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PRIXVIEW – British Grand Prix

Formula One returns home for the halfway point in the season, Silverstone the circuit on the border of the counties of Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire hosted the first world championship race in 1950. However, the first British Grand Prix was held at Brooklands in 1926, on the first purpose-built circuit along with Monza which joined the Grand Prix calendar the same year.

The race is one of the worlds oldest Grand Prix’s first being held in 1926 at Brooklands near London before moving to Donnington Park. The 1938 race was dominated by the predecessor to Mercedes, Auto Union before the decade long hiatus due to the outbreak of war.

Following the war, the race moved to its current home which has held the most races since 1948. The old RAF Silverstone, like many of the country’s race circuits, were converted into race circuits. Although the circuit has evolved over the last seven decades into the modern circuit.

Built around the taxiways and runways of the old airfield, the circuit is a high-speed roller-coaster through the English countryside. This means the circuit requires downforce but creates good opportunities for wheel to wheel combat and overtaking.

Silverstone has been hugely adapted over the last eighty years, however, the thing which remained throughout is its high speed and fast nature. The origins of the circuit are based on a classic WWII triangle format, lie within the outline of the present track. This means that drivers need good downforce and speed, also creates great overtaking opportunities.

Silverstone’s corners role off the tongue easily, Abbey, Woodcote, Maggots and Becketts. The circuit is statistically the safest circuit to be built prior to the formation of the championship.

Many different venues have hosted in alternation with Silverstone, Aintree normally associated with horsepower played host from the mid 1950s and early ’60s. Where Mercedes Juan Manuel Fangio and home favourite Stirling Moss arrived at Aintree expecting to win.

Silverstone became the permeant home of the race in 1987, it has remained the home of drama. For five years a drama-filled rave including Nigel Mansell’s battle with Nelson Piquet saw him win.

The 1990 Grand Prix was the last motor race on the high-speed circuit; and Mansell drove hard and led a lot of the race; but gearbox problems eventually forced him to retire, where he threw his gloves into the crowd and announced that he was going to retire, a decision that he would later take back; and he effectively dominated the next two events, driving for Williams

Damon Hill was the winner in 1994 followed by Johnny Herbert, take victory in his Benetton. 1996 saw further changes to the circuit, where Stowe was more or less restored to its 1991 design, and the 1999 event saw double world champion.

The current configuration dates back to 2010, Silverstone remains as challenging as ever demanding great skill and bravery. Wheel to wheel racing with wise open corners, Hamilton has claimed the most victories on both the Arena and Bridge (old) circuits.

In the early hybrid era, the race was dominated by Mercedes, that started the year before the regulation changes Nico Rosberg took the win. Hamilton’s second win came in 2014, he followed that up with three more they look to be the favourites again. Although last year he was beaten by Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton is looking to set a new record for the number of poles at a home Grand Prix, a record he currently shares with Ayrton Senna.

Silverstone remains one of the highlights of the calendar a circuit loved by drivers and teams. However, unless a new deal is agreed this years race could be the last after the circuit triggered a break clause in its contract two years ago. This is not only F1’s home race but the teams home race, seven of the teams are based within fifty miles of the circuit.

Facts and figures

Round 10 of 21
Race Formula 1 Rolex British Grand Prix 2019
Venue Arena Grand Prix Circuit, Silverstone, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
Circuit Length 5.891km (3.661mi)
Laps 52
Race Distance 306.291 km (190.32 mi)
Lap Record 01:30.621 (Race, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2017, F1)

01:25.892 (Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2018, F1)

Most wins drivers Jim Clark (5)

Alain Prost (5)

Lewis Hamilton (5)

Most wins manufacture Ferrari (15)

Fast facts

  • Although the United Kingdom is made up of four countries, the British Grand Prix has only ever taken place in England. There are no other circuits in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland suitable for F1 at the moment.
  • The race is informally known as the Mutton Grand Prix after the first race at Silverstone saw a Maurice Geoghegan, ran over a sheep that had wandered onto the airfield in 1947. The sheep was killed and the car written off
  • At 5.891km, Silverstone is the third longest F1 circuit on the current calendar. Only Spa Francorchamps in Belgium (7.004km) and the Baku City Circuit (6.003km) are longer.
  • The British Grand Prix, along with Italy, is the only race to have been continuously held since the formation of the world championship in 1950.
  • The lowest grid position a podium finish has come from at Silverstone is 28th. This happened at the 1954 British GP, when Onofre Marimón finished third having started from 28th in a 30-car field.
  • There is yet to be a British GP at Silverstone in which all the top three on the grid finish the race in the same order.

Event timetable

Session

Local

Friday

P1 10:00-11:30
P2 14:00-15:30

Saturday

P3 11:00-12:00
Qualifying 14:00-15:00

Sunday

Race 14:10

What happened in 2018?

Hamilton was on it in qualifying for his home race, by now it was becoming clear that on high-speed low downforce tracks that Mercedes had the lead over Ferrari slightly. Hamilton’s title rival Vettel showed Ferrari could upset the sliver arrows.

Vettel suffered from a strained neck in FP3, failed to improve on his final run in Q3, but was unable to improve when it mattered. Raikkonen was looking strong on his final run in the first sector but was unable to carry momentum to go fastest missing out by a hundredth of a second.

The race turned into a four-way battle between the top two teams, a dramatic start saw both Hamilton and Vettel collide into Abbey, and drop to the back. While both recovered through to the front, it was Vettel who made the better progress with Hamilton not far behind.

Red Bull was unable to get in the mix with the Ferrari’s and Mercedes’s but tried during the first safety car. The safety car was caused by Sauber’s Marcus Ericson crashing into the barriers at Abbey, the Swede suffered a huge impact with the barriers.

As the race neared its conclusion, Bottas looked on course for his first win of the season. But Vettel wasn’t over, Mercedes decision not to take a second stop proving to be wrong, he was gaining on Bottas. Another safety car with ten laps to go, created the sprint to the finish.

Under pressure, Grosjean, was attacking the Renault of Sainz as they went through Copse. However, the Haas driver had a wobble and ran into the back of the Spaniard.

As the sprint got underway, Hamilton and Vettel fought between themselves with the German finally getting the move to stick through Brooklands, before pulling away from Bottas at Luffield. Vettel pulled away to hang on and take victory, he was ultimately on the right tyres.

Race Result – 1) S. Vettel, Ferrari, 01:27:29.784, 2) L. Hamilton, Mercedes, +2.264, 3) K. Raikkonen, Ferrari, +3.652

What to watch for?

Silverstone is a circuit which will again favour Mercedes, it’s a high-speed high drama circuit. However, despite Mercedes advantage in recent years, they were beaten by Ferrari last year there concern will be if it’s hot like in Austria can they get on top of the cooling issues. I feel that is there biggest challenge this hot weather and controlling the car temperatures.

Silverstone again should provide a great wheel to wheel racing in the midfield, we have seen this season that battle be ultra-competitive. Overtaking and close battles on the track, meaning drama. The circuit is in the middle between Paul Ricard and the Red Bull Ring, meaning mistakes have consequences but there is room to recover. Track limits may be an issue.

McLaren will be looking to continue their recent results, they could be in a good position given their performance recently. They have been having brilliant results and become the midfield leaders, Lando Norris he finished third in the F2 sprint race last year. All the young British-born drivers had a good weekend last year, Alex Albon winning the first race, George Russell second and Lando Norris third in the sprint race.

Red Bull may have more confidence going into there second home race, following there home win. But this could be more challenging to repeat that success in Silverstone, as its more about straight line speed as its made up of what where runways in the war.

Ferrari, I think will face the same difficulties they have done all season, but I believe they need to foucs still on developing the car and getting results where they can. They have a ‘race-winning car’ so don’t count them out.

2017 vs 2018 Race Data

P1 Fastest

P2 Fastest

P3 Fastest

Q1 Fastest

Q2 Fastest

Q3 Fastest

Race Time

Fastest Lap

2018

01:27.487 01:27.552 01:26.722 01:26.585 01:26.256 01:25.892 01:27:29.784 01:30.696

Diff

-1.619 -0.944 -1.341 -3.484 -1.637 -0.708 -06:02.350 -0.075

2017

01:29.106 01:28.496 01:28.063 01:30.069 01:27.893 01:26.600 01:21:27.430 01:30.621

A lap of Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton knew he had to do it in one lap if he was to take pole he went across the line on the way to Abbey where he hits the inside kerb before heading through the curve at Farm. Heading nicely through the Arena section good through five going for the outside along the straight

He goes close to the kerb and beautiful exit from Brooklands before nicely through the long Luffield corner. On the old start finish he drives nicely at Woodcote. To the inside a Copse where he lets his car run to the outside.

The run down to Maggots and Becketts a good into part one of the section and gets a perfect exit into Chapel nicely through and on to Hangar Straight. Drives straight thought with ease at Stow and into Vale where he slows to low speed. Gets a good exit from Club and crosses the line with a 01:29.287.

Tyres

Driver

Team

White Hard (C1)

Yellow Medium (C2)

Red Soft (C3)

L. Hamilton

Mercedes 1 4 8
V. Bottas 1 4

8

S. Vettel

Ferrari 1 3 9
C. Leclerc 1 3

9

M. Verstappen

Red Bull – Honda 1 3 9
P. Gasly 1 3

9

D. Riccardo

Renault 2 1 10
N. Hulkenberg 1 2

10

K. Magnussen

Haas – Ferrari 1 3 9
R. Grosjean 1 3

9

C. Sainz Jr

McLaren – Renault 1 4 8

L. Norris

1 4

8

S. Perez

Racing Point –Mercedes 9 2 2

L. Stroll

9 2 2

K. Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo – Ferrari 1 3 9
A. Giovinazzi 1 3

9

D. Kvyat

Toro Rosso –Honda 1 3 9

A. Albon

1 3 9

G. Russell

Williams –Mercedes 1 5 7
R. Kubica 2 4

7

mm
Jack Fielding
Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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