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HomeNEWSZhou Guanyu's car flips over tire barrier in huge F1 crash

Zhou Guanyu’s car flips over tire barrier in huge F1 crash

SILVERSTONE, England — The British Grand Prix was suspended before the end of the first lap after two huge collisions involving multiple drivers on the pit straight resulted in Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo ending up on the wrong side of the tyre barriers at Turn 1.

Emergency crews were immediately in attendance, with Zhou and Williams driver Alex Albon being taken to the medical centre. Both were cleared of major injuries and released from Coventry Hospital after precautionary checks.

A replay showed Pierre Gasly being pinched between George Russell on one side and Zhou on the other, with contact between Gasly and Russell pitching the Mercedes of Russell into Zhou’s Alfa Romeo.

The energy of the second impact rolled Zhou’s car, sending it upside down through the run-off area before it barrel-rolled over the barriers, only to be stopped by the catch fence in front of a grandstand.

Zhou later said Formula One’s Halo cockpit protection “saved my life”.

The Halo was introduced in F1 ahead of the 2018 season but was controversial, with many traditionalists as it was such a big step away from the unprotected look of cars.

The device likely saved Charles Leclerc from a serious injury at that year’s Belgian Grand Prix and has been credited for saving drivers in several other incidents, including Romain Grosjean’s fireball crash at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Just moments after Zhou’s crash, Albon was involved in a separate incident, when he hit the brakes for the initial crash and Sebastian Vettel piled into the back of his Williams. The collision pushed Albon into the pit wall before he rebounded back onto the track and collided with Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon.

Tsunoda, Ocon and Gasly were able to continue back to the pits, while Zhou, Albon and Russell were out of the race on the spot.

Soon after the collisions the race was red-flagged as the leaders headed onto the Wellington Straight, suspending the race.

Separate to the collisions, protesters also broke onto the track further round the lap.

The race was restarted at 3:56 p.m. local time.

George Russell: F1 must learn lessons from Zhou Guanyu crash

George Russell said Formula One has to learn the safety lessons from Zhou Guanyu’s huge crash at the British Grand Prix, which saw his car vault over a barrier and get stuck in a small gap.

Russell and Pierre Gasly were involved in the collision with Zhou, which flipped the Alfa Romeo car upside down before it skidded off the track.

After the crash, Russell ran from his car to the tire barrier, where Zhou’s car was stuck while he was extracted from his car.

“It was horrible, in that position he was stuck there, nothing he could have done,” Russell, who is also a director for the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, said:

“We need to think to avoid a car being stuck in such a fine gap.

“The space between the barriers and the metal fence and he was just stuck in there, nowhere to go. Yeah, something to learn.”

Zhou credited Formula One’s Halo cockpit device, which sits above the heads of drivers, for saving his life.

The Chinese driver was released from Coventry Hospital after precautionary checks on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton: Charles Leclerc sensible, unlike Max Verstappen last year

SILVERSTONE, England — Lewis Hamilton praised Charles Leclerc after their epic fight for position at the British Grand Prix and said it was a lot more sensible than his battle with Max Verstappen in 2021.

Hamilton and Leclerc fought wheel-to-wheel for third position over three incredible laps at the dramatic conclusion of the race.

At one stage, Leclerc reclaimed position around the outside of Copse, the same point of the track where Hamilton and Verstappen controversially collided last year.

Like that incident, Hamilton had the inside line again but Leclerc passed around the outside without contact, something the seven-time world championship was quick to reference after the race.

“Charles did a great job, what a great battle. He is a very sensible driver, clearly a lot different to what I experienced last year,” Hamilton told Sky Sports after the race.

“At Copse for example, the two of us went through there with no problem. What a battle. Really, really amazing weekend.”

Last year, the FIA appeared to lay the blame for the incident with Hamilton, handing him a 10-second penalty during the race.

Hamilton went on to win regardless.

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This year Hamilton had looked a strong contender to repeat that victory but he was left lamenting a series of moments he felt cost him dearly.

“Definitely, for a while it was feeling on. A bunch of things went against us. The start, we got up to third then they put us back to fifth.

“Then I lost ground to Lando, so I spent a bunch of laps trying to get past him. Then the gap was five or six seconds to the Ferraris. But I was doing good time, catching them up, I did a good long stint and I thought: ‘Yes, maybe we can fight for a win here.’

“But unfortunately the gap was too big and the pit stop was not very quick. Then at the end, I just struggled with the warm-up and lost out to two cars. It was so tough today.”

Max Verstappen’s car lost performance from AlphaTauri debris

Max Verstappen’s loss of performance the British Grand Prix was due to a piece of debris from an AlphaTauri becoming lodged in the floor of his Red Bull.

Verstappen was leading the race when he suddenly lost performance and conceded positions to both Ferraris.

The sudden lack of grip was so bad that Verstappen reported a puncture, but when he returned to the pits the team found that all four tyres were fully inflated and a piece of debris was lodged under the car, stripping it of performance.

Red Bull was unable to remove the debris at the pit stop and sent him back on track in the hope of salvaging a result, with Verstappen going on to secure six points for a seventh place finish.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner later said the debris had stripped the car of 20 percent of its downforce and also revealed it had been left on track following a collision between the drivers of Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri, Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner later said the debris had stripped the car of 20 percent of its downforce and also revealed it had been left on track following a collision between the drivers of Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri, Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly.

“Basically on lap 11 he hit a piece of debris, which was an AlphaTauri part from the incident that they had, so he then did the race with a modified floor with a piece of an AlphaTauri end plate stuck under the bottom of the car. It stayed in there.

“Basically on lap 11 he hit a piece of debris, which was an AlphaTauri part from the incident that they had, so he then did the race with a modified floor with a piece of an AlphaTauri end plate stuck under the bottom of the car. It stayed in there.

After Verstappen reported the loss in performance, Horner said the team’s objectives changed from winning the race to finishing seventh.

“He reported a puncture, we couldn’t see it on the data but you’ve got to trust the driver, so he pitted as a precautionary measure,” Horner explained. “And then we saw that there was debris and I think Carlos Sainz said when he was following him that bits were coming out of the bottom of Max’s car.

“Then on the medium tyre he was fighting as hard as he could [after the pit stop], but your race suddenly becomes very focused on the cars that you are racing against, which were more Alpines and Astons at that stage, so we then pitted for the hard tyre to get to the end of the race because we felt that was our best way of finishing P7.

“He struggled, particularly with the wounded car, on the hard tyre even more, so when we got to the safety car it was a question of, well, we’ve got nothing to lose, we’ll either finish out the points or stick a set of softs on, and he actually managed to pass a couple of cars and then fought extremely hard to maintain that seventh place, which is six valuable points.”

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Although Verstappen finished seventh, he only lost six points to his Ferrari title rival Charles Leclerc, who finished fourth despite leading the race up until a late Safety Car. With the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez finishing the race second following a remarkable recovery drive after first lap wing damage, Horner said the result was not as bad as it could have been.

“Actually, on a day where we had two cars not in good shape at different points in the race, Sergio has actually extended his lead over Charles, consolidating second place, and Max has only conceded six points to Charles and in the constructors’ I think only 13 points. It could have been a lot worse than that.”

Track breached by ‘Just Stop Oil’ protesters at British Grand Prix

SILVERSTONE — A group of protesters breached the track on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix and were on the circuit when cars came past.

The protesters managed to get onto the circuit at the Wellington straight, which lies just after the first sequence of corners.In a huge stroke of fortune, by the time the cars reached that part of the track they had started to slow dramatically for red flags which had been shown after a multi-car pileup at Turn 1.

A group known as ‘Just Stop Oil’ claimed to be behind it on Sunday. Seven protesters were arrested.

When told about the protest after the race in the press conference for the top three finishers Lewis Hamilton appeared to issue support, saying: “Big up to them”.

When told about the protest after the race in the press conference for the top three finishers Lewis Hamilton appeared to issue support, saying: “Big up to them”.

Mercedes later clarified Hamilton had been “endorsing their right to protest but not the method that they chose, which compromised their safety and that of others”.

One observer in the adjacent grandstand confirmed to ESPN at least one of the protesters was on the circuit when cars drove past.

The incident had eerie similarities to the 2003 British Grand Prix, when a radical Irish priest invaded the track and was almost hit by David Coulthard.

Northamptonshire Police chief inspector Tom Thompson said the protesters put lives at risk.

“I’m really disappointed that this group of people ignored our warnings prior to race day and made the incredibly dangerous decision to enter the track,” he said. “We offered to facilitate a peaceful event at the circuit but they instead chose to put the lives of the drivers, marshals and volunteers at risk. It is incredibly disappointing that anyone would make the decision to do this.

“Thankfully we had plans in place for an eventuality such as this and the group were swiftly removed and arrested by our officers. All seven are currently in custody where their details are being ascertained.”

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The FIA released a short statement saying: “After the red flag, several people attempted to enter the track. These people were immediately removed and the matter is now being dealt with by the local authorities.”

Ahead of the race, Northamptonshire Police said it had “credible” intelligence that environmental activists were planning a protest during the race.

Ferrari defends Charles Leclerc’s British GP strategy

SILVERSTONE, England — Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has defended his team’s strategy at the British Grand Prix after giving multiple reasons for the decision not to pit Charles Leclerc under a late Safety Car.

Leclerc was leading the British Grand Prix when a Safety Car was called on Lap 39 for Esteban Ocon stopping his Alpine car on track.

Ferrari had time to call Leclerc into the pits, but instead opted to keep him out on track while pitting teammate Carlos Sainz, who was running in second place.

By opting against pitting Leclerc, it meant he was on much older tyres than his rivals at the restart and he ultimately lost places to Sainz, Hamilton and Sergio Perez, who had all stopped for fresh tyres under the Safety Car.

When Ferrari told Leclerc to stay out there was a nine second gap to Sainz at Safety Car speeds, which should have been enough to clear him from the pit box before Sainz came in. However, Ferrari’s strategists believed it was not possible to complete pit stops on both cars on the same lap and therefore told Leclerc to stay out.

“What happened was our two cars were too close to stop both of them, so we had to take a decision [on which one to stop],” Binotto explained. “We were the only one with two cars fighting for the good positions, the other teams had one car and certainly the decisions are a lot easier.

“In our case we had the two cars and there was not a sufficient gap to stop both of them because the second would have lost time at the pit stop and fallen back.

“So why then by deciding to stop one did we stop Carlos? Because Charles had the track position and was leading, so he would have remained the leader of the race. Because his tyres were fresher than the ones of Carlos had [before the Safety Car period], I think six or seven laps less than the ones of Carlos had and in better shape.

“And Carlos by stopping and still being second, he would have stopped the others, at least in the first couple of corners when we knew starting on the hard [compound tyre] would be the most difficult. So that was the reason we decided. And then we were hoping for more tyre degradation on the soft to give Charles maybe a difficult three or four laps initially but recovering later on, but the soft didn’t degrade as we were hoping.”

Asked how he reacted to those saying Ferrari threw away a chance for Leclerc to slash the gap to title rival Max Verstappen in the standings, Binotto said: “What would they have done then differently?

“I think the decision we took was the right one, the proper one, each single time. Should we have stopped at the Safety Car is maybe the only one we are questioning, I think.

“If we would have stopped him maybe the others would have stayed out and he would have maybe been fourth on soft tyres. On the other side, would he have been able to recover the position? Not sure.

“I think that obviously with hindsight it’s easy to say that we could have done [something] differently. Once again we have a Safety Car at the wrong moment when we are leading the race comfortably.”

At the Safety Car restart, Sainz’s engineer asked him to keep 10 car lengths to Leclerc — the maximum distance allowed between cars at a restart under the regulations — so that Leclerc would have more of a chance of defending position on his old tyres at the restart. At the time, Sainz refused to follow the order, saying Ferrari was “inventing” the race result, and Binotto later agreed his driver was right to ignore the order.

“Not only is it OK, but I am very happy with what Carlos did today, because for example when we asked him earlier to swap positions [with Leclerc earlier in the race], he did that with no discussion. When we told him to give a space to Charles after the restart, what he said was not that he didn’t want to do it, he said the guys behind me would be very aggressive, so I need to protect and somehow try to react, so leave it to me.

“So I think he understood properly what the intention was and I think he not only understood but I think he is very good with the way he was acting and I am very happy with this.”

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