Carlos Sainz won his first race in Formula 1 with victory in an enthralling and incident-packed British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The Spaniard, who took his first pole position in F1 during Saturday’s qualifying session, overcame team-mate Charles Leclerc after Max Verstappen had dropped down the field.
A multi-car collision at the start of the race led to a horrific crash for Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu. The Chinese driver was flipped upside down after contact from George Russell’s Mercedes before skidding through the gravel and coming to rest on the wrong side of the tyre barrier.
The race was red flagged immediately before a delay of nearly an hour as the medical team extracted Zhou from his car. After being assessed at the medical centre, it was confirmed he was unhurt.
When the race restarted, Sainz held off Verstappen through the first sequence of turns and was leading the way until he made a mistake at Becketts which let the Red Bull driver through. However, Verstappen’s lead was short-lived as bodywork damage caused him to pit and dropped him out of contention.
This time it was Leclerc’s time to pressure Sainz at the front. With the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton catching them, Ferrari failed to implement any team orders and Leclerc had to wait for the pit stops to move into the lead.
When a late safety car was needed to retrieve the stricken Alpine of Esteban Ocon, the field bunched back up for a grandstand finish with nine laps to go. Sainz and Hamilton chose to pit again for fresh tyres while Leclerc stayed out on his older tyres.
When the racing commenced, Sainz was able to quickly pass his team-mate and move back into the lead of the race. A thrilling battle then ensued between Leclerc, Hamilton and Sergio Perez for the two remaining places on the podium.
Perez moved into second and Hamilton into third as Leclerc was unable to keep them behind despite his best efforts. He was left ruing his team’s strategy which ultimately cost him the chance to make up ground in the championship.
Sainz finally crossed the line to take his first win in what was his 150th race.
Verstappen still leads the championship after bringing his ailing car home in seventh. His lead at the top of the standings was cut to 34 points.