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Carlos Sainz takes home maiden Formula One victory

Aditya Chaudhuri Aditya Chaudhuri

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz became Formula One’s 112th race winner following his win at an eventful British Grand Prix. The Spaniard was followed by Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez, who finished second ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. Sainz’s teammate Charles Leclerc finished fourth ahead of Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris and Max Verstappen. Haas’ Mick Schumacher scored his first-ever points in Formula One, finishing eighth ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and Kevin Magnussen, who rounded up the points places. 

Maiden pole-sitter Sainz had the worst start to the race with Verstappen taking the lead, but a scary accident involving Haas’ Zhou Guanyu and Mercedes’ George Russell saw an early red flag on Lap 2 itself. Zhou, thankfully, was unhurt following his check at the medical centre and Russell walked away unhurt as well. Upon restart, Sainz made the most of his second opportunity and got a better start, while Verstappen suffered from a mechanical issue which effectively ended his chances of fighting for the win. Sainz’s teammate Leclerc and Hamilton also led the race for significant periods, but in the end it was Sainz who managed to cross the line first to score his first-ever win in Formula One. 

The race got off to the most eventful start possible in front of a record crowd of more than 400,000 in attendance at Silverstone. While Verstappen snatched the lead from Sainz up front, Russell and Zhou tangled further back, which saw Zhou’s car somersault spectacularly and land deep into the barriers. It wasn’t Russell and Zhou who were the only ones to tangle; Williams’ Alex Albon, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon all got into incidents. While Tsunoda and Ocon were able to carry on, Albon’s race ended immediately after his collision. With safety concerns for Zhou and multiple cars all over the race track, the race stewards put the red flag out within 20 seconds of the race getting underway. 

After a lengthy delay and confirmation from the FIA’s medical centre that Zhou was conscious and not seriously hurt, racing restarted with the initial grid order. This meant Sainz, the pole-sitter who had lost out to Verstappen, had another chance to keep hold of the lead. Racing restarted with 17 cars on the grid, with Zhou, Russell and Albon retiring due to their collisions. This time, Sainz got a better start and was able to fend off Verstappen, while Leclerc in third place brushed wheels with Sergio Pérez, who tried to attack the Monégasque. Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, had a horror restart and dropped down to sixth position, though was back up to fourth inside two laps, while Pérez pitted early to fix the damage from his tussle with Lelcerc. Sainz, up ahead, was leading well up until Lap 10, when he committed a rookie error by going off-track, and the ever-hungry Verstappen breezed past him to take the lead of the race. Sainz, meanwhile, now had his own teammate breathing down his neck. 

Verstappen’s lead wasn’t for too long, however, as on Lap 12 Sainz retook the lead following what seemed like a puncture suffered by the Dutchman, who managed to get his car back to the pits for a change but rejoined in sixth place; that was his race more or less done. His team informed him over the radio that there was an aerodynamic issue and though they couldn’t fix it, it wasn’t critical enough for him to retire.

Lap 21 saw another retirement as the only-remaining Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas retired due to a mechanical problem.

Back on the track, Hamilton was cutting into the lead of the Ferrari car up ahead, and by Lap 24 he was only a second and half behind Leclerc, who was leading the race following Sainz’s pit-stop. Hamilton took the lead of the race on Lap 25, when Leclerc came in for his stop, and within a couple of laps, in clear air, he was putting in some impressive laps and had built a lead of 18 seconds by Lap 31. 

The seven-time World Champion came in for his stop on Lap 34, but a slow stop from the crew meant he rejoined a couple of seconds behind Sainz in third. There was another retirement on Lap 39 as Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who had suffered damage on the opening lap, retired and that brought out the Safety Car. With the Safety Car being deployed, almost all of the cars came into the pits for what was a relatively free pit-stop barring race leader Charles Leclerc, who was kept out to keep track position.

The Safety Car had come in on Lap 43, and while Leclerc struggled to keep Sainz behind, Pérez put the pressure on Hamilton, which saw the British driver go off the track and lose a spot to the Mexican. Leclerc, meanwhile, also went wide, and Sainz, who led the race and but had lost the lead, was back to leading the race again. Hamilton, who lost a place post resumption, was on the attack again and charged at Leclerc and Pérez, and for the following couple of laps, there was an ideal display of perfect wheel-to-wheel racing between the three that saw all three exchange position, but Pérez managed to take second, with Hamilton putting in some stellar moves to stay in the podium place ahead of Leclerc.

Eventually, Sainz managed to hold on for the win and became only the second-ever Spanish driver to win an F1 race. What would have made him feel even better is that the other driver, Fernando Alonso, was on the grid with him to witness it. Sergio Pérez’s incredible recovery drive following an early pit-stop saw him take home not just another podium for Red Bull but also crucial points for Red Bull on a day Ferrari scored heavily. And, while George Russell’s run of finishing every race in the season in the top five might have ended, Lewis Hamilton gave not only his team but also his home fans something to cheer about with a record-breaking 13th podium finish in Silverstone. 

Pérez’s second-place finish along with Verstappen finishing a low seventh means the Mexican has now cut down his teammate’s lead in the Championship standings to 34 points, while Leclerc is hot on the Mexican’s heels – a further 9 points behind.

Ferrari’s strong performance in Silverstone means they have brought down Red Bull’s lead in the Constructors’ to 63, but the Scuderia know that there is a long way to go before they can not only retake but build a healthy lead again. 

Following the thrilling race in England, the action continues in a week’s time as racing is back in France next week. Given the standard of races we have been having this season, we should be in for another sensational race. 

Carlos Sainz takes home maiden Formula One victory
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Aditya Chaudhuri

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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