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Verstappen misery as Sainz wins British GP thriller, Hamilton on podium
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Verstappen misery as Sainz wins British GP thriller, Hamilton on podium

Verstappen misery as Sainz wins British GP thriller, Hamilton on podium

Verstappen misery as Sainz wins British GP thriller, Hamilton on podium

Verstappen misery as Sainz wins British GP thriller, Hamilton on podium

Carlos Sainz clinched his maiden F1 victory at a memorable British Grand Prix that showcased the good and the ugly of the sport.

The Ferrari driver overtook team-mate Charles Leclerc after a late safety car period to finish ahead of Sergio Perez, who fought back from early front wing damage to wind-up second.

Lewis Hamilton finished third for the second race in a row after a thrilling late-race battle between five cars for the final podium position.

But championship leader Max Verstappen endured a miserable afternoon after picking up early aerodynamic damage, finishing only seventh.

The race began under a grey cloud, however, after a red flag on lap one following a scary multi-car incident at the first corner.

Zhou was flipped after contact with George Russell's Mercedes and sent upside-down into the Abbey run-off area before digging into the gravel and launching into the catch-fence.

The Alfa Romeo driver was cleared of fractures and was confirmed to be conscious and talking at the medical centre, though Williams driver Albon was airlifted to Coventry hospital for further check-ups after being caught up in the following meleé.

Verstappen had taken the lead with a stellar start before the red flags and with the suspension being triggered before all cars had reached the safety car two line, the grid was reset for the restart.

This time around, Sainz got his elbows out and squeezed the Red Bull up against the pit wall, keeping the lead. Meanwhile, Perez and Leclerc went to battle - contact at turn three giving both wing damage.

The Mexican was forced to pit on lap six such was the damage, dropping to 16th in the process.

Verstappen frustrated by Red Bull damage

Sainz had kept the lead until lap 10, when a snap of oversteer ran the Spaniard wide at Becketts corner.

Verstappen breezed past but just two laps later, the Dutchman pulled into the pits with a suspected puncture, not before being overtaken by Sainz and triggering a rapturous cheer from the Silverstone crowd.

It soon became apparent that there was no puncture and after insisting the car was "100 per cent broken", his Red Bull team confirmed there was damage at the rear of the RB18.

Returning to the track in sixth, Verstappen was slower than Alonso ahead and failed to make any progress.

A swap to hard tyres did not please the championship leader, with complaints continuing over a new lack of front-end grip as well as problems at the rear.

Ferrari team orders tested

With Verstappen out of the picture, Sainz was left in front of team-mate Leclerc with the one-time championship leader hounding his team to get a position swap in order to increase pace.

The situation was complicated by Hamilton's blistering pace on the medium tyres, setting fastest lap after fastest lap.

Leclerc was released when Sainz pitted at the end of lap 20, the pole-sitter slotting in ahead of Lando Norris in third and on a set of hard tyres. The Ferrari stop also covered off the threat of a Mercedes undercut.

Once Leclerc had pitted, the Monégasque was the fastest on track with his hard tyres but the Ferrari team told both drivers they were free to fight.

Sainz was given the target lap time of a one minute, 32secs to fend off from a swap of positions, but when it became apparent this wasn't achievable, Leclerc was released down the Wellington Straight.

Hamilton continued to plough on using the medium tyres fitted during the red flag period and extended his stint by a further nine laps over Leclerc.

Mercedes switched him to the hard tyres but the 4.3s stop dropped him behind both Ferraris instead of right in the mix.

Tyre warm-up was the next hurdle to overcome in his chase for history, a further second bleeding from his race time on the initial lap out of the pits and the gap to Sainz in second extended to over four seconds.

Late safety car sets up grandstand finale

When Esteban Ocon ground to a halt on the entry to Copse and the safety car was thrown, Leclerc remained on track whilst Sainz and Hamilton pitted for soft tyres.

Another factor to take into account was that Perez had made superb progress after his early stop and took full advantage of the safety car to solidify fourth position and put himself right in the mix for victory.

The safety car released the field for a 10-lap sprint to the end, and the action immediately ramped up.

Hamilton came under attack from Perez into the loop, the Red Bull making his way past whilst in front, Sainz's enhanced grip on the soft tyres saw him push Leclerc wide at Aintree.

The Ferrari team-mates went side-by-side into Brooklands but it was Sainz who emerged in the lead.

Hamilton would not lie down in fourth and went back on the offensive against Perez, going wheel-to-wheel on the exit of Luffield, through Woodcote and into Copse.

Sainz had checked out by the time DRS was enabled but Leclerc was creating a bottleneck as Alonso and Norris joined the podium battle.

On lap 45 Perez made a move on Leclerc at Stowe with the pair battling side by side into Vale. The fight took both drivers wide at Club with Hamilton taking the initiative to go into second and leaving Perez noted by the FIA.

Perez fought back straight away and pushed Hamilton off the road at Village, whilst later on around the track, the Briton was forced off the track by Leclerc at Luffield.

With six laps to go Hamilton came back at Leclerc but was not able to make a move into the final corner. On the following lap, the Mercedes made a stunning move around the outside of Luffield, only for Leclerc to astonishingly retake third at the outside of Copse.

Hamilton finally made his move at Stowe, leaving the Ferrari at the mercy of Alonso.

Leclerc held on to finish fourth ahead of Alonso and Norris, but the action didn't stop there.

Verstappen came under intense pressure from Haas' Mick Schumacher across the final three laps, the German pushing the reigning world champion all the way to the chequered flag.

The result ensured Schumacher earned his first points as an F1 driver, putting an end to his misfortune.

Sebastian Vettel capped his birthday off with a points-finish in ninth, with Kevin Magnussen giving Haas a double top 10.

Only Lance Stroll, Nicholas Latifi, Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda finished the race outside the points, with Ocon, Gasly, Valtteri Bottas retiring as well as the trio involved in the opening lap incident.

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