After a crazy British Grand Prix marked by clashes, Carlos Sainz Jr went for his first victory in Formula 1 ahead of Sergio Pérez and Lewis Hamilton. Charles Leclerc paid dearly for a strategic error when Max Verstappen lost ground.
After seeing it narrowly escape five times, Carlos Sainz Jr finally has it! Two weeks after failing in the exhausts of Max Verstappen in Canada, the Ferrari driver became the 112th driver in Formula 1 history to win a Grand Prix this Sunday at Silverstone after a breathtaking 52 laps and a scenario absolutely crazy! An afternoon in Northamptonshire which began in horror with the accident whose main victim was Guanyu Zhou. After almost an hour of interruption, the race was able to resume its rights but, this time, Carlos Sainz Jr did not let himself be fooled by Max Verstappen, who then abandoned the soft tires for medium.
The Spaniard did not hesitate to squeeze the Dutchman before the first corner to keep the advantage. Behind him, there were numerous contacts with Charles Leclerc and Sergio Pérez who left pieces of the front wing there, but also Max Verstappen who suffered damage to the rear axle. While the Mexican, on the orders of the race direction, immediately turned towards the pits to change his front wing, his teammate kept Carlos Sainz Jr under pressure and, on lap 10, the Spaniard was trapped in the chain. Maggots-Becketts-Chapel, momentarily going off the track and leaving the reigning world champion in first place. However, two laps later, Max Verstappen felt like he had a puncture and immediately headed into the pits to change his tyres.
Sainz went through all the emotions
However, that was not the problem. The damage caused to his single-seater affected the engine cover and caused a lot of aerodynamic downforce to be lost on the rear axle, forcing the Dutchman to continue despite a loss of performance. The two Ferrari drivers then took over the controls but, behind them, Lewis Hamilton was on a mission. Taking advantage of a very flat Silverstone track, the Briton was able to pull the quintessence of his Mercedes without bouncing. Up front, Charles Leclerc sent the message that he was losing time behind his teammate. To remedy the situation, Ferrari put Carlos Sainz Jr through the pits on lap 21 but Lewis Hamilton kept getting closer to the Monegasque.
The latter finally put on hard rubber on the 26th lap, allowing Lewis Hamilton to take the lead in a Grand Prix for the first time this season, to the delight of the British public. After warming up his tires, Charles Leclerc fell on Carlos Sainz Jr, who handed over the lead to him on the 31st lap. Lewis Hamilton then finally abandoned his medium rubber for hard but the stop was not ideal and his effort was not rewarded. The positions then seemed fixed but, on the 39th lap, the situation changed when Esteban Ocon immobilized his Alpine in the old pit straight, requiring the intervention of the safety car. Carlos Sainz Jr, Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Pérez then dove into the pits to switch to soft tires for the end of the race.
Leclerc in error, Verstappen limits the damage
Charles Leclerc made the opposite choice, staying on track with already damaged hard rubber. A decision by the Ferrari team that the Monegasque may have bitterly regretted. Indeed, after four laps of neutralizations, Carlos Sainz Jr was quick to regain the advantage over his teammate to fly away, Charles Leclerc temporarily acting as a stopper. Defending like a lion in the final laps, the Monegasque tried everything to stay ahead of Sergio Pérez and Lewis Hamilton, at the cost of great battles, especially at the Copse corner against the Briton, but it was a waste of time. After 52 high-flying laps, Carlos Sainz Jr becomes the second Spanish driver to win a Grand Prix, winning ahead of Sergio Pérez and Lewis Hamilton.
Charles Leclerc had to settle for fourth place ahead of Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris. Handicapped by a reluctant single-seater, Max Verstappen had to resist until the last corner against an insistent Mick Schumacher to take seventh place. The German driver took the opportunity to take his very first points in Formula 1 while Sebastian Vettel and Kevin Magnussen completed the Top 10. For Pierre Gasly, as for Esteban Ocon, this Grand Prix will be to be forgotten. The AlphaTauri driver was forced to retire after being hit by his teammate Yuki Tsunoda on the 11th lap. In the championship, Max Verstappen retains his lead but sees his lead shrink over Sergio Pérez and Charles Leclerc ahead of Red Bull Racing’s home race in Austria next weekend.