to an epic finish
The majority of the battle came after the final safety car as the field restarted on lap 42. Charles Leclerc led, on worn hard-compound tyres. The rest of the field behind him had either fresh medium or soft-compound tyres.
Upon the restart, Sainz regained the lead and stormed off into the distance. While his teammate – Leclerc – began to hold up the chasing pack.
The battle for the podium places was up and running. Leclerc was being hunted by Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris stayed close in P5 and P6 respectively.
With five laps remaining, the podium began to take shape. Perez was first to make his move, sliding into second place and creating a gap instantaneously.
Leclerc was left vulnerable, allowing Hamilton to take advantage of him and take P3, with only a handful of laps left.
Sainz took the chequered flag for the first time in his 150 starts, with Perez and Hamilton completing the podium.
Zhou Guanyu walks away from horror crash
Lap one of the Grand Prix was drama-filled, as small spot fires rose as soon as the lights were out.
Zhou was involved in one of the scariest crashes in recent times, which saw his car tip upside-down and head toward the barrier at speed. It wasn’t over there, as his car flipped over the first barrier and into the fence that contained the spectators.
It was Pierre Gasly and George Russell who were fighting for position. Gasly saw an opportunity, but the door was slammed shut by Russell. This led to contact between the two, which then extended to Zhou, who tipped as a result.
Zhou was trapped inside his car for roughly 15 minutes before he was stretchered into an ambulance. He was transported to the medical centre, where he was later assessed as fit.
Another incident from the start involving Alex Albon and Sebastian Vettel ended in fireworks.
Albon received a small tap from Vettel, which spun him into the barrier. His out-of-control car hit Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon, both sustaining front wing damage.
As a result of the two incidents, Russell, Zhou, and Albon retired. The red flag was waved before all cars could reach ‘Safety Car Line Two’, hence why the restart reverted to the original grid order, minus the retirees.
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Alpha Tauri entanglement
A shaky start saw both Alpha Tauri drivers in the wars. Only 10 laps into the race, things looked to be getting better, until they met on the track.
The incident was ultimately caused by Tsunoda, which saw him and his teammate – Gasly – spin and lose track position.
Tsunoda received a five-second time penalty for his troubles. He went on to finish in P14, the last of the remaining drivers.
Gasly however did not finish, completing only half of the laps. He originally received a black and orange flag to pit for repairs. When he finally turned to pit lane, the team decided to pull the plug.
Championship leader in the wars
Max Verstappen didn’t have the most favourable day. It began on lap one when he took the lead of the race, only for it to be reverted for the restart.
Early into the piece, on lap 12, Verstappen appeared to have driven over a sausage-kerb, some carbon debris or a mixture of the two, resulting in a puncture and bodywork damage.
Following a swift 3.1-second pit-stop, Verstappen was released on track in P6. But from here, his pace was noticeably declining. Not only did he drop out of the podium places, but he also faced the potential of falling out of the points.
Verstappen finished the race in P7, adding six points to his tally. Toward the end of the race, he ended up squabbling with Mick Schumacher, who faced the best result of his Formula One career.
Still the championship leader, Verstappen now holds a 34-point advantage over teammate – Perez in P2. From a team standpoint, Red Bull’s lead is cut to 63 points, ahead of Ferrari.
A weekend of firsts
Beginning on Saturday during qualifying, a chain of firsts began. Nicholas Latifi took his Williams into Q3 for the first time in his career.
Latifi has come under fire recently with rumours surfacing about his uncertain Formula One future. He put the doubters to bed, for now, by qualifying 10th, in a wet Saturday afternoon slog.
Sainz achieved his first Formula One victory from his first pole position. After claiming pole on Saturday, Sainz endured a back-and-forth battle with several drivers to take the chequered flag.
After 150 starts, he becomes the 112th driver to win a Grand Prix, breaking the duck after a string of close second-place finishes across the past few years.
The son of legend Michael Schumacher – Mick – finally scored the first points of his career, four to be exact. His eighth-place finish ensured points in just his 10th race at the top level.
He was willing to risk it all for more points, as he went toe-to-toe with Verstappen to the chequered flag.
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