After an eventful British Grand Prix weekend, it could be turning point for the season based upon what went down this past weekend.
Weather played a part both in practice and in qualifying. The race was dry but had plenty of drama and action to go along with it.
Three names that did well during the practice sessions were Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris. They were able to take that momentum into qualifying and the race.
Qualifying started out wet with rain falling, the intermediate tyres was the choice of all the drivers at the time. In Q1, Haas and Aston Martin were not able to get out of the session, being eliminated in the bottom four positions with Lance Stroll being slowest. Alex Albon was the other driver who was eliminated in Q1 being outqualified by his teammate.
Q2 started out dryer than Q1 but the rain slowly started to fall heavier around the middle of the session meaning the drivers were trying to get laps in as quick as they could to get fast enough laps in before the pace was not there anymore.
Sainz was in danger of elimination in worse conditions but was able to get himself out of the bottom five. Valtteri Bottas was eliminated after having a good showing in Q1 so came off slightly surprising. The others who suffered elimination were the Alpha Tauri duo of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda along with Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon.
Q3 started out with drivers struggling with the conditions, with Max Verstappen even spinning around on the exit of turn 15. As the time went on, the drivers adapted well, and Fernando Alonso went 3 seconds faster than the top time. The times got quicker with every lap that passed.
Come to the end of Q3, Sainz shot up to the top from sixth, Leclerc messed up his lap, while Verstappen did not improve and stayed second. Hamilton grabbed fourth just ahead of Perez in fifth. Norris was sixth followed by Alonso. George Russell only managed eighth while Zhou took ninth and Latifi qualified tenth, not setting a competitive lap.
All this meant Sainz took the first pole of his career with the possibility of taking the win and breaking the Red Bull win streak they have been on.
The race got underway and only after about four corners the race was red flagged after a scary crash involving Zhou Guanyu when he was collided into by Russell because Gasly was squeezed out in-between them off the start. Zhou’s car flipped and scraped along the ground which then flipped over the barricade into the fence.
The red flag delay was understandably long as Zhou needed to be extracted from the car, he was deemed okay after being examined by doctors.
The race got underway again with the same order as qualifying instead of the order from when the red flags came out. Sainz got away in the lead this time with Leclerc and Perez hitting a part of each other’s front wing endplates off, this affected Perez badly as he lost a lot of pace leading to him pitting a few laps in.
Through turn 13 and 14 on lap 10 Sainz made a mistake going wide leading to Verstappen taking advantage and going into first with Sainz holding off Leclerc able to at least keep second.
Only two laps later Sainz got the lead back after Verstappen suffered some floor damage, leading to him being slower. A couple of corners later Verstappen made his way into the pits after he suspected a puncture. He came out in sixth but had lost a lot of pace.
Lap twenty Sainz pit for hard tyres, a few laps later Leclerc did the same, Sainz was unable to find the pace Leclerc found, and eventually on lap thirty-one, Sainz was told to let Leclerc pass him.
The gap was being opened up to about 4 seconds until Ocon had power loss, the car was stopped at the end of the old pit straight just before turn 9. This brought out a safety car which gave drivers a chance to pit. Most went onto soft tyres with Leclerc being the one to stay out on hards, his team-mate pitted and by the time the safety car ended, Leclerc was vulnerable.
Sainz immediately took the opportunity to get himself into the lead passing his team-mate and then slowly building a gap. Leclerc was under pressure from Hamilton and Perez, even Alonso and Norris were in the fight.
On lap forty-five to lap forty-six, Leclerc fought for second valiantly with Perez attempting to get past the Ferrari into turn 15, the battle then continued into the final few corners where Hamilton took advantage of the bad exits of Perez and Leclerc, he grabbed second for himself. So out of the final corner, the order reversed with Hamilton leading them out of the final corner.
The battle continued into turn 3 where Perez took second from Hamilton, the following corner, Leclerc took third back from Hamilton. By the time they get to turn six Alonso was having a go at Hamilton, but nothing came of that.
Lap forty-eight and Hamilton finally gets himself past the Ferrari and into third by turn 15 after the whole lap battle for the final podium position.
The end of the race had Carlos Sainz win his first race in Formula 1 and convert his pole into a win. Perez took second ahead of Hamilton. Leclerc had to settle for fourth in the end, with Alonso taking fifth followed by Norris. Verstappen took seventh just, after racing Schumacher to line, this giving the Haas driver his first points in Formula 1. Vettel and Magnussen rounded out the top ten.
The rest of the finishers were Stroll, Latifi, Ricciardo and Tsunoda. With Ocon, Albon, Russell, Zhou, Bottas and Gasly were the non-finishers.
The result means Verstappen’s lead in the championship takes a hit, with Perez taking second from Leclerc, cutting the gap to 34 points to Verstappen. With Leclerc 9 points behind Perez. With Sainz’s win it takes him 9 points behind Leclerc.
Red Bull have their lead in the constructors cut slightly to 63 points with Ferrari remaining second. Mercedes continues third 61 points behind Ferrari. McLaren remains fourth only 6 points ahead of Alpine. Alfa Romeo sit in sixth on 51 points, comfortably ahead of Alpha Tauri by 24 points while being 16 points behind Alpine. Haas sit in eighth on 20 points getting ahead of Aston Martin who are in ninth only 2 points behind. Williams remains last on 3 points.
In a very eventful weekend, another race is on the horizon next week, this race being the Austrian GP, Red Bull have had a very good time in Austria in the past few years. Could Verstappen get a win back or is Ferrari going to win again and getting their title challenge back on track.
F1 British GP Results
1 – Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 2 – Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 3 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 4 – Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 5 – Fernando Alonso (Alpine) 6 – Lando Norris (McLaren) 7 – Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 8 – Mick Schumacher (Haas) 9 – Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) 10 – Kevin Magnussen (Haas) 11 – Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) 12 – Nicholas Latifi (Williams) 13 – Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) 14 – Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri) DNF – Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) DNF – Esteban Ocon (Alpine) DNF – Alex Albon (Williams) DNF – George Russell (Mercedes) DNF – Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) DNF – Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)