Formula 1: Anxious minutes after the crash at Silverstone


The British Grand Prix is ​​initially overshadowed by a serious accident. Then Carlos Sainz jr. his first career victory in a Ferrari. Two Germans also ended up in the points at Silverstone.

The Alfa Romeo by Guanyu Zhou slides down the track at Sliverstone

The British Grand Prix was less than ten seconds old when the Formula 1 world held its breath: After an accident involving at least five vehicles the Chinese Guanyu Zhou flew at high speed in his upside-down Alfa Romeo several hundred meters over the tarmac, hitting sparks. Even the gravel bed didn't stop him. His car overturned again, flew over the tire stacks to hit the safety fence at a height of a good three meters, at the feet of which it finally came to a standstill. 

His competitor George Russell, who was also involved in the crash with his Mercedes, ran from his wrecked vehicle to Zhou only to return with a depressed expression. Initially, no repetitions of the incident were shown on television – this suggested the worst. But while some damaged vehicles, some on three wheels, were looking for their way into the pit lane, initial information about the 23-year-old's state of health got through. An employee of his racing team reported that he was conscious, had no external injuries and was able to speak.

Guanyu Zhou is rescued from his wrecked racing car and taken to the track hospital

Confirmation came from the medical center a short time later. Without the Halo cockpit protection, the effects would certainly not have been so minor, as world champion Max Verstappen confirmed after the race: “Without Halo, he probably wouldn't have been there.”

All clear before the restart

In addition to Zhou, Alexander Albon also had to be treated. During the start, his Williams had to deal with several impacts with the barriers and other vehicles. The Thai was flown to a hospital by helicopter.

“We had no grip at all, and I touched Zhou's side – that's it,” Russell reconstructed the course of the accident on Sky TV. However, he was frustrated by the decision of race control not to let him continue. After leaving his car, it was loaded onto a tow truck. Russell argued that all he had had was a flat tire and he could have pitted his car. But since the Mercedes was already on the hook, it was too late. The regulations state that the drivers have to reach the pit lane independently.

While Albon and Russell had to retire, Alpine driver Esteban Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda in the Alpha Tauri were able to continue the race in their repaired cars after the almost hour-long interruption. The restart then took place in the order of qualifying on Saturday – without the three vehicles that were too badly damaged. And what followed was perhaps the most exciting and varied Formula 1 race in recent decades. 

A tactical error cost Leclerc victory

No fewer than six drivers fought for victory: Up until lap 39, Charles Leclerc from Monegas looked like he would triumph in the Ferrari, but a defective fuel pump on Esteban Ocon's Alpine led to a virtual safety car phase in which all favorites changed their tires – except Leclerc. After the restart, he first had to let his teammate Carlos Sainz pass, and despite a spectacular and tough fight, Lewis Hamilton in the Silver Arrow and Sergio Perez in the Red Bull.

For Leclerc it was only enough for fourth place. After all, he was still three places ahead of his World Cup rival Max Verstappen. The world champion from the Netherlands apparently had technical problems with his Red Bull in the second half of the race and even had to fend off attacks from Mick Schumacher in the final phase. 

Mick Schumacher scores in the points

The German celebrated the first World Cup points of his career in eighth place in Haas.  “It took long enough to get those first points,” said Schumacher afterwards on Sky. “Everything worked out, we changed the tires at the right moment.” Compatriot Sebastian Vettel finished ninth in the Aston Martin on his 35th birthday. “I don't think that was to be expected given our form. We drove very consistently and I think the safety car cost us seventh place. Nevertheless, I'm happy about the two points for Mick too.”< /p>

Carlos Sainz celebrates his first career win in the Ferrari in the 150th race

Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz  is happy about the first victory in the 150th Grand Prix: “I don't know what to say. It's incredible,” said Perez after the race, “a victory in Silverstone with Ferrari. It's a day that I will never forget.” 

The best news that afternoon from Silverstone was that Guanyu Zhou was so fit again by the end that he was able to watch the award ceremony on site.