September 30, 2023

Formula 1 at Silverstone: Sainz ahead of Verstappen

Formula 1 at Silverstone: Sainz ahead of Verstappen

Sebastian Vettel cursed at the pit radio after Silverstone was frustrated by the rain, Mick Schumacher shrugged his shoulders after the end of the day. On the wet track, the German Formula 1 drivers failed in the first qualifying round for the British Grand Prix on Saturday. “Not again,” Vettel sighed as his race engineer finished 18th. Recently in Canada, Hyssane did not survive his first race with his Aston Martin in the rain.

In vain his compatriot Schumacher defended himself against the fast finish. “We had a problem with the car, which of course didn’t quite help us,” the 23-year-old revealed on Sky TV. Improperly adjusted steering made the Haas difficult to drive. From 19th place, it will be difficult for Schumacher on Sunday (4pm/RTL and Sky) to finally get his first World Cup points. “Hopefully we can fix the problem,” he said. “If not, it will be a tough race.”

A few minutes before the start of the search for the starting position, the first drops fell from the gray overcast sky. All the knowledge previously gained in dry track training is no longer valid. The Aston Martin team, which stayed a short distance from the track, and Haas seemed to have had the biggest difficulty with this. In addition to Vettel and Schumacher, fellow stablemates Lance Stroll and Kevin Magnussen were also eliminated. “I’m not a bit disappointed,” Vettel admitted. New components for his company’s cars did not achieve the hoped-for jump in performance. “It’s going to be tough when you’re so late,” said the four-time world champion, who turns 35 on Sunday.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was in a much more festive mood, taking the top spot of his career at the 150th Grand Prix. Spaniard world champion Max Verstappen fell to second in Red Bull in the last minute. “It was a good lap, but I had a huge problem with all the water that was on the track,” Sainz said. The 27-year-old was 72,000 faster than world championship leader Verstappen, who had previously slipped multiple times during the perilous hunt. “It’s always a lottery in the third round,” the Dutchman said. “Being in the front row is good for us.”

Two weeks ago in Montreal, Verstappen and Sainz had a close duel to win the last laps. Ahead of the tenth round of the season, defending champion Verstappen is 46 points clear at the top of the overall standings. The 24-year-old has won six of nine races this season so far. Second place in the world championship is his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez ahead of Ferrari star Charles Leclerc. Monegas is already 49 points behind Verstappen and will start third on Sunday.

Most of the 140,000 fans at the course were hoping for more star Lewis Hamilton and his British teammates. “We are in the game,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said earlier. But then, eight-time winner Hamilton at Silverstone had to settle for fifth. Stable competitor George Russell finished eighth. Lando Norris finished eighth at McLaren.