Northamptonshire Police have confirmed that a group of protestors attempted to breach the racetrack and invade the 2022 British Grand Prix on Sunday.
Ahead of the weekend, there had been warnings that the protestors would be getting onto the circuit and trying to hold a protest, and they were politely asked not to do so due to the risk attached to themselves, the drivers, marshals the general public.
“We have received credible intelligence that a group of protestors are planning to disrupt the 2022 Formula 1 British Grand Prix and possibly invade the track on race day,” they stated.
“We want to appeal directly to this group of people.
“We strongly urge you to not put yourselves, the drivers, as well as the many marshals, volunteers & members of the public, at risk.
“Going onto a live racetrack is extremely dangerous – if you go ahead with this reckless plan you’re jeopardising lives.
“Protesting is of course everyone’s human right in this country & we are more than happy to speak with you to help you facilitate a peaceful protest at the circuit, we just please ask that you do not create a situation that puts lives in danger.”
A red flag was flown after a terrifying accident on the opening lap of the race when Zhou Guanyu was hit by George Russell after the Mercedes driver made contact with Pierre Gasly.
The Chinese driver flipped upside down and flew over the top of the barrier at Abbey, ending up hitting the fence.
Trying to avoid the accident, Alex Albon braked and was hit by Sebastian Vettel, and he came back across the track after hitting the wall on the inside, making further contact with Esteban Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda.
The drivers therefore came back into the pit lane during the suspension, and while the marshals cleared away the damage, the group tried to invade the circuit.
“We can confirm that after the red flag several people attempted to enter the track. These people were immediately removed and the matter is now being dealt with by the local authorities,” a Formula 1 spokesperson told Sky Sports.
Carlos Sainz went on to win the race for Ferrari from Red Bull’s Sergio Perez as Sir Lewis Hamilton took his third podium of the season in third.
Ferrari opted not to pit Charles Leclerc after a late Safety Car, leaving him vulnerable on old tyres as he ended up in fourth just ahead of Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris.
Max Verstappen was forced to settle for seventh having previously been in the lead of the race following Sainz’s error, but he ran over some debris at Maggots, which “completely destroyed” the left side of his floor, costing him downforce with significantly hindered his performance.
Mick Schumacher finally scored his first F1 points in eighth, with Sebastian Vettel and Kevin Magnussen rounding out the top 10.
Verstappen keeps his championship lead by 34 points from team-mate Perez, but Sainz has climbed back into the top four, and is now 54 points adrift of the Dutchman.