Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton have praised the new-for-2022 ground effect cars after the quartet each had thrilling battles up at the front of the pack.

Home hero Hamilton, who could exploit a bouncing and porpoising-free Mercedes throughout the weekend, momentarily led the race but would go on to finish behind both of the Ferraris, who were embroiled in an intra-team battle of their own.

A fine wheel-to-wheel battle between Hamilton and Leclerc at the infamous Copse corner – in a similar fashion to the positioning in which the British driver found himself in on the inside of Max Verstappen on the first lap last year.

This time around there was no contact and Hamilton went on to pull off a somewhat more impressive and opportunistic move on both Leclerc and Perez at the Vale and Club complex, elevating him from P4 to P2. The seven-time champion went on to delight the Silverstone crowd by finishing in third albeit with fellow Brit George Russell retiring at the first corner after the contact with Zhou.

Since the wider, high-downforce cars were brought in at the start of the 2017 season, Formula 1 experienced a heightening problem of overtaking, or rather the lack of. This was because of the dirty air effect, which that type of car created a lot of, and seriously damaged the chances of the driver behind from making an overtake.

For this season however, Formula 1 looked back in their history books to find a solution to produce similar levels of downforce, and therefore cornering speeds, whilst reducing the amount of dirty air produced. Ground effect was the result and made its return for the first time since 1982 when it was outlawed.

The racing has seemingly improved this season with cars able to visibly follow more closely and the improvements were amplified at the high speed Silverstone circuit and the British Grand Prix, which saw plenty of exhilarating battles.

Here’s the thoughts of race-winner Sainz, second-placed Perez, third-placed Hamilton and fourth-placed Leclerc:

New cars, following, allowing for good racing –

Sainz: “Yeah, I think it’s a great step forward done by Formula 1, and today’s just proof of that. I feel like these cars have improved a lot the racing in high speed corners and Silverstone was a great example of how much better it is to follow. In the high speed, the car is just a lot more predictable, so you don’t get weird snaps like we were getting last year. Also quite surprised about the slipstream effect.

“I know with these cars is not as big as last year but as soon as Max or Charles passed me I could stay within reach, thinking I was slower but then suddenly you are behind and you gain four tenths or half a second of pace, just because of the slipstream, which helps you to stay within reach of all the cars. I think today the slipstream effect had a very big effect also in having these interesting fights.”

Perez: “Yeah, I think it was great, the level of racing we were able to do across the grid. I think at the end, we were… Lewis and myself were obviously with same tyre age. Charles was struggling a bit for grip, but it still was a very good fight. It really felt like we were able to race each other hard. We were able to follow each other through the high speeds. Even when I overtook Lewis he got me back because he could stay literally next to me, so it was really very good racing. And I think certainly this is a good test for this generation of cars, where we are able to follow each other and although you lose a position you can get it back by keep fighting the other car, so I think it was great what we’ve seen today in terms of these regulations.

“Those Medium tyres were holding on pretty nicely and we got lucky with the Safety Car there at the end, which gave us a good opportunity to fight for the podium. And yeah, those final laps were what a great fight with Lewis. It has been so long since we had a good fight, so I was ready to have him back. And also with Charles he was very aggressive but fair, and I’m sure the fans enjoyed it.”

Hamilton: “I think they answered it well. But yeah, it’s great, really, really great racing. And just to follow was awesome. I definitely enjoyed the last few laps. That was very reminiscent of the karting days, and I feel that that’s Formula 1 at its best. The fact that we were able to follow and dice like that, lap-on-lap is a testament to the direction I think that we’ve we’re now in. I was just grateful that I could be in the battle because I’ve not been in that fight for a while.”

Using hard tyres to keep everyone behind –

Leclerc: “I don’t know how much we’ve seen of it but it was quite on the limit and I had to be on the limit to try and keep my position, which I did. I don’t think I could have done much better than that. It was fun [but] on the other hand I was very frustrated. I thought about that but I never gave up. I still thought that everything was possible and I gave everything until the end. It wasn’t enough but even though I knew it would have been very, very difficult I believed in it until the last lap.”

Fair racing –

Leclerc: “I was on the limit but again I had to be. In my position I was on used tyres and all of this was very tricky, so I just had to use everything that was possible. I was always checking that Lewis was a bit behind at the apex to try and remember the rule, no, and to play with the rules. I tried to do my best. As for the move on Hamilton, it was incredibly tricky and actually as soon as I passed the corner I looked in my mirror and I had a flashback of last year, but luckily nothing bad happened.”

Here’s Carlos Sainz passing Charles Leclerc for lead:

Here’s fight between Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton: