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Sainz wins dramatic British Grand Prix

NEWS STORY
03/07/2022

While the Weather Gods may have entertained us yesterday, it is looking increasingly unlikely that there will be any repeats this afternoon. There have been a few dark clouds hanging around but nothing of any real significance.

Nonetheless, yesterday's tinkering by the WGs has not only given us a brand new pole-sitter but also left a number of drivers out of position.

With the weather unlikely to play a significant role this afternoon, in terms of entertainment it looks as if we will have to rely on strategy, silliness, tyre deg and reliability.

Despite starting first and third, there remains a large question mark over the reliability of the Ferrari, and even Red Bull to an extent, indeed, in that particular area Mercedes leads the way.

With no braking until Turn 3 (Village) that will be the first real flashpoint this afternoon, with several more following... and of course, Copse, where it all went wrong for Verstappen 12 months ago.

Not one of the great starters, Sainz will be under intense pressure not only from Verstappen, but his own teammate, Leclerc, who starts from third, and Perez.

Losing out to Verstappen is one thing, but should Leclerc get ahead of Sainz in the early stages of the race the Spaniard is likely to find himself riding shotgun for the rest of the afternoon and probably the season.

The group that follows promises to be just as entertaining, with Hamilton, Norris, Alonso and Russell all jostling for early position, with Zhou and Latifi thrown in for good measure.

Having looked off the pace all weekend, AlphaTauri were among the main teams to benefit from the WGs interference yesterday, and it will be interesting to see how long Gasly and Tsunoda are able to maintain position this afternoon.

The most likely scenario is that the Alphas, along with Latifi, will soon form a DRS train, which will likely see the likes of Ricciardo as the one to suffer.

Indeed, as we have seen at a number of recent events, Alonso, once in a decent position, is totally unwilling to yield, and the Spaniard could also find himself heading a train of frustrated drivers over the course of the afternoon.

As we have said, tyre deg is likely to be an issue, and with a two-stopper likely to be the best choice, strategy is likely to be key this afternoon.

Regular readers will be aware that for some weeks now we have been predicting a Mercedes (Hamilton) victory here, but that's mostly our scepticism in terms of the direction the sport is heading. However, in Friday's dry session the W13 showed remarkable pace, as did the McLaren and Alpine.

To further spice things up, thanks to yesterday's rain, and despite the numerous support events, the track is going to be somewhat 'green', and could therefore spring a few surprises in the opening laps.

Despite being flat and featureless - it's a former airfield for God's sake - over the years Silverstone has hosted its own fair share of memorable races, and while we mourn the passing of the 'old' layout, the Northamptonshire track is still more than capable of springing the odd surprise, even without the aid of the WGs.

As we said, the quickest strategy is going to be a two-stopper, with a few different options on the table.

The medium is the tyre to start on, and the quickest strategy on paper is medium followed by hard followed by medium. This has the advantage of ensuring that two different compounds are run earlier in the race, opening up strategic possibilities.

For those who don't have a second set of mediums available, the strategy could be medium-hard-soft, which is also closely-matched - and could be converted to a one-stopper if needed. A one-stopper is possible but hard to manage: this would be medium to hard.

As always, this also depends on which tyres the drivers have left in their allocations, and what the conditions are like, the cooler the temperature, the more the softer compounds are favoured.

As the pitlane opens, the air temperature is 18.4 degrees C, while the track temperature is 27.9 degrees.

One by one the drivers head out... at which point it start to rain, not heavy just a light drizzle. Oh those pesky Weather Gods.

Asked by Perez about the weather outlook, his team replies: "It's hard for us to say but there might be some heavier clouds coming over."

On the grid there is frantic work on Leclerc's car, understood to be an electrical issue.

In the moments after the national anthem - of which we shall say no more - race control conforms a 20% chance of rain.

"Nothing on the radar at the moment," Hamilton is told, "looks like it should be all clear."

Ahead of the formation lap, the air temperature is 18 degrees C, while the track temperature is 28 degrees.

Verstappen, Latifi, Albon, Magnussen and Vettel all start on softs. Russell is on mediums while the rest are on mediums.

So, Verstappen is going for max attack at the start, while Russell, starting from eighth, is playing the long game.

As they head off on the formation lap, it is Verstappen who leads the way, the Dutchman having to slow to allow Sainz back in front.

The grid forms, albeit very slowly.

They're away. Verstappen leads the field into the first corner, while Hamilton leaves Leclerc for dead, but as the field follows behind there is carnage at the first corner.

The race is red-flagged.

Russell, Zhou and Albon are out, according to the timing screens, while Tsunoda and Ocon are both making their way back to the pits, their cars damaged, particularly the AlphaTauri.

The field heads back onto the pitlane as we await news of Zhou, whose car was seen to travel across the gravel trap at Turn 1 upside down.

Tsunoda arrives back at the pits but his race is over, while Ocon continues his long drive back.

Under the red flag, the order is: Verstappen, Sainz, Hamilton, Leclerc, Alonso, Perez, Norris, Latifi, Bottas and Ricciardo.

That was a nasty incident, and understandably consequently no replays are being shown.

Several minutes have passed and Zhou's car has still not been righted, and the Chinese youngster remains in it.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the incident, it does not require investigation it is decided.

It is revealed that Zhou is "OK" and has been extracted from the car. As the Alfa driver is taken away in ambulance, the crowd applauds.

Even though his car is damaged, it appears Russell is arguing with the FIA's Jo Bauer as he wants to re-start the race. While it is made clear that the Briton didn't get his car back to the pits under its own steam, he says this is because he was going to the aid of Zhou.

Meanwhile, repairs are carried out on Ocon's and Tsunoda's cars ahead of the restart.

As Mercedes officials argue with the FIA over whether Russell can restart the race, mechanics are sent to retrieve it.

"Following a crash at the start, Zhou Guanyu is conscious and now at the circuit's medical centre to undergo evaluation," confirms Alfa Romeo. Meanwhile, team manager, Beat Zehnder tells Sky Germany that Zhou is talking and doesn't appear to be injured.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Silverstone here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 04/07/2022 8:07

"What a mixed race...some good, some bad, some boring and some absolutely electric moments, so, what are the takeaways? One of the worst accident visuals I have ever seen in F1, just how lucky was Zhou? First lap madness and after all that, Russell walked free? Excellent result for Sainz, a very nice guy who drove a great race. Sorry to see the botched strategy for Leclerc as he was screwed over IMO. Without detracting from Sainz's win it should've been Leclerc's. I am finding the McLaren is increasingly suss! Something is astray and there needs to be some resolution to this ongoing problem soon as the clock is ticking down. There are too many faults occuring to DR's car, both mechanical and strategic. I am still of the opinion that Ricciardo is as fast as he ever has been and that it's the car 95%. Seems as though the 'bling' was also sorted without any further 'panto' after all the bravado and bluster [ that's just the man being the man ] emanating from one camp. Bin Slayem was not for turning thankfully.Top quality racing and rubbin'. What we need is a repeat each and every race than we'd really be 'cookin'. Finally the support for the 'protestors' from Hamilton was both stupid and untimely. Dumb comments only feed the deluded and lead to more idiotic events until someone somewhere suffers a bad result. At least Mercedes performed a backflip to counter the silly and embarrassing GOAT spiel. All in all an entertaining day if one could block out the neverending references to 'The Fab Brit Three' and the rampant jingoism that accompanied each and every on air moment. Thankfully Button managed to remain some dignity and balance in his commenting. The pre race promo clip of 'why I love England, my England' was just so cringeworthy that even the Americans were, I expect, upstaged! Roll on Austria....

"

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2. Posted by ToeKnee, 03/07/2022 18:40

"I understand not bringing LeClerc in at the moment of yellow. Sainz had older tires. I don’t understand why they didn’t bring him in the first yellow lap? Least come out in 4th with fresh reds, see what he could do."

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