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Zhou Guanyu of China driving the Alfa Romeo F1 C42 Ferrari crashes at the start of the F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone in Northampton, England, on Sunday. The race was halted and restarted after the multi-car opening-lap collision. Reuters reports that Zhou is “conscious, talking and [has] no fractures”. Picture: MARK THOMPSON/GETTY IMAGES
Zhou Guanyu of China driving the Alfa Romeo F1 C42 Ferrari crashes at the start of the F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone in Northampton, England, on Sunday. The race was halted and restarted after the multi-car opening-lap collision. Reuters reports that Zhou is “conscious, talking and [has] no fractures”. Picture: MARK THOMPSON/GETTY IMAGES

London — Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz claimed his first Formula One victory on Sunday in a thrilling British Grand Prix halted by a first-lap crash and with the added mayhem of a track invasion by protesters.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez finished runner-up, 3.779 sec behind, with seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton third for Mercedes in his home race and taking fastest lap for a bonus point.

Championship leader Max Verstappen finished seventh for Red Bull with a damaged car, while Mick Schumacher scored his first points in F1 with eighth for Haas.

Earlier, protesters stormed the Silverstone track after a huge opening-lap crash brought out a red flag to halt the race which had attracted 140,000 spectators. British police said earlier they had credible intelligence a group of protesters were planning to disrupt the grand prix.

While the race had been red-flagged cars were still on the track slowly making their way to the pit lane as marshals and police wrestled with protesters, dragging them from the circuit as the crowd could be heard booing. It was not immediately clear what the track invaders were protesting about.

Race winner Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari celebrates on the podium after the the F1 Silverstone race in Northampton, England, July 3 2022. Picture: CLIVE MASON/GETTY IMAGES
Race winner Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari celebrates on the podium after the the F1 Silverstone race in Northampton, England, July 3 2022. Picture: CLIVE MASON/GETTY IMAGES

“We can confirm that after the red flag, several people attempted to enter the track,” F1 officials said. “These people were immediately removed and the matter is now being dealt with by the local authorities.”

The opening lap collision left the Alfa Romeo of Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou wedged between the tyre barrier and catch fence. The governing FIA said emergency crews were quickly on the scene to extract Zhou, whose car skidded upside down along the track at speed before flipping over the barriers.

The rookie remained conscious and was taken to the medical centre for further evaluation along with Williams’s Alexander Albon. “He’s conscious, talking and no fractures. Considering the circumstances, he is pretty good,”  an FIA spokesperson of Zhou said.

The race was later restarted.

Mercedes’s George Russell was also involved in the incident and retired, the crash at Abbey ending the Briton’s run as the sole driver to have finished every race in the top five places this season. Russell, who got out and ran across to check on Zhou, appeared to have been clipped from behind, with his tyre then making contact with the Alfa.

“I got swamped by other cars and next thing I know I got touched, I was in the side of Zhou and that was it,” Russell said.

Television replays of the crash were not broadcast until it was clear Zhou had been removed safely and was conscious.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon limped back to the pits on three-and-a-half tyres, with the half flailing on a rim. 

Reuters

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