It is a result that Carlos Sainz and the world of Formula 1 will remember for a long time. The Ferrari driver won the first victory of his career on the Silverstone circuit on Sunday July 3 after a crazy race. Starting from pole, Sainz was able to do well in a race marked by a major pile-up shortly after the lights went out, which caused a long interruption before a new start.
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Solid on the track and opportunistic, the Spaniard finally put his name on the list of Grand Prix winners. Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) complete the podium. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) had to settle for fourth place. Victim of mechanical problems, the leader of the championship, Max Verstappen, finished seventh.
An unprecedented pole position for Carlos Sainz on the grid, two favorites for the championship in ambush, the risk of rain… The Silverstone public expected a show at the start of the Grand Prix. But the excitement quickly gave way to anxiety, when Guanyu Zhou’s single-seater (Alfa Romeo) suffered a terrible accident from the start. Hit by Russell, the Chinese driver slid his head upside down in the gravel trap before crashing behind the tire wall.
At the same time, as race management waved red flags to signify a halt to the race, protesters managed to enter the track, as feared by Northamptonshire Police in recent days. Almost an hour later, after the reassuring news from the FIA on Zhou’s state of health, then confirmed by the driver himself, the battle on the track was able to resume its rights.
She kept all her promises, right up to the final laps. Overtaken by Max Verstappen at the first start, Carlos Sainz held his rank during the second. But he thought he lost everything after being trapped in the pit stop game, then passed by his faster teammate. Followed by a lucky star, he finally benefited from the exit of the safety car 12 laps from the finish to change tires, regain the lead on the restart, and afford a historic success. He becomes the second Spaniard to win a race in the premier category, after Fernando Alonso.
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For their part, Sergio Pérez and Lewis Hamilton, who started 4th and 6th on the grid, gradually recovered before fighting a fierce battle in the final laps in front of a cheering crowd. Third man in the battle for the podium, Charles Leclerc had to settle for 4th place. The Monegasque, tense and at odds with his team’s strategy throughout the race, was nevertheless in the lead 15 laps from the checkered flag. But his worn tires were no match for the restart, and he had to give in to his pursuers.
The only comfort for him: the 7th place of his rival Max Verstappen. A puncture and then aerodynamic problems forced the world championship leader to stay behind for most of the race. In the standings, the Dutchman retains 34 points over Sergio Pérez, 43 over Charles Leclerc.
Among the surprises of the day, Mick Schumacher also took advantage of the crazy scenario to score the first four points of his career (8th). Among the French, it’s a race to forget. Starting in the second half of the peloton, they couldn’t see the checkered flag. Pierre Gasly, first sandwiched in the serious accident at the start, had to retire halfway through the race after a bad contact with his teammate Yuki Tsunoda. Esteban Ocon was dropped by his single-seater on lap 39, due to a fuel pump problem, an abandonment which caused the safety car to exit. Bad news for the Alpine team at the heart of a busy month of July for the cars, which will be back on the track on Friday July 7, at Spielberg in Austria.