The British Grand Prix qualifying session was disrupted by rain, offering a merciless battle between Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen. But the race could take place in the dry, and the physiognomy could be different.
We have seen Mercedes F1 much closer to the two top teams during free practice, and the British GP could mark the return to the forefront of the reigning world champion team.
The challenge of the race will be above all strategic, with two stops planned by Pirelli and tire degradation which is often very high on the British track. Reliability will also be crucial, especially on the side of Ferrari, which no longer has the right to make mistakes.
Behind, the fight between McLaren, Alpine F1 and Alfa Romeo will continue, since Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso and Guanyu Zhou qualified in the top 10. Nicholas Latifi made a surprise appearance there but the start of the race should be complicated for the Canadian.
3:45 p.m.: A shower fell on the circuit less than an hour before the race, but the track was perfectly dry a few minutes before the start. On the other hand, the clouds revolve around the circuit, just like the showers.
3:50 p.m.: A small alert seems to have occurred on the Ferrari of Leclerc, but the Monegasque settles in his car normally.
3:55 p.m.: The chance of rain seems to be receding, as Peter Bonnington told Hamilton over the radio: “Nothing on the radar, it should stay that way.”
3:58 p.m.: Many different strategies at the start! Verstappen, Latifi, Albon, Magnussen and Vettel shod on soft tyres. Russell is the only one on hard tyres, while all the others, including Sainz and Leclerc around Verstappen, are on mediums.
Departure : Sainz misses his start and Verstappen takes the lead while Hamilton overtakes Leclerc, but there is a huge accident behind and Zhou’s Alfa Romeo rolls over even before the first corner!
Visit 1: Russell also gives up, and Albon is involved as well. Tsunoda is also involved with damage, like Ocon.
Round 2: The red flag is obviously raised. Russell retired, as did Albon, while Tsunoda and Ocon returned to the pits with a badly damaged car. The Frenchman is expected to retire, while Zhou is still in his car.
4:16 p.m.: It remains unclear how Zhou is doing as the extraction team needed to intervene between the tires and the wire mesh to extract the Chinese driver.
4:18 p.m.: Zhou was dragged out of his car and taken to the medical center by ambulance. Replays showed that Russell fell back on Gasly, and the two men touched, sending the Mercedes into Zhou’s Alfa Romeo. The latter was sent in rolls, slid several hundred meters with the head down, and took off in the gravel to land behind the tires.
4:22 p.m.: Zhou is conscious and talking, and appears to have no injuries. Alfa Romeo team manager Beat Zehnder confirmed this.
The extremely impressive images of Guanyu Zhou’s crash at the start of the #BritishGP
— CANAL+ F1® (@CanalplusF1) July 3, 2022
4:30 p.m.: The replay shows that behind, Albon crushed to avoid the accident, and was hit in the back by Vettel. After a big impact against the pit wall, he hit Ocon quite violently.
4:33 p.m.: The starting grid will be similar to the first start, and Sainz will be well in pole position ahead of Verstappen.
4:34 p.m.: Police made arrests at the circuit as protesters tried to approach the track on the first lap.
4:37 p.m.: Latifi will start eighth since Russell and Zhou will not be present for the second start. Gasly and Bottas will be in the top 10, and they will normally be 17th on the grid, Alpine having managed to repair Ocon’s car.
4:43 p.m.: Race management continues to repair the circuit, and the cars have been restarted.
4:47 p.m.: The race will start again at 4:56 p.m. French time.
4:53 p.m.: Here is the sequence showing that demonstrators tried to invade the track at the start of the race. Fortunately, in a sense, there was a red flag, because the tragedy could have occurred there if a single-seater had left the track.
— CANAL+ F1® (@CanalplusF1) July 3, 2022
4:56 p.m.: The race is restarted behind the safety car, and a standing start will be given ! Verstappen opted to take over the mids, although the softs allowed him to take the lead initially.
Second start: Verstappen and Sainz are side by side in the first corner and Sainz manages to keep the lead! Pérez takes third place.
Route 3: Leclerc manages to pass Pérez and tries to attack Verstappen, but he has to bow. Pérez’s wing is damaged after a touchdown. Norris, Hamilton, Gasly, Alonso, Tsunoda and Ocon complete the top 10.
Route 4: Sainz drives faster than Verstappen and has a 1.2 lead, while Leclerc is also 1.2 behind the Red Bull. Pérez loses a lot of time with his damaged wing and sees Norris and Hamilton glue it back on.
Route 5: Sainz set the fastest lap in the race in 1’33.437 and increased his lead to 1.4. Leclerc is behind, and Pérez loses a second on the lap on Leclerc, and two seconds on Sainz, because of his wing. Pérez returns to the pits at the end of the lap!
Round 6: Leclerc also lost a piece of his car, but has no problem staying on track. Pérez last spring on medium tyres. Hamilton overtakes Norris and grabs fourth place. This second start of the race is calmer than the first, of which you can find all the photos in our special gallery.
Route 7: The gap between Sainz and Verstappen is back under a second, while Leclerc is 1.7 behind Verstappen. Hamilton is 5.3 behind the Monegasque and has already pushed Norris back to almost 2 seconds. Latifi has returned to the top 10 thanks to the stoppage of eBottas, and he resists Bottas and Ricciardo by riding in the rhythm of Gasly, Tsunoda and Ocon.
Round 8: Verstappen takes advantage of the DRS to lap faster than Sainz, even if he doesn’t beat the fastest lap in the race. The gap is 7 tenths between the two men, while Leclerc follows the duo at a distance, maintaining 1.6 behind.