Silverstone Grand Prix: Pointless weekend for Bicester team

Carlos Sainz was out of luck at Silverstone last weekend in front of a capacity 140,000 crowd
Carlos Sainz was out of luck at Silverstone last weekend in front of a capacity 140,000 crowd

The Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula One team left Silverstone last weekend with nothing to show for their efforts in round nine of the FIA F1 World Championship.

After a strong performance during Free Practice and Qualifying, the Bicester-based team saw both drivers retire during an action-packed race that was won by world champion Lewis Hamilton.

The 52-lap race started in frantic fashion when the two Lotus and McLaren cars came together at the second corner. The ensuing drama resulted in race officials releasing the Safety Car for a couple of laps while track marshals cleared the circuit before allowing racing to resume. However, Max Verstappen’s race didn’t last long when at the same corner on the opening lap of the restart, he lost control of his Toro Rosso, ending up in the trackside gravel.

The 17-year-old, who was competing in his maiden British Grand Prix, said: “That was a very short race for me which was a big disappointment. I didn’t get a good start, I had lots of wheelspin, and I lost some time.

“After the restart I lost the rear of the car at turn two and spun off the track. I damaged the front of the car against the barriers and I couldn’t move the car backwards and that was it.

“It was a real shame, but we can’t change what happened. All I can do now is look towards the next race and hope for better luck.”

Carlos Sainz was also making his British Grand Prix debut and after a difficult start, the Spaniard put in a solid drive and looked to be on course for a strong points haul, only for his car to suffer problems near the end of the race to end his hopes of a top 10 finish.

He said afterwards: “After a difficult opening stint when I needed a new set of tyres, everything was going quite well. The car was running well and I managed to reach ninth position.

“I was watching the sky and could see that rain was on the way, and I thought that I might be able to gain some extra places. Then, out of the blue, the car just switched off. It was a very frustrating way to end the day after everything had looked so good.”

Franz Tost, the Scuderia Toro Rosso Team Principal, added: “This race ended badly for us and wasn’t what we were expecting. After a strong start to the weekend, it was a great shame that Max was out of the race so early after he lost the rear of his car and had his spin.

“For Carlos, he was running really well when everything just stopped. It looks like we had some kind of electrical issue on his car. We have to go away and analyse all of the reasons, and attempt to come back stronger for the next round in Hungary.”

A sell-out crowd of 140,000 attended the British Grand Prix raceday, and the fans were treated to a thrilling race that saw Lewis Hamilton triumph in changing conditions.

Starting from pole position, Hamilton lost out at the start to the Williams cars of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, but a calculated drive saw the British driver pick up the lead once the pit stops started.

He extended his advantage following a calculated pit stop after rain began to fall, racing away to victory from his Mercedes team-mate, Nico Rosberg. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) finished third.