The British Grand Prix at Silverstone had drama galore including a spectacular crash at 200 miles per hour with the Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu flying through the air and only a safety net protecting the crowd from injury. Zhou was saved by the halo device fitted to his car and was later released from hospital uninjured.
The pattern that decides Grand Prix races, other than the power of the cars and talents of the drivers, was in full bloom again with numerous incidents calling for the safety car and restarting the race. So whoever establishes a lead suddenly finds themselves almost on the starting grid again with the whole pack bunched up behind them ready for a renewed attack.
Incidents and tyre problems go a long way to deciding the destiny of the winners and losers.
This happened as early as the first lap after Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu survived that huge crash.
When the race began again the standing start was in the original starting positions. That was in spite of Verstappen having overtaken Sainz during the first start and Hamilton initially grabbing fifth from third.
The Ferrari and Red Bull cars fought one another for the top four positions with Perez suffering damage to his car and going down the field after a forced pitstop.
Sainz initially performed well to keep Verstappen at bay but the Red Bull driver soon prevailed and stretched into his usual lead. However, the Dutchman appeared to get a puncture and damage to his car’s rear. After a pit stop for these problems he was effectively out of contention for a podium place.
Sergio Perez of Red Bull also dropped down the race order temporarily with car damage leaving Ferrari’s Sainz and Charles Leclerc to create a strong gap out in front.
Yet Another a Safety Car Disrupts the Race
But another safety car situation with 10 laps remaining allowed Perez to reassert himself and both he and Lewis Hamilton overtook Leclerc, left disadvantaged by Ferrari with used hard tyres, for the closing laps in a thrilling end to the race to secure second and third respectively.
Sainz advantaged by new soft tyres had also raced past Leclerc after the safety car. The Spaniard was obviously delighted to cross the line first, only the second Spaniard after Alonzo to be victorious in Formula 1.
Leclerc Denied Podium Due to Ferrari Tyre Management
Ferrari secured a Carlos Sainz victory on Sunday but the aftermath of the Grand Prix promises to be fiery among the Prancing Horse team.
Leclerc was well-placed as leader before the on-track intervention of the safety car on the 40th of the 52 laps of the race. Charles was then hugely handicapped when Ferrari asked him to stay out on the track. A controversial decision bound to upset Leclerc when, at the same time, his teammate who won was called back to the pits to put on soft tyres. And likewise Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Pérez pitted and put on soft tyres.
Leclerc could have stopped too but was asked to stay out and ended up fourth instead of on the podium.
Charles has every reason to be extremely disappointed, including after the first part of the race when he lost time behind Sainz. Ferrari have much explaining to do.
Luckily Max Verstappen, Charle’s main rival in the race for the title, scored very few points placing only seventh. So our Monegasque ace returns to within 43 points of the Red Bull driver in the championship, but he could have scored 15 points more with a win. And that could make all the difference in the race for the championship. And a case could be made that the whole of the 43 point difference is due to Ferrari decisions this season that have disadvantaged Leclerc.
Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) won for the first time in his career on Sunday in Great Britain ahead of Sergio Perez (Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) with Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) fourth.
Verstappen now leads Pérez by 34 points and Leclerc by 43 points in the title fight.