F1 condemns protesters after scary near-miss at British Grand Prix

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Pictured here, climate protesters sit down on the Silverstone circuit in a dangerous demonstration at the British GP.
Climate protesters sat down on the Silverstone circuit in a dangerous demonstration at the British GP. Pic: Twitter

Climate protesters have faced the wrath of authorities and the governing body of Formula One after a dangerous stunt during the British Grand Prix.

A group of demonstrators invaded the circuit at Silverstone on Sunday, shortly after the British GP was red-flagged in the wake of a multi-car crash at the start.

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The dramatic scenes came on a chaotic day that saw Ferrari's Carlos Sainz claim his first F1 victory after a horrifying crash involving Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou.

The protesters were part of a group called Just Stop Oil, who were responsible for a stunt at a London art gallery last week, when two people glued themselves to the frame of a Vincent van Gogh painting.

One of the men taking direct protest action at Silverstone on Sunday, Louis McKechnie, had also tied himself to the goalpost of an English Premier League match last season.

Formula One's governing body the FIA said they had removed the group from the circuit with police announcing that "a number of arrests" had been made.

"We confirm that after the red flag, several people attempted to enter the track," an FIA statement reported.

"These people were immediately removed and the matter is now being dealt with by the local authorities."

Authorities and F1 officials said they were warned of potential disruption, following intelligence received in the lead-up to the race.

“Event commander chief inspector Tom Thompson said: “I’m really disappointed that this group of people ignored our warnings prior to race-day and made the incredibly dangerous decision to enter the track.

“We offered to facilitate a peaceful event at the circuit but they instead chose to put the lives of the drivers, marshals and volunteers at risk. It is incredibly disappointing that anyone would make the decision to do this.”

Several demonstrators were able to enter the track and sat down on the circuit in protest - putting themselves and the drivers at risk - in a stunt labelled "totally stupid" by F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

“You can protest whatever you want, it’s freedom to speak — but this is really something,” he told Sky Sports.

“It’s ridiculous, this is the minimum I can say.”

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton - himself a renewed advocate for climate change - showed his support for the protesters after giving a “big up to those guys" after the race.

“I love that people are fighting for the planet and we need more people like them,” he said.

In a press statement Just Stop Oil claimed responsibility for Sunday's latest action at one of the jewels in Britain's sporting calendar.

They demanded that the British government "calls an immediate halt to new oil and gas projects in the UK" and warned they would "continue to disrupt sports, cultural events and oil until this demand is met".

McKechnie said: "I'm in resistance because I cannot stand by while our government licenses new oil and gas projects. Our addiction to oil has brought us to the brink of catastrophe."

Carlos Sainz pumped after maiden F1 race win

Red Bull's Mexican Sergio Perez was runner-up in Sunday's race, 3.779 seconds behind Spain's Sainz, with Hamilton third for Mercedes and taking fastest lap for a bonus point.

"Yes! We did it! Vamos!" exclaimed a delighted Sainz over the radio after a win that had looked unlikely at one point despite him lining up on pole position for the first time, in his 150th race start.

"I don't know what to say, it's amazing.

"First race win, 150 races later, with Ferrari in Silverstone. I cannot ask for more. It's a very special day, a day that I will never forget, a very special weekend in general."

Seen here, Spain's Carlos Sainz celebrating after winning the 2022 British Grand Prix for Ferrari.
Spain's Carlos Sainz celebrates after winning the 2022 British Grand Prix for Ferrari. Pic: Getty

The last nine laps were frantic, full of overtaking as the safety car came in and Perez, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Hamilton battled for second.

At one point, eight-times British GP winner Hamilton passed both his rivals in one move and then went from second to fourth and back to third.

Championship leader Max Verstappen finished seventh for Red Bull with a damaged car, his lead over Perez cut from 46 to 34 points after 10 of 22 races.

Leclerc, who led with 12 laps to go, finished an unhappy fourth after a strategy call that cost him victory.

The Monegasque stayed out during a late safety car deployment and then had to defend against rivals with fresher tyres.

The race was red-flagged and halted for an hour after Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou's Alfa Romeo became wedged on its side between the tyre wall and catch fence on lap one. He was later given the medical all-clear.

The car skidded at speed upside down along the track before being catapulted over the barrier following a multi-car collision.

with AAP

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