The riveting Montreal Grand Prix where Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr fought for the lead until the final laps of the race had fans eager for the season to continue across the Atlantic in England. The British Grand Prix was next on the schedule and the circuit of Silverstone promised to be an incredible race.
The battle between Ferrari and Red Bull has become more of a chase for Ferrari and to add to the drama Mercedes seemed poised to throw themselves into the mix of things. One thing was certain Formula 1 fans were about to get one of the best races of the season and perhaps one of the all-time best.
Just like in Montreal, teams and drivers would have to endure wet conditions during qualifying, adding a higher level of difficulty on the track in their quest for pole position. Fans were held to the very edge of their seats until the very last few seconds of Q3 to discover who would be leading the British GP on Sunday. In the Ferrari and Carlos Sainz mustered up the fastest lap of the day securing the Spaniard’s first pole position of his career in his 150th race.
Verstappen and his Red Bull qualified in P2 followed by Ferrari and Leclerc in P3. The front of the grid had a familiar feel to it, as both Ferrari and Red Bull have claimed all the pole positions of the season so far. Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu had the best qualifying day of his rookie season in P9, and Williams’ Nicolas Latiffi had his best session of the season in P10.
The clouds had parted, and a welcoming sun awaited the British GP on race day with a meagre chance of rain coming to out to play. Sainz seized the first pole position of his career hoping to match Pastor Maldonado who back in 2012 accomplished the same feat and followed it up with the first victory of his career at the Spanish GP. Red Bull and Verstappen certainly had their own plans of victory hoping to spoil Sainz and Ferrari’s attempt to break their current winless streak.
The drivers lined up on the grid and with fifty-two laps to go the red lights lit up and went out and the British GP at Silverstone was off to the races. Verstappen had a great start and immediately overtook the Spaniard ahead taking over the lead. Lewis Hamilton added more pain to the Ferrari faithful surpassing Charles Leclerc and landing in P3. The race’s interesting start was immediately stopped with a red flag being shown and two multi-car crashes took place behind the race leaders.
Mercedes George Russel and Guanyu tangled sending off the Brit damaged and spinning off into the gravel while Guanyu experienced the worst of it. Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo flipped out its head sliding across the track and began to barrel towards the tire barrier where his car managed to bounce over and land into the protective fence separating the fans from the circuit. The entirety of Formula 1 held their breaths hoping the young Chinese driver was ok and thankfully the racing halo on his car had succeeded in protecting him. It took quite some time to extract Guanyu from his mangled car and he was immediately brought to the medical center for observation.
Further back from this incredible scene Williams’ Alexander Albon was bumped from behind by Aston Martin’s Sebastien Vettel sending the Thai driver nose-first into the wall while causing damage to Alpines Esteban Ocon, and both the Alpha Tauri’s of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda. Albon, who hit the wall at an extremely high velocity, was also brought to the hospital to ensure that no critical damage had occurred to his head. Fans and teams alike were pleased to hear that both Guanyu and Albon were stable and would be able to race the following week in Austria.
After cleaning up the mess on the track and repairing any damage done to the tire barrier the race was slated to restart after an hour of delays. Due to the red flag being immediately shown before the 1st sector of the track was completed the FIA ruled that the standing start of the race had retained the original grid order. Ferrari and Sainz had just received a second chance while Red Bull and Mercedes were forced to line up in their original positions to give back their gains from the first start.
With the seventeenth car lined up on the grid, the red lights once again showed themselves only to go out for the second start of the race. This time Sainz fended off an aggressive Verstappen and held on to his race lead. Leclerc and Ferrari battled Sergio Perez and his Red Bull for P3 and during the melee, both their front wings were damaged. Perez was forced due to his front wing to pit while Leclerc’s damage was manageable keeping him on the track. Sainz who had Verstappen on his tail went wide heading into a corner and relinquished the lead easily to the reigning world champion.
On Lap 13 Verstappen began to complain on the radio about a tire puncture and had no choice but to pit only to return on track complaining about an unknown issue at the time. Eventually Re Bull found that a piece of debris from an Alpha Tauri had wedged itself inside the car hindering its performance. Verstappen now had to battle for points and a podium finish.
Sainz took over the lead and now had his teammate Leclerc vying for 1st place. Hamilton and his Mercedes all the while were having a fantastic race and were poised to spoil Ferrari’s hinting them down second by second. Eventually, Leclerc and Sainz swapped the lead position because of Leclerc’s superior pace. After a round of pit stops Leclerc with hard tires led the race. On lap 39 Ocon’s Alpine came to a stop on the starting straight forcing a safety car out on the track. Ferrari would once again raise significant questions about their strategic choices as they only decided to pit Sainz for soft tires leaving Leclerc on the hard tires. Nearly the whole field of drivers changed to soft tires, making the life of Leclerc complicated for the closing laps of the race.
Once the race restarted Sainz had no problem passing his furious teammate who slide out of the top three losing precious championship points. IN the final laps of the race, fans witness incredible battles with multiple overtakes between Hamilton, Perez, and Leclerc. All three drivers came within millimeters of each other but managed to keep their war clean. It was quite the spectacle and one of the best battles in Formula 1 history.
Sainz managed to pull away and in his 150th race won the first Formula 1 race of his career. Perez once again showed great skill climbing up throw the back of the grid and back o to the podium in P2 followed by Hamilton and his Mercedes in P3. Hamilton if not for a slow pitstop may have won the race but alas it was Spaniard’s day to celebrate. Hamilton’s podium finish gave him thirteen total giving him the most at Silverstone. Heading into Austria a week later the driver’s championship is still in reach and Verstappen is sure to want to rebound in front of Red Bull’s home race and crowd. Mercedes has shown that they can compete with front runners, adding an interesting element to an already entertaining season.
REST OF THE PACK
Charles Leclerc’s awful string of misfortunes continues to occur and many questions about Ferrari’s poor strategic decisions were inevitable after this race. Leclerc finished in P4 and could have a race where his championship rival was gaining minimal points. Events like this hurt Leclerc in the long run of the season because every single point gained is crucial in winning the championship.
Alpine’s Fernando Alonso finished in P5 continuing his strong season followed by McLaren’s Lando Norris in P6. Verstappen finished in P7 surviving intense pressure from Mick Schumacher and his Haas who finished in P8. Schumacher scored his first points of his F1 career throwing off that annoying monkey off his back. Sebastien Vettel finished in P9 followed By HAAS’s Kevin Magnussen in P10. Only fourteen drivers managed to finish this incredible race.
2022 British Grand Prix Final Standings
|1||CARLOS SAINZ JR||SPAIN||FERRARI|
|2||SERGIO PEREZ||MEXICO||RED BULL|
|7||MAX VERSTAPPEN||NETHERLANDS||RED BULL|
|9||SEBASTIEN VETTEL||GERMANY||ASTON MARTIN|
|11||LANCE STROLL||CANADA||ASTON MARTIN|
|14||YUKI TSUNODA||JAPAN||ALPHA TAURI|
|RETIRED||ESTEBAN OCON-LAP 37||FRANCE||ALPINE|
|RETIRED||PIERRE GASLY-LAP 26||FRANCE||ALPHA TAURI|
|RETIRED||VALTERRI BOTTAS-LAP 20||FINLAND||ALFA ROMEO|
|RETIRED||GEORGE RUSSEL-LAP 0||BRITAIN||MERCEDES|
|RETIRED||ZHOU GUANYU-LAP 0||CHINA||ALFA ROMEO|
|RETIRED||ALEXANDER ALBON-LAP 0||THAILAND||WILLIAMS|