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F1 British Grand Prix: red flag after early crash at Silverstone – live updates

Controversially, it looks like the drivers will restart in grid order, which puts Verstappen – who had moved past Sainz in the early moments – back to second and Hamilton, who was third when the red flag came out, back to fifth. Russell’s retirement has been confirmed. The race will resume in 10 minutes.

It looks like the protesters were from Just Stop Oil, and a group of them were sat down in the middle of the Silverstone track at the point the red flag came out.

FIA: “We also confirm that 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.”

An official statement has said: “The FIA advises that following the start of the race, emergency crews were immediately in attendance and the drivers of Car 23 (Albon) and Car 24 (Zhou) have been taken to the medical centre. Both drivers were conscious and will be evaluated at the medical centre. Further updates will be given in due course.”

We’re finally seeing replays of the incident and it was a truly terrifying crash: Russell – who had made a poor start – moved left trying to cut off Gasly, who ducked back to leave the Mercedes driver to veer into the side of Zhou. The impact flipped Zhou’s car, which was sent skittering, upside down, all the way to the catch fencing, which the car bounced up and smashed into. Thankfully he is OK (which is why we’re now being given the replays). Vettel, trying to swerve the crash, went into the back of Albon, who in turn hit Ocon. Mayhem.

The Mercedes team are now scuttling around George Russell’s car, with apparent hope of getting it fixed before the restart. Surely not…? Alex Albon has joined Zhou in the medical centre; both drivers are conscious.

It’s hard to know what happened there, but it was certainly major crash going into the high-speed first Abbey corner involving Albon, Ocon, Russell, Tsunoda and Zhou, whose car rolled over. Hamilton, by the way, got away brilliantly and had moved up to third and Latifi up to eighth. All drivers are now in the pits, awaiting the restart.

Guanyu Zhou receives medical treatment

Word from the track is that Zhou Guanyu is OK. He has been stretchered out of his car and into an ambulance, but he is conscious and moving. Good news.

Guanyu Zhou

Lap 1/52: Albon is also out, while Tsunoda and Ocon look to have damage. The concern at the moment is for Zhou, with the recovery team attending to the driver.

Lap 1/52: We’re under way – and the cars have barely left the grid before we see a huge crash. George Russell hits Zhou and spins out out going into turn one. Zhou’s car turns over. Red flag.

Guanyu Zhou
Cars crash at the start of the British Formula One Grand Prix .
Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou of China crashes at the start of the British Formula One Grand Prix

Verstappen has opted to start on soft tyres, in contrast with most other drivers who have gone with mediums. It looks like he wants to start aggressively and make early headway.

Panic over at Ferrari: the electronic control unit – without which the car wouldn’t start – has been successfully replaced. Leclerc breathes easy. And the drivers head off for the formation lap.

How they start

1 Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
2 Max Verstappen, Red Bull
3 Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
4 Sergio Perez, Red Bull
5 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
6 Lando Norris, McLaren
7 Fernando Alonso, Alpine
8 George Russell, Mercedes
9 Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo
10 Nicholas Latifi, Williams
11 Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
12 Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo
13 Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
14 Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
15 Esteban Ocon, Alpine
16 Alexander Albon, Williams
17 Kevin Magnussen, Haas
18 Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin
19 Mick Schumacher, Haas
20 Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

Right, down to business. And it seems like Leclerc’s car has been undergoing some panicked last-minute work, with the mechanics seemingly changing an electronic box on the right side. Late issues for Ferrari? We’ll keep an eye on it.

Among the spectators at Silverstone is Tom Cruise. I’m sure he’d agree that there are a few good men on the grid today but Verstappen – a driver without limits – is far and away the favourite. Another victory for the Red Bull maverick would render Leclerc collateral damage, with his titles hopes facing oblivion. As for Hamilton – a legend here – first place looks near enough mission impossible but a podium finish could be within reach if he pulls out all the right moves, which could involve some risky business. Let’s just hope there’s no rain, man.

Hello to you to.

Carlos Sainz speaks: “I am enjoying it a lot, especially with the crowd. It’s really special, I’m trying to enjoy the moment. We’re all going to send it into turn one. Lap one is very tricky here, there are many fights all the way to turn nine as people know … I hope we get a clean one.”

The week that was: Nelson Piquet uses a racist slur about Lewis Hamilton. Former Lotus president Gerard Lopez – a friend of Vladimir Putin and major Tory donor – faces charges of forgery in Luxembourg criminal court. And Bernie Eccleston says he would “take a bullet” for Putin, that the war in Ukraine is “unintentional” and that Hamilton could have “brushed aside” Piquet’s remarks. Sport, eh?

After a deeply dismaying few days, then, it was nice to return to drama of a more pantomime variety yesterday at Silverstone, where the presence of Max Verstappen – arch-nemesis of local hero Hamilton – was met by a hearty chorus of jeers from a hostile crowd who are yet to forget Abu Dhabi. This sort of juvenile nonsense, I think we can all agree, is very much the upside of big sport.

Not that our Max saw it that way. “If they want to boo they do that, they all have their own opinions, I don’t care,” he huffed, not entirely convincingly, perhaps after being told by a minion that the crowd were actually shouting “Red Booooo-ull”.

But Verstappen had other reasons to sulk, not least the fact that pole position had been snatched from his grasp by the brilliant Carlos Sainz during a thrilling last lap in the Northamptonshire drizzle, doing the business by a tight 0.072secs. The Spaniard pushed Verstappen to the limit in Montreal last week and his place in the front row today represents another tricky hurdle for the title favourite, who currently sits a tidy 46 points clear in the drivers’ standings.

If that sounds like fair old distance, well, it is exactly how far ahead of Verstappen Charles Leclerc was after the season’s first three races. The Monégasque – now behind both Verstappen and Perez in the standings – will be desperate to reassert his title credentials today after enduring a hiding to nothing last week, when he finished fifth after starting from the back due to grid penalties.

As for the local golden boy, things are finally picking up after a testing start to the season. Hamilton was fighting for the front row throughout much of yesterday’s qualifying, with Mercedes’ recent upgrades seeming to have helped. “Oh man, I was having so much fun out there,” he beamed afterwards. Perhaps only the very most optimistic fans could hope for a Hamilton victory today – but a podium finish would certainly go down a treat at Silverstone. Either way, this should be fun.

Lights out 3pm BST.

Geri Horner and Rylan Clark-Neal

This post was originally published on this site

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