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F1 | British GP | Carlos Sainz wins in Silverstone after intense battle with Leclerc, Hamilton, Perez and long red flag period for a big crash on the first lap

After an impressive, race-long battle with Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton, Carlos Sainz emerged victorious from the 2022 British GP. The race was marked by a very long red flag period and great on-track battles.

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F1 | British GP | Carlos Sainz wins in Silverstone after intense battle with Leclerc, Hamilton, Perez and long red flag period for a big crash on the first lap
Fuente imagen: Scuderia Ferrari

With Carlos Sainz starting on pole for the first time in his career, the Spaniard had high hopes he could keep Max Verstappen's Red Bull behind.

But a flying start for the Dutchman, who started on the soft compound tyres, instead of  Sainz’s mediums, left the Ferrari man down the order fighting against his team-mate Charles Leclerc.

But the racing was quickly stopped due to an incident involving multiple cars in the first corner, with a red flag being deployed by race control.

George Russell, Zhou Guanyu, Alex Albon all out of the race,  with front-wing damage to Yuki Tsunoda and a puncture for Esteban Ocon. Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly were also involved. Zhou had his Alfa Romeo upside down after contact with Pierre Gasly and George Russell, and flew towards the tyre barriers on the outside of turn one. The team confirmed he is OK after the incident.

The race restarted after 50 minutes of stoppage and a relieve that Zhou Guanyu is OK, with the same grid order as in qualifying, given no racing laps were completed under green flag conditions. That meant Carlos Sainz retook his first place for the second standing start. Red Bull opted to change Verstappen to the Medium tyres for the second start.

Sainz managed to keep his lead as the race got underway, squeezing Verstappen towards the inside of turn one and making his move around the outside.

Behind them, Leclerc and Perez made contact, with both drivers carrying damage on their cars, with Perez pitting on lap 5 due to the severity of the damage on his front wing.

Verstappen kept up with Sainz on the opening few laps, using DRS to get closer to the Spaniard, in a battle that seemed a continuation of their Canada duel, but in reverse order. But with a crucial mistake on lap 10, Sainz ran off the circuit at the Maggotts/Becketts/Chapel complex, and had to manage his car on the grass, with Verstappen flying past and into the lead.

Leclerc also closed up to his recovering team-mate, but on lap 12 a dramatic puncture for new race leader Max Verstappen meant the Dutchman lost out to both Ferrari cars, and had to pit for a new set of tyres. The puncture was caused by debris which he ran over. Verstappen pitted for a new set of medium tyres, but continued suffering from bad handling on his car, which revealed there was damage to the rear of his RB18, meaning he was short on rear downforce.

The two Ferrari drivers continued battling for the lead at the front, as Leclerc showed immense frustration due to not being let through sooner on his team-mate. Leclerc, according to his engineer, was missing five points of downforce at the rear, and was still able to keep pace with Sainz in a perfectly functional Ferrari. The Monegasque said on the radio: “I’m ***** up my race”, before arguing with his team that he can go faster than the Spaniard.

All the while, Lewis Hamilton in 3rd place started catching both Ferraris, with a raft of fastest laps being set by Briton.

On lap 20, Ferrari decided to bring Sainz in for a new set of the hard compound tyres, whilst both Leclerc and Hamilton stayed out longer. Hamilton closed in fast on the Monegasque, with the gap down to three seconds.

In the midfield, Valtteri Bottas had to retire his Alfa Romeo on lap 21 with a mechanical problem.

Max Verstappen continue to run in sixth place, meanwhile, carrying his damaged car, and pitted again on lap 24 to change for the hard tyres. He came out of the pits alongside Sebastian Vettel, with the German pulling off an unexpected move on the Dutchman around the outside of turn three. The reigning world champion complained about “no grip” on the new tyres.

With the gap to Hamilton’s Mercedes coming down rapidly, Leclerc pitted on lap 25, whilst Hamilton stayed out reporting his tyres were “good”. Leclerc quickly closed up to Sainz, as his Ferrari team said over the radio that the two were “free to fight” on lap 29.

By lap 31, Sainz had to make way for Leclerc as his lap times were “not good enough” according to his eengineer.

Mercedes responded three laps later by pitting the seven-time champion, and he came out just behind both Ferraris, after a slightly slower than usual pit stop of 4.3 seconds.

Down the order, good drives from Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher meant both Germans occupied top ten positions, with the Aston Martin in seventh and the Haas in 10th by lap 37 of 52.

Verstappen, still carrying his issues, was left down in eight fighting with Esteban Ocon. But the Alpine had a problem just after overtaking Verstappen for P8. The Alpine stopped on track just before Copse corner, and race control decided to deploy a Safety Car on lap 39.

With the Safety Car, both Sainz, Hamilton and Perez pitted for new soft tyres, but Leclerc stayed out on his used hards. Other pit stops down the order for Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, Lance Stroll, Mick Schumacher and Yuki Tsunoda – the AlphaTauri driver down the order after contact with team-mate Gasly earlier in the race.

The race restarted on lap 43, with Sainz immediately making a move on the struggling Leclerc, as he cleverly used the grip of his new soft tyres. Lewis Hamlton lost out to Sergio Perez at the restart, but the fight carried on for the next few laps, with the Briton also on new tyres.

A dramatic and stunning battle between five drivers took place over the next laps, with Leclerc, Perez, Hamilton, Norris and Alonso all fighting for second place behind Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, streaming away into the lead.

Hamilton finally made his move on Leclerc down the inside of Stowe on lap 49, with the helping of DRS. Down the order, Mick Schumacher put pressure on Max Verstappen for 7th place.

Carlos Sainz kept his cool after a very difficult and intense race to win in Silverstone, one day after he scored his maiden pole position in Formula 1. Behind him came Sergio Perez and home favourite Lewis Hamilton. Leclerc limped his way to fourth on his used hards, followed by Alonso and Norris.

Championship leader Max Verstappen had a tough day on track, and had to fight off Haas’ Mick Schumacher all the way to the chequered flag to secure his 6 world championship points.

The top ten was completed by Sebastian Vettel and Kevin Magnussen.

The championship picture now has Verstappen still top of the standings, but his lead is now reduced to 34 points over team-mate Sergio Perez and 43 points over Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

It has been confirmed by the Alfa Romeo team that Zhou Guanyu is doing well and uninjured after a nasty accident on the opening lap.

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