Welcome back gear-heads! The flag is out and waving, finishing up the weekend and it was a fantastic race on Sunday. Let’s start with Saturday qualifying and it was a shock because Carlos Sainz was able to claim pole position which was a rare occurrence. Red Bull and Ferrari secured the top four spots; Max in P2, Perez P3 and LeClerc in P4. These two teams have been battling it out from the start but there was a lot of speculation about whether the Mercedes team and their upgrades would make a dent in the RedBull and Max Verstappen dominance. Hamilton qualified in P5 while George Russell got P8. Would Red Bull be able to claim another victory from Ferrari or would the Scuderia claim another victory this season? Will there be another twist in the tale this round?
This victory must feel like a complete validation of all this the sacrifice that the competitor has made throughout his career to get to this point. It was not without a lot of difficulty but Sainz starting on position was able to get to the finish line for his maiden victory. There seemed to be a lot of luck on his side; the restart after the horrible accident and crash put Carlos back in pole position after being overtaken by Verstappen prior to the incident. Carlos just didn’t give up and was ultimately rewarded again by a safety car due to Ocon’s car having to retire. After the last few weeks saying that Ferrari have to get their act together after the disaster at Monaco it seems that they are starting to turn the tide. The pit strategy today along with their crew executing those pit stops was a thing of beauty. Personally I didn’t envisage that midway through the race LeClerc and Sainz would be told to battle it out for P2 and P3 respectively behind Hamilton and Sainz just couldn’t keep up and was overtaken by his teammate. Misfortune for the Charles after the safety and this set up Carlos with 9 laps to go on fresh soft tyres, this meant that Carlos would have the advantage. He had to earn this win because Perez had soft tyres put on after his pit due to the safety car and he, Hamilton and LeClerc were all bunched up around each other freeing Carlos to get that win. It was well deserved and all the more sweeter becuase he has been so close on so many occassions. This is Spain’s first Grand Prix win since 2013 with Fernando Alonso, oddly enough in a Ferrari as well. Vamos Carlos!!
Sergio was so unlucky at the beginning of the race with a puncture due to the collision that brought out a red flag. But you can’t dismiss the Mexican and his Red Bull. Starting from the back of the pack, Checo put his head down and drove his ass off. Finishing in P2 after battling LeClerc, Hamilton and Alonso for the last 9 laps after the safety car allowed a pit stop without losing a lot of time. This turned out to be crucial in that he was able to get on soft tyres and this gave him more speed for the last laps. Unfortunately for Peréz he was unable to catch Sainz who happened to take the advantage of the safety car changing to the same tyres. A valiant effort and with Max underperforming because of the damage done to his car it kept the Red Bull team ahead in the constructors points tally.
What is there left to say about a man who has won this race several times and is a 7 time world champion? Not much to be fair but the challenges this year have made it so that Lewis is doing uncharacteristic feats like battling for third or fourth instead of first. It’s been well documented that the car he is driving is inferior to the last few seasons clearly but he’s driven well enough to keep Mercedes in striking distance in third position. For large stretches of this race it was in fact Lewis on the fastest lap and fighting and overtaking several cars and it was indeed a vintage performance.
Finally something to celebrate for team Haas. Mick Schumacher raced his tail off this weekend and was able to finally secure his first points in Formula One. This is truly special, like Carlos’s first win this weekend, Mick finally got off the mark. Is this a precursor to what has been professed to be the second coming of his father, the great Michael Schumacher? Or are we reaching a false dawn? Who knows, even Sebastian Vettel was screaming in celebration when he realized during the race that Mick would get his first points in F1. You got to love it! It’s only upwards from here.
I didn’t want to just give this an honorable mention or gloss over what happened this weekend without diving into how important this piece of technology is and how it has saved a few drivers since it’s implementation. The halo is a part of the vehicle over the cockpit that is an added safety device for cars in case they flip over and the driver is still inside the vehicle or if another vehicle happened to have jump over and land on top of another. The main purpose of this is to save a driver from a mortal accident and this weekend was further proof that this piece of equipment is a godsend. This weekend we all witnessed the spectacular crash of Zhou Guanyu who was the victim of a collision that saw his car flipped over on its head and slide the length of what seemed like a football pitch into the gravel and with the momentum hop the barrier and smash right into the fence between the spectators watching. This was the incident that saw almost five crash and be ruled of contention. The lasting image of the wreck on camera was of George Russell who was part of the crash exiting his car and sprinting over to check on the Zhou. A heartwarming moment certainly but us fans watching on the broadcast were not shown a thing for about a half hour. Chatter on social media was the only source of information from that stand point as we all held our collective breath. Thankfully the halo did it’s job and Zhou was successfully removed from the wreckage and was medically cleared fit. His life along with Hamilton’s from the previous season are a true testement to the advancement of safety of the sport that has long been plagued with high profile crashes that have claimed several of the brightest racers including the great Aryton Senna. Kudos to those who fought long and hard for this, may it save many more lives and keep this sport as safe as it can reasonably be.
Now after that somber note, let’s take a look at the losers from the weekend.
The collision victims:
It’s still unclear to me what happened that caused the horrific crash but it certainly had a massive impact that sent several drivers to an early exit. Alex Albon, George Russell, Yuki Tsunoda, Esteban Ocon, and Zhou Guanyu, were all sidelined from the crash. Zhou Guanyu was the high profile and most terrifying but Alex Albon was also under medical supervision and thankfully left with no significant injuries. Yuki and Estaban were lucky enough to get some repairs to their cars and stay in the race but debris on the track would later come into play. Although none of these people are to blame per se it was certainly not a good day for any of them. Russell had his streak of top 5 finishes snapped while Zhou was rounding into fine form from his last few performances with Alfa Romeo. Thankfully everyone was okay which would make them all winners but the implications to their teams and standings are grave. Hopefully each of them will turn in better performances next week.
When you perform week in and week out there is a sense of the inevitable; Max is in the race which means there’s a chance he will win. The Dutchman is the current points leader and would not take the misfortune that befell his car this weekend lying down. As mentioned, owing to the collision there was a lot of debris, the stewards were not able to get it all. Max was in the lead for large portions of the early laps then suddenly he lost some power or grip, he suspected a puncture. He pitted his car for hard compound tyres yet nothing changed. His crew reported that he would lose some power but could continue racing if he so chose. To say he wasn’t happy about this is understatement, but to his credit he battled with what he had and a P7 is all he could muster through this trial. The reason he is a loser is what it did to the team overall in the standings when Ferrari got P1 and P4. At least he finished the race and now off to RedBull’s home country, Austria.
The 2022 British Grand Prix at Silverstone will be remembered for several milestones and the majority of them positive. The horrendous crash at the beginning will serve as a reminder of just how deadly a sport this potentially is. The tensions that arise from this and racing in general are now more crystallised than ever. The main take aways from this are: good things come for those who wait. Sainz continuing to plug away and battle through adversity to secure his first GP win was the stuff of dreams. So to for Mick, just see some of the reactions to drivers like Seb and his sister spraying him down with champagne calling him the real winner of the race. The final thing that rests in my mind is that how healthy this sport is coming out of the pandemic. The attendance over the race weekend was over 400,000 a new record for the track. This is proof that the popularity is reaching a fever pitch which is wonderful to see. Maybe it is due to the Netflix’s series or maybe it’s because of the pandemic restrictions are well and truly dead but one thing is clear, it’s never been more popular.
Okay gear-heads that’s round ten in the book and it’s off to Austria for the next Grand Prix this weekend! Here’s hoping we get a clean and fair race similar towards the final laps here at the circuit. The season is really taking shape and I just can’t wait to see what happens next. Until next time, See ya!