British Grand Prix: Top 3 Drivers of the Day
By: Sebastian Yan
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz claimed his maiden pole position and victory at Silverstone last weekend at the 2022 British Grand Prix.
An eventful first lap saw the Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu sliding upside down across the gravel trap after a scary incident with Mercedes’ George Russel and Alpha Tauri’s Pierrie Gasly. To everyone’s delight, Zhou Guanyu was able to walk out with the help of paramedics thanks to the Halo protection system introduced in 2018.
The incident triggered a red flag, and the race was re-started after an hour of delay. After the restart, Sainz took the lead starting from pole position. On lap 12, the championship leader, Max Verstappen, suffered a bodywork damage from track debris which hampered him for the rest of the race.
A few more laps later, Verstappen’s championship rival, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc took the lead from his teammate Carlos Sainz after a team order. It seemed like Leclerc would pull away and secure an easy victory until a late safety car was brought out. Ferrari made a questionable decision to leave Leclerc out on old tires while everyone else, including his teammate Sainz, pitted onto a brand new set of soft rubber.
Leclerc still managed to hang on with his old tires, but only finished the race in a rather disappointing 4th, missing the opportunity to make up significant ground against the championship leader Verstappen. The race ended with a fanatic last lap. Home hero Sir Lewis Hamilton made a beautiful overtake against Leclerc with 3 corners to go, securing a 3rd place finish. Sergio Perez, despite the early damage to his front wing, finished 2nd thanks to Red Bull’s brilliant tire strategy. Carlos Sainz, the biggest winner of all, earned up his first victory after 150 starts in formula 1.
After an exciting race at Silverstone, here are my top 3 drivers of the day:
3. Sebastian Vettel
The third place goes to the 4-times World Champion. Despite driving the second slowest car on the grid, Vettel matched his pace with some of the front runners, dragging the Aston “tractor” Martin into a point-finish (P9). He and his team gambled on an early pit stop strategy that eventually paid off after the safety car. With this brilliant race pace over the season, Vettel showed that he still has the skill and talent to be one of the top drivers of the world.
2. Lewis Hamilton
The home hero and 7-times World Champion was the fan favorite. A decent qualifying session saw him start the race from P5. During the race, he made an opportunistic move down the inside of both Leclerc and Perez who were busy fighting each other. 2 laps later, Hamilton’s re-overtake on Leclerc was a perfect display of the Brit’s exceptional resilience and racecraft.
1. Carlos Sainz
The first place goes to the biggest winner of the race – Carlos Sainz. After taking a brilliant pole position in Saturday’s wet qualifying, the Spaniard made a clean and aggressive restart that secured him the lead of the race. He then made the right strategy call under the safety car, taking full advantage of his fresher tires and flying past his teammate Leclerc to take the lead. Indeed, luck played a big part in Sainz’s victory with the chaotic first lap and late safety car, but with this amazing qualifying and race pace, Sainz proved to the world that he is a real championship contender.