F1 – British GP – Race
Hello, MiniFans! Yesterday, a wet qualifying session gave us a brand new poleman but Sunday welcomed us in a decently sunny way, with some clouds covering the track but seemingly without rain in the horizon for the start of the race. However, as we know, the British weather is unpredictable, as is Red Bull.
Max Verstappen decided to go against the current and chose soft tyres, in an attempt to try and get rid of Carlos Sainz as soon as possible. He managed to do so but his happiness was short lived. A crash just as the race started meant it was red flagged in the first lap.
The crash was more spectacular than harmful, but up to five drivers saw themselves involved in it. Zhou’s Alfa Romeo was tipped over and scarily launched upside down across the gravel and went past the tyre barrier, slotting itself between that and the metallic fence. However, it looked worse than it actually was, thanks to all the security measures in modern F1 cars.
Zhou, Albon and Russell didn’t restart the race, the first two due to being in the medical centre for a check-up, and the Mercedes driver due to his car not being able to be repaired. Tsunoda and Ocon, who had also been involved in the incident, did rejoin the race.
A standing start was mandated and it went very differently this time. Verstappen dropped the idea of using softs and this helped Sainz to maintain his lead and start escaping, while both Red Bulls and his teammate, Leclerc, fought for second place. Sainz’s happiness was short lived, as Verstappen eventually caught up to him and overtook the Ferrari easily, but the story was about to change…
The Red Bull driver was soon losing speed and a cry for help came through the radio. The Dutch driver had to pit due to what seemed like a puncture, but rejoining the track with fresh mediums didn’t truly solve his problems and he was stuck in sixth, not even being able to get close to Alonso, who was right in front of him.
Sainz was left on his own at the front, but complaints from Leclerc soon came via the radio, as Ferrari had decided to stick with the positions they were in. Sainz soon got called into the pits for hard tyres, to try and go to the end, and this combo seemed to work for the Spaniard, who was setting faster laps than Leclerc and Hamilton, who had set the fastest lap of the race. Verstappen did a second stop, this time for hards as well, and according to his radio, they weren’t working for him as they were for Ferrari.
Hamilton, who saw himself in first (but with a stop less than Ferrari), waited more than ten laps after the Ferrari drivers got new tyres, but his bet mostly paid off and, with fresher tyres on, he began to chase down not Leclerc, but Sainz, as the Italian team had made its drivers swap positions. However, the Spaniard hadn’t said his last word. A safety car caused by Ocon stopping in one of the circuit’s straights meant that Hamilton would be pitting for softs, but Ferrari read the play and boxed Sainz as well for the red rimmed tyres.
The restart benefitted the red cars, as Pérez overtook Hamilton quite easily, having caught him off guard, and starting a small battle between them. Sainz made good use of his soft tyres and didn’t allow himself to be ordered around by his team, fighting against team orders and getting first place back from Leclerc, who was, so far, being lucky, as Pérez and Hamilton were fighting like cats and dogs.
With only twelve laps to go, the fight was on. Sainz opened a gap that wouldn’t be closed, no matter if it was his teammate, Hamilton or Pérez behind him, but it was the battle for second and third that caught all eyes. Leclerc managed to fend them off for a while, but his old hard tyres were no match to fresh softs and, in the end, after a massive battle that could easily be used to teach young drivers how it is done in the premier class, he would concede defeat and remain in fourth, trying to fight off Alonso. Meanwhile, his teammate would, for the first time and after waiting for many seasons while he was doubted, achieve a status not many have reached: Sainz had finally become a race winner, at the wheel of a Ferrari.
There is a reason why Formula 1 fans like traditional tracks. Well, there is more than one single reason, but seeing brand new winners being crowned in circuits that have been part of the championship since way before they were born is one of them. Today, in Silverstone, the track where it all began, Carlos Sainz has been inducted in a very exclusive club: The one that gathers the names of those drivers who were lucky enough to stand on the top step of a podium.