In front of a record-breaking sellout crowd of 140,000, the 2022 British Grand Prix at the iconic Silverstone track served another classic. In a race which had everything- from a heart in the mouth accident on lap 1 to stunning on track battles- the chequered flag was collected by Carlos Sainz, with a typically gritty drive for his first F1 victory in 150 race starts. A superb recovery drive from Sergio Perez, after an early incident with Charles Leclerc, saw him claim second place as home favourite and 8-time Silverstone winner Lewis Hamilton ensured British representation on the podium as he finished P3.
Here are my key takeaways from the race:
Halo Saves Lives Yet Again
The halo, introduced to the cars as a safety feature few years back, served us a timely reminder as to why it truly is a lifesaver. A frightening lap 1 incident, involving Zhou Guanyu, Alex Albon, and multiple other drivers, saw the Chinese rookie thrown across the gravel upside down, ending up in the tight space between the tire barriers and the crowd fencing.
The race was consequently red flagged, and a lengthy delay ensued as the track marshals and the medics rushed to get the Alfa Romeo driver to safety, and make the track fit for racing again. Thankfully, Zhou and the other drivers escaped unhurt, and the drivers and fans were quick to applaud the tremendous structural integrity of these generation of cars, as well as the presence of the halo, silencing all those who’ve questioned its existence yet again.
The F1 Race Winners’ Club Welcomes A New Entrant
The pressure was on Ferrari to respond after seeing Red Bull win the last six consecutive races and through Carlos Sainz, they did just that, capitalizing on a stroke of misfortune affecting their rival camp. Ferrari had control of the race with Leclerc and Sainz running 1-2 but when the safety car presented itself, Sainz found himself on the better strategy call as he pit for softs, ultimately passing Leclerc and taking the chequered flag. The win was the first in the sport for the Spaniard and came on his 150th race start. It certainly has been a long time coming, and he’s shown his consistency and his ability to seize such opportunities, over the years and he finally broke his winless streak this weekend, proving people that he’s not just in the team to play second fiddle to his teammate.
Have Mercedes Finally Unlocked Its Car’s Potential?
It’s what everyone has been wondering after every race weekend this year. It’s no secret that the car is believed to have tremendous potential, but we haven’t seen Mercedes unlock its true potential yet. This weekend, however, at the iconic British track with their all-British driver lineup, Mercedes certainly came all guns blazing. They looked quick right from the off and while tricky qualifying conditions prevented them from showing their true pace, their race pace was certainly on par with the top 2 teams.
Russell sadly retired after getting involved in the lap 1 carnage, as Lewis Hamilton, keen to add to his tally of 8 Silverstone wins, troubled the race leaders and was the fastest man on the track for a good portion of the race. While in the end he had to settle for third place, his performance shows that Mercedes is seemingly on the correct development path and are getting ever closer to Red Bull and Ferrari. Perhaps a tasty three-way battle for the top spot awaits in the coming races.
Bonus: First Points In The Bag For Young Mick
After having come perilously close on a number of occasions this year, Mick Schumacher finally scored points for the first time. Dry/wet qualifying conditions and a steering issue on the car meant that he could only qualify P19, and he took advantage of other drivers’ DNFs to catapult himself into the points, even battling with Verstappen in the latter stages, enroute his eighth-place finish. While he has come under criticism this season, for not matching his teammate, this performance would do his confidence a world of good.
So, after a scintillating round of racing at Silverstone, next up on the calendar is the Red Bull Ring in Austria for a double header.