The race required a restart after a huge first corner crash for Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo, which flipped over and hit the catch fencing, and climate change protesters who invaded the track.
Sainz led until Red Bull’s Max Verstappen past him, but Verstappen then suffered bodywork damage and dropped back down the order.
Sainz gave up his position to teammate Leclerc, who was leading when a safety car was required to retrieve a stranded Alpine.
In a wild restart, Sainz passed Leclerc for the win, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez surging up to second, ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes after some amazingly close racing. Leclerc fell to fourth due to a tire disadvantage to those around him.
2022 British Grand Prix race results
How the British Grand Prix unfolded
Verstappen started on softs and launched ahead of pole sitter Sainz, with Hamilton surging up to third from fifth, shoving Leclerc wide at Turn 3, but a red flag was required almost immediately.
Zhou’s Alfa Romeo was flipped over on the approach to Turn 1 and crashed hard into the barriers and catch fencing after a long, inverted slide across the gravel trap.
The shunt was triggered when Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri was pinched between Zhou and George Russell (Mercedes), the latter spinning into Zhou’s right-rear tire and sending him flying. Russell got out of his car and rushed to help Zhou, whose car was wedged between the Armco and the debris fence.
Also involved were Alex Albon (Williams) who was clipped from behind by Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin and slammed into the pit wall before his spinning car was collected by Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri). They both crawled back to the pits with damage, while Albon joined Zhou in the medical center for checks.
As well as the crash, a group of climate change protesters had invaded the track on the Wellington Straight.
The race restarted in its original order, as the first attempt had been halted so quickly. This time, Verstappen was on mediums like Sainz.
Sainz just on to held his lead through the opening corners, while Verstappen came under a huge attack from Leclerc and Perez, the latter sustaining front wing damage against Sainz as the leaders briefly ran four wide at The Loop. Leclerc also suffered wing damage as he lunged inside Perez.
Sainz initially got out of Verstappen’s DRS range out front, with Leclerc in third ahead of Perez, Norris and Hamilton. Perez decided to pit for a new nose, while Hamilton passed Norris for fourth at Brooklands on Lap 6.
Verstappen got into DRS range of Sainz by Lap 9, and Sainz gave up the lead when he ran wide on to the grass at Becketts a lap later. Meantime, Tsunoda spun into his teammate Gasly at Village, relegating both AlphaTauris from the points and getting himself a penalty.
Verstappen then slowed and believed he’d picked a puncture, allowing Sainz back in front for a Ferrari 1-2 on Lap 12, and the world champion rejoined in sixth, behind Norris and Alonso. Verstappen reported his car was still “100% broken” – but was told it was broken bodywork, caused by debris he’d run over, rather than a suspension issue that was costing him rear downforce.
Leclerc was imploring Ferrari to switch positions with Sainz, as Hamilton was catching them both. Fearing an undercut attempt from Hamilton, Sainz pitted for hards on Lap 21, rejoining in third.
Hamilton then got within Leclerc’s DRS range, prompting Ferrari to pit Leclerc on Lap 26 and he rejoined 2s behind Sainz in third.
Hamilton led to his home crowd’s delight, as Leclerc was told he was allowed to fight Sainz for second. Ferrari swapped its cars over on Lap 31, with no protest from Sainz as he couldn’t hit the target laptime being asked of him.
Hamilton pitted on Lap 34, rejoining in third – 3s down on Sainz after a slow stop. Perez worked his way back up to fourth, ahead of Norris and Alonso.
Ocon passed the hamstrung Verstappen on Lap 37 but was forced out three laps later, causing a safety car. Sainz, Hamilton and Perez pitted but Leclerc stayed out on his hards.
The race was decided with a frantic 10-lap dash to the finish. Sainz grabbed the lead from Leclerc at Aintree, as Perez passed Hamilton for third at the same spot moments later.
With Sainz checking out up front, taking a 4s lead, Hamilton re-attacked Perez as he got bottled up behind Leclerc.
Hamilton passed Leclerc and Perez in one move at Club, but Perez passed him back at The Loop, taking Leclerc with him.
Hamilton passed Leclerc around the outside of Luffield on Lap 48 but Leclerc passed him back at Copse with a stunningly brave move. Hamilton finally made the move for third stick into Stowe using DRS.
Sainz won the race ahead of Perez, Hamilton (who took the extra point for fastest lap), Leclerc, Alonso and Norris.
Verstappen battled hard with Mick Schumacher’s Haas in the closing stages but clung to seventh.