Formula 1 heads to Silverstone for the 10th round of the 2019 season this weekend.
Last time out, Mercedes’s 100% record so far this year ended, with Max Verstappen giving Red Bull their first win with Honda.
Despite finishing 5th in Austria, Lewis Hamilton heads to his home race with a 31-point lead at the top of the drivers’ championship.
3 Legs 4 Wheels looks ahead to this weekend’s action:
Last year’s race:
Hamilton looked set for a victorious homecoming after putting his car on pole position, but he was spun by Kimi Raikkonen on the opening lap, dropping him down the order to give Sebastian Vettel the lead.
The Briton recovered to second, but it was the Ferrari driver who took the win, making a two-stop strategy work while Valtteri Bottas tried to make one stop work, costing him positions towards the end of the race.
Raikkonen completed the podium, despite being handed a 10-second time penalty for causing the collision with Hamilton, while Bottas held off late pressure from Daniel Ricciardo to hold on for fourth.
Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso both made the most of retirements and a safety car to finish in the points despite starting outside the top 10, while six drivers retired from the race, including Carlos Sainz who collided with Romain Grosjean, and Max Verstappen who suffered a brakes failure.
The current Silverstone has a number of configurations, with the Arena Grand Prix Circuit hosting F1 since 2011. While the layout remains relatively unchanged for this year, the track has been resurfaced following complaints from Moto GP, with the work only completed in the last couple of weeks.
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) July 9, 2019
A lap is 5.891km and includes 18 turns. Lewis Hamilton set the fastest race lap in 2017, completing the circuit in 1:30.621.
Another change from 2018 sees the omission of one of the three DRS zones being used during last year’s race. Last year included a section going around a corner, but after Marcus Ericsson and Romain Grosjean were both involved in incidents there, the FIA decided to return to two DRS zones for 2019.
The first detection point will be just before turn 3 and can be used after turn 5, while the second is measured before turn 11 and activated after turn 14.
Silverstone is typically one of the tracks with the highest tyre wear on the calendar, resulting in Pirelli bringing their three hardest compounds to this race.
Despite this, few drivers have opted to bring more than one set of hards, while Renault are hoping the soft tyres will last on the newly-relaid surface. Williams have gone the other way, bringing fewer sets of C3 tyres than any of their rivals. George Russell has the most mediums of any driver on the grid, while Daniel Ricciardo has just one set.
Drivers finishing in the points last year made a mix of tyre strategies work. Some made the most of a safety car to make a cheap second pitstop, while other went long and one-stopped. Nico Hulkenberg in particular managed his tyres well, getting 32 laps out of the hypersoft tyre – the only driver in the points to use the softest compound in use at that race.
The British Grand Prix has had some cracking races over the years at a number of different circuits, but at Silverstone, few races will have pleased the home crowd more than the 1987 race, won by Williams’s Nigel Mansell.
The 1992 champion spent the majority of the race battling with teammate Nelson Piquet, eventually deciding to pit for fresh tyres, dropping him almost 30 seconds behind the Brazilian. However, the newer rubber meant Mansell soon started to catch his teammate.
After smashing the lap record, Mansell moved ahead of Piquet with two laps remaining, delighting the British fans for his second of four British GP wins, and his first at Silverstone.
Statistics and form:
Mercedes have won five of the last six races at Silverstone, with Vettel ending the German constructors’ winning run last year. Hamilton is currently tied with Jim Clark and Alain Prost as the most successful driver at the British Grand Prix, with five wins each.
Hamilton would also head into this race as the favourite for pole, having started at the head of the grid for the last four years in Silverstone, while his teammate Valtteri Bottas has never qualified in the top three for the British race.
Although Mercedes have been the dominant team so far in 2019, the Silver Arrows have faced stiffer competition from Ferrari and Red Bull in the last two races. Vettel probably still argues that he should have won in Canada, while Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen went head to head for the win in Austria, rather than the two Mercedes drivers. If that trend continues, Ferrari would seem the most likely to test Mercedes this weekend, with Silverstone typically being a track that favours cars with the highest power.
Red Bull haven’t starred at Silverstone in the hybrid era, only picking up two podiums in the last six years. However, the current forecast suggests Saturday could be a wet one, potentially resulting in a mixed up grid, which could favour Red Bull, or even one of the team’s further down the order.
After a top 6 finish at Austria, Lando Norris will be looking for another strong performance this time out in his first F1 appearance in his home race, particularly having confirmed he’ll be remaining at McLaren alongside Carlos Sainz for 2020.
It feels like it could be a busy news week as the season nears its halfway point. Along with McLaren confirming its 2020 driver lineup, Silverstone has agreed a new deal to remain on the F1 calendar and Rich Energy has parted ways with Haas all before the first press conferences! There could be further big announcements to come in the coming days.
Don’t forget to listen to this week’s podcast to hear more of our thoughts ahead of Sunday’s race, and check out our predictions, as well as letting us know who you think could be in the top three. Join us during qualifying and on race day for our live blogs, and let us know what you think through Twitter and Facebook.