Can Mercedes bounce back after their first defeat of the season? After Max Verstappen won in Austria, Mercedes are now coming into a race on the back of a loss for the first time since November. That’s brought a new challenge for the all-dominant Silver Arrows, but how will they get on in the British Grand Prix this weekend?
There’s obviously pressure on Hamilton to entertain at his home event. The British driver will be pushing for more success at Silverstone, but will he take top spot this weekend? With a huge gap at the top to defend, Mercedes will be out to return to form in this race.
We’re coming up on the halfway stage of the F1 season, which has been dominated by Mercedes. They’ll be aiming to add to their eight wins so far in 2019, while they would surely enjoy a victory at one of the prestige races in the F1 calendar. This is the 74th renewal of this race, but it could be the last for a while. Unless a new deal is sorted, the contract for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone will expire after this season.
|10/21||United Kingdom||Silverstone Circuit||308km / 58 Laps|
|Date||Start Time||Finish Time||Forecast Conditions||TV Coverage|
|Practice 1||Fri 12th July||10:00||11:30||Dry / 19°||–|
|Practice 2||Fri 12th July||14:00||15:30||Dry / 19°||–|
|Practice 3||Sat 13th July||11:00||12:30||Dry / 19°||–|
|Qualifying||Sat 13th July||14:00||15:00||Dry / 19°||Sky F1|
|Race||Sun 14th July||14:10||16:10||Dry / 19°||Sky F1|
Last Season’s Result (2018)
Last year this race was won by Sebastian Vettel, as he and Hamilton wrestled back and forth for the world title. A victory at Silverstone helped Vettel to move eight points clear of Hamilton in the standings, but that lead was torn apart by the end of the season.
It was a double for Ferrari on the podium, as Kimi Raikonnen finished third to follow Vettel home. That kept Ferrari 20 points clear in the Constructors’ Championship, but they ended the season without winning either of the big awards. It was another solid display for Valtteri Bottas in fourth, while Max Verstappen failed to pick up any points after retiring after 46 laps. He started at fifth on the grid, but failed to convert it by the end of the weekend.
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||6||10|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Force India||10||6|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India||12||1|
Analysis: Emotions Swirling at Silverstone
It’s a big weekend at Silverstone, especially as we edge towards the halfway point. There are just three more races before the mid-season break, so Mercedes will hope to solidify their position. There’s got to be a little anger and worry after their first loss, especially after months of being almost untouchable. It’s noticeable that their usual tactic of building up the opposition hasn’t been wheeled out ahead of this weekend’s meeting.
Instead of going with their well-worn approach of playing up their underdog status in spite of their domination, Mercedes are quiet. That suggests a pressure, as does Hamilton’s attempts to change the record. His press conference focused more on the venue than the race itself. Hamilton claimed the race at Silverstone, “is a Grand Prix we can’t afford to lose”. While Hamilton is getting sentimental about what could be the final meeting at this venue for the foreseeable future.
How Will Mercedes Deal with Pressure?
With big issues popping up around Mercedes, the test for them is how they handle everything. There’s more than just issues for the Silver Arrows, as there’s growing talk that Hamilton’s skills are being rivalled by Max Verstappen. The Dutchman may not be competing for the title just yet, but a big move seems inevitable. When he does make the step up, he’s going to be a serious rival to Hamilton.
Even now Verstappen is making an impact, as he won the Austrian GP last week. He’s likely to take more points off Hamilton over the coming months, but it could develop into an issue if the Red Bull man causes more problems this weekend. He would go from being a looming threat to a genuine concern for the Silver Arrows overall. Not only do they need to return to form, Mercedes almost need to re-establish themselves.
Lewis Hamilton to win
While there are concerns for Hamilton and Mercedes, we ultimately see them rising to the challenge. For all of their tricks and speed over the last few years, they’ve still managed to deliver when it was needed. We can see them pulling off the same again here, especially given Hamilton’s legacy at Silverstone. He’s already the joint most successful driver at the British GP, something he can claim on his own with a win.
Hamilton is priced up at 8/11 to claim glory here, which seems fair given how far ahead of the rest of the pack he has been this year. We also see value in a podium finish for Max Verstappen, who will want to make up for his struggles here last season. The Dutchman is priced at 2/1 to make the top three in this race.
About the British Grand Prix
The British Grand Prix is hosted by the Silverstone Circuit, based in Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire in England. The race is the oldest F1 races in the world and is paired only with the Italian Grand Prix as being part of the first championship season in 1950 (British Grand Prix deemed the first as it was the first race run in the calendar).
The track was first made in 1948 as they developed a former RAF airfield from the war into a racing track. In fact, from the air, you can still make out where the original runways for the airfield used to run, making it an iconic sight for any motor racing fan.
The old airfield layout has definitely shaped how the track performs. From a driver’s perspective, the 5.8km track includes corners that are some of the most formidable in Formula 1. The track is relatively flat, but also flat out, with corners such as Copse, Maggots and Beckets requiring both bravery and finesse.
This is a circuit that the racing drivers revere and one that the fans can’t get enough of. In fact, in 2015, they were able to attract record crowds of over 350,000 fans across the weekend, making it one of the highest populated F1 events in the world.
The start/finish line sees cars travelling at high speeds as they approach turn 1. In fact, as they head through, they are flat out for the most part and working the wheel through turn 2, again flat out. The driver then needs to break relatively hard before heading into turn 3, all of which is part of the newer section of this racetrack.
Turn 4 works more of a feeder corner in that the line or aggression that needed to get through is all to gain maximum speed and traction through the back straight and into turn 5. The car then runs down the bank and toward the old pit lanes through the DRS zone.
Then they come to Brooklands, a long corner that isn’t necessary to make a perfect apex to get the best line for the lap. Drivers then try and take a wide middle part of the corner to get the best acceleration down and across the old start finish straight, before getting into some of the best corners on this racetrack.
Copse is the next corner that the drivers take on pretty much flat out at 200kmph, just kissing the apex on the way out. The drivers then come down onto Becketts, which is one of the most exciting series of corners in Formula 1, let alone at Silverstone.
A series of left and right handed sweeping turns sees cars travel through them at around 250kmph again, only lifting the throttle slightly to make sure they aren’t pushing too hard, which can cause them to spin off. After completing this, they come onto the Hanger straight.
In another one of the DRS zones, the straight sees cars hit 330kmph as they come down into a hard-right hander. The last few corners are often quite tricky for the drivers as they fight to get the optimum breaking zone. As the speeds are much slower, the downforce comes off the car and it’s very easy to lock up a front tyre under breaking.
Drivers will clip the apex on the way out and full throttle through the last corner as they head back up towards the start/finish line.
Silverstone was set up as a replacement for Brooklands, an oval circuit that was originally opened in 1926. But, the war saw huge damage to the track and so a new place was needed following the war for motor racing within the country.
The use of now disused Royal Airforce bases was a common theme throughout the UK, with many being developed into motor racing track, making use of the significant runways that had already been made. Silverstone was one of those areas and it staged its first race in 1948 hosted by the Royal Automobile Club International Grand Prix. Just 2 years later saw the track host the first World championship for drivers and the rest, as they say is history.
2008 – LEWIS PREVAILS IN THE RAIN
The 2008 Grand Prix at Silverstone was almost totally washed out. It had rained throughout the day and many thought that it might be called off, even though it had been dry throughout the qualifying and testing sessions, catching many teams out.
Hamilton qualified in pole position, got off to a great start and quickly got into the lead. What was remarkable is that cars were spinning off all over the place, but Hamilton was one of very few that remained assured and went on to win the dramatic race but just over 1 minute.
1987 – MANSELL V PIQUET
The 1987 was as dramatic as 2008, but for very different reasons. Mansell was trailing both Piquet and Senna in the drivers championship and looked to make some ground at his home grand prix. He qualified in second place, behind that of Pique in what was set up to be a classic.
Mansell was around 2 seconds behind Piquet on lap 35 and whilst initially were making just one stop on the tyres to see him through to the end, decided to change them, coming out some 30 seconds behind Piquet.
Mansell started an epic charge on fresh rubber, slowly picking his way back through the field and by lap 62 he was back right behind Piquet. He sold a dummy on the Hanger straight, before diving down the inside into Stowe. He finished the race and came to a complete stop, before being engulfed by fans. It turns out, he even blew out the engine, demonstrating what strains he was putting the car under to get the win.