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Formula 1: Chequered Flag - British GP Review

Carlos Sainz has won his first-ever race in F1 after taking the chequered flag in a thrilling, incident-packed British Grand Prix while home favourite Lewis Hamilton managed to secure another podium.

Sainz started on pole position and was overtaken by Max Verstappen at the first corner but further back there was a horror shunt involving George Russell and Zhou Guanyu, with the latter's car launched off over the tyre barrier and into the fencing leading to a red flag and a delay of nearly an hour.

On the restart, the Ferrari pair of Sainz and Charles Leclerc led with Verstappen's car suffering damage from which he never fully recovered.

Around half way through the race, Leclerc was lapping faster than Sainz and the Spaniard was ordered to move over to allow his team-mate through.

Those positions stayed until Esteban Ocon's retirement led to a safety car where Sainz pitted for fresher tyres - which allowed him to retake the lead where he stayed to the end.

Verstappen ultimately finished seventh and still leads the championship but his gap has been cut to 34 points - the Dutchman is 2/9 to pick up consecutive titles with Leclerc next in the betting at 9/2.

Massive shunt delays proceedings

At the start, both Russell and Zhou got off to bad starts as the Alpha Tauri of Pierre Gasly tried to sneak in between them.

All three cars ran out of room and came together as Gasly touched the back of Russell's car, which in turn saw the Mercedes' driver clip the rear right wheel of Zhou's car to send it rolling over into the tyres.

It is a testament to the safety of modern F1 cars - particularly the halo which was only introduced in 2018 - that by the end of the race, the Chinese racer confirmed he was okay to his social media followers.

Unfortunately for Russell, as his car was towed back to the pit lane, he was unable to take the restart meaning his first DNF of the season came, lucklessly, in his home race.

Williams' Alex Albon was flown to hospital for a check up after being involved in a separate first-corner incident with Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel.

Ferrari claw back gap to Red Bull

The last six races prior to Silverstone had all been won by Red Bull and it was becoming increasingly likely they would go on and dominate the season.

However, they have been completely outperformed by Ferrari this weekend and the title race is perhaps back on.

On the second start, Sainz led the way while Verstappen and Leclerc battled for second, before the Spaniard made a mistake and allowed the Dutchman to go through.

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However, Verstappen's car then suffered some rear bodywork damage which allowed the Ferraris to regain control, effectively ruining the champion's efforts.

During the race, Leclerc - despite suffering some front wing damage himself after a slight collision with Sergio Perez at the start - closed the gap to Sainz and, given he was ahead of his team-mate in the championship, the Scuderia team made the call to promote Leclerc to the front.

Safety car defines race

It looked as though it was going to be a straightforward Ferrari one-two but with nine laps to go, the Alpine of Esteban Ocon broke down on the old pit straight, leaving no choice but for the safety car to come out.

Leclerc will be rueing Ferrari's strategic call to keep him out on depreciating hard tyres - with virtually everyone else at the front of the pack, including Sainz, having made the decision to come in for fresh soft tyres.

Sainz was requested to back the field up to allow Leclerc to develop a gap at the front but, so determined to win his first race, he ignored those pleas and was vindicated as he overtook his team-mate.

Leclerc was soon vulnerable and the final five laps produced some breathtaking racing with drivers swapping positions, leaving Sainz to run away at the front.

The Monegasque racer, who hasn't won since the Australian GP in April, was swamped by cars with better tyres and had to settle for fourth.

Hamilton lifts British spirits

Mercedes' problems this season have been well-documented and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton has had to put up with a car that simply does not have the pace of the Red Bull or Ferrari.

However, recent races have seen improvements made, in particular with relation to the "porpoising" which has proved particularly uncomfortable for both Hamilton and Russell.

The back end of Sunday's race saw Hamilton display some of the audacity and racecraft that has made him such a force in the sport for 15 years.

He opportunistically overtook both Leclerc and Sergio Perez in the same corner while the duo were fighting each other and was unlucky to lose the place.

This though will be very satsifactory and now Mercedes will have hope they can make the second half of the season a three-way battle, even though it already looks too late to make a title challenge.

However, the day belonged to Carlos Sainz and he will hope to make it two from two next time out at the Red Bull Ring in Austria in a week's time.

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