Formula One is Coming Home! – British GP Weekend Preview
Whilst it didn’t quite come home in last weekend’s Euro 2020 final, Formula One returns to its home as the paddock sets its sights on the British Grand Prix! Two weeks on from Max Verstappen’s dominant showing throughout an exhausting triple header, can he continue his supremacy or can Sir Lewis Hamilton retake his crown on home soil?
Written by Aiden Hover, Edited by Esmée Koppius
The Home of British Motor Racing, the Silverstone circuit, is an old fashioned fast-flowing race track. The fan favourite venue features several world-famous landmarks that help make up the 18 corners of its layout. Some of these include the car testing complex of ‘Maggots and Becketts,’ a series of fast-flowing, high-speed bends, as well as the twisty ‘Village’ complex followed by the ‘Loop’ that play a crucial role in a successful lap. The newly renamed ‘Hamilton Straight’ plays host to an iconic starting grid alongside the stunning ‘Silverstone Wing’ pit building and will be the centre of action come Sunday’s main race. I say main race as, for the first time ever, Silverstone will host a Sprint race on Saturday that will form the grid for Sunday and be another way for teams to earn points as the FIA attempt to liven up the action of a race weekend. The grid for the sprint race will be formed by use of traditional qualifying on Friday night as the teams have reduced practice time this weekend.
Hosting the first-ever official Formula One race in 1950, Silverstone has seen history written and rewritten here over and over again. The Mansell Mania of the 1980s and 90s saw Nigel Mansell win on home soil an impressive 4 times at Silverstone, leading to the iconic scenes of fans swarming their home hero’s car as it completed its cool-down lap. This however will soon be outdone by Britain’s next home hero in Sir Lewis Hamilton who waltzed to his first victory at home during a rain-soaked race in 2008. Since then, he has won here a further 6 times, which makes Lewis Hamilton the driver with the most wins at a home Grand Prix with 7!
Besides impressive success, Silverstone’s modern layout has played host to some truly iconic racing moments, such as Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso’s epic wheel to wheel showdown in 2012 and Max Verstappen’s daring move on Nico Rosberg in 2016! Moving to 2018, fans witnessed a nail-biting multi-team battle for the lead as, following a safety car restart, Sebastian Vettel came out on top having battled hard against his Ferrari teammate as well as the four Mercedes and RedBull drivers. Only one year later, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc would treat fans to a thrilling race-long battle before Sebastian Vettel would collect the RedBull driver as he violently locked his brakes. Last year, featuring two British Grand Prix, Sir Lewis Hamilton miraculously limped to victory on three wheels to beat out Max Verstappen – who himself would go on to win the 70th anniversary British Grand Prix only a week later!
What can fans look forward to this year?
This year’s Formula One Grid features three truly exceptional British drivers who will all be looking to make their mark at home. Sir Lewis Hamilton will be hoping that his Mercedes team can give him a chance to claw back some of the championship lead Max Verstappen has built on him. The Young Dutchman will be coming off the back of a truly dominant triple-header as his team look to make it a 6th RedBull win in a row this weekend. Lando Norris, having finished on the podium in Austria, will surely be confident that he can repeat this feat on home soil, whilst George Russell hopes to do one better than Austria to achieve his first points finish for Williams at home in a true fairy-tale manner.
The British teams of McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams will be looking to perform well in front of many crucial investors at home – as will much of the paddock, who are based in Great Britain, such as the Austrian team of RedBull and the German team of Mercedes whose entire operations take place in Milton Keynes and Brackley respectfully. McLaren looks strong with the aforementioned podium of Lando Norris and a seemingly resurgent Daniel Ricciardo heading to Silverstone. Aston Martin, ahead of their first home Grand Prix in their current form, will be nervous following a disappointing Austrian Grand Prix, as will Williams who missed out on points yet again – though only narrowly.
Whilst they may have outdone us during the Euros, Italy’s Formula One showing will be slightly weaker than its Football. Ferrari has struggled with tyre wear in recent races, especially when battling close with other cars, though they seem to have good pace in the car that Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz can utilise. Alfa Romeo will once again swim on the fringes of the points as questions continue to surround the ageing Finn of Kimi Raikkonen following a foolish and dangerous mistake last time out. The final Italian team, Alpha Tauri, should perform well as Pierre Gasly continues to perform exceptionally and Yuki Tsunoda seems to finally be finding his footing.
The French team Alpine narrowly scored points in Austria and will be hoping to do so again with some more confidence in Britain. Finally, Haas F1 Team, America’s Formula One showing, will once again be lucky to avoid the back row in qualifying and will be hoping for all manners of calamities in both Saturday and Sunday’s races as they hope for some fortunate points.
Be sure not to miss Formula One’s inaugural sprint race this Saturday as well as all the other action taking place this weekend, such as W-series and Formula 2!