Formula 1 returns to Silverstone in front of a capacity crowd for the 2022 British Grand Prix. Verstappen will be looking to extend his championship advantage with Ferrari hot on his heels – but could Mercedes spring a surprise? Nicky Haldenby talks you through what to watch out for at the British Grand Prix.
Formula 1’s homecoming
Always one of the highlights of the British sporting summer, Silverstone plays host to the British Grand Prix. A historic track that evokes memories of seismic Formula 1 moments at almost every turn, the former airfield played host to the first-ever World Championship F1 race back in 1950. 72 years later, the event is more popular than ever. This weekend’s estimated attendance figure is 400,000 – the biggest in British Grand Prix history.
The Mercedes comeback?
Porpoising. It has been the word of the year so far in Formula 1, especially for the Mercedes team. The W13 has not suited the street tracks on which the sport has raced recently, with its porpoising issues having been exacerbated by the bumpy circuit surfaces. Hopes are high that the recently resurfaced Silverstone track will present a smoother ride for the Mercedes duo as they land on home soil.
Add to that a major upgrade package and Mercedes could be well-positioned to spring a surprise over the British Grand Prix weekend. So far in the V6 hybrid era, Mercedes’ success at Silverstone has come as no surprise. The team have set the fastest qualifying time for all of the last ten races at the track and have failed to win only two races here since 2013. If there’s any circuit at which Mercedes could be in for a decent result in 2022, Silverstone is high on the list.
George Russell to finish on the podium – 5/2
Lewis Hamilton to finish on the podium – 5/2
Lewis Hamilton returned to the podium at the Canadian Grand Prix for the first time since the season-opener in Bahrain – and he’ll be hoping to make another rostrum appearance in front of his home crowd this weekend.
Hamilton has no fewer than eight previous wins at Silverstone. A ninth would see him set a new record for the most victories at a single venue. Hamilton equalled the longest losing streak of his career last time out, this being only the fourth time in his 15-year career that he has gone without a win for ten races in a row. Could Silverstone be the turning point in Hamilton’s season?
Lewis Hamilton to win the British Grand Prix – 10/1
Will Red Bull’s winning streak continue?
Max Verstappen secured another victory for Red Bull in his title defence campaign at the Canadian Grand Prix, becoming the youngest driver in history to record 25 career wins. Verstappen is now 46 points clear of anyone else in the championship standings and it’s looking increasingly likely that he’ll wrap up the title well before the last race of the season.
Verstappen now looks for redemption at Silverstone having crashed out on the first lap of last year’s British Grand Prix in a collision with Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen has won here once before, taking the win at the one-off 70th Anniversary Grand Prix in 2020. He also started from pole last year. Given his recent form and the Red Bull’s advantage over the rest of the field so far this year, Verstappen is the obvious pick for this weekend’s win.
Red Bull have won all of the last six races. Another win at the British Grand Prix would make this only the 15th time in Formula 1 history that a team has won seven races in a row.
Can Leclerc return to the podium?
While Red Bull looks to extend their winning streak, they’ll have a keen eye on Ferrari’s performance at the British Grand Prix. The fast, flowing layout of the Silverstone circuit should suit the Scuderia’s car and could provide them with a strong chance of ending Red Bull’s winning ways.
Charles Leclerc was the title favourite at the beginning of the season, having won two of the opening three races of the year. Since then, he has finished on the podium only once, with a second-place finish in Miami. That has allowed Max Verstappen to change a deficit of 46 points to Leclerc in the title hunt after the Australian Grand Prix to a 49-point advantage ahead of the British Grand Prix. That’s a swing of 95 points in only six races.
With Ferrari expected to have a strong showing, Leclerc will be looking to build on past successes at Silverstone. The Monegasque driver is yet to win here but has finished on the British Grand Prix podium in all of the last three years. He also led the majority of last year’s race before being overtaken by Lewis Hamilton just a handful of laps from the chequered flag.
Charles Leclerc to win the Grand Prix – 2/1
Carlos Sainz’s search for his first win continues
While Leclerc has struggled to make podium appearances in recent races, his team-mate Carlos Sainz has made three in the last five race weekends. Having got to within half a second of victory in the closing stages of the Canadian Grand Prix, the Spaniard is climbing up the list of most podiums without a win.
If his current form continues, it’s surely only a matter of time before Sainz stands on the top step of the podium. However, the statistics are not in Sainz’s favour for a win this weekend. Silverstone has crowned only one new F1 winner in the past 49 years, that being Johnny Herbert back in 1995.
Carlos Sainz to win the GP – 12/1
More upgrades in the midfield
Mercedes are not the only team bringing upgrades to Silverstone. Alex Albon’s Williams car will be fitted with an upgrade package for the British Grand Prix. Williams will use the weekend to compare Albon’s upgraded car to the non-upgraded machine of Nicholas Latifi, checking that the new package works as hoped.
Latifi is the only driver yet to out-qualify his teammate so far in 2022. If, as rumoured, the upgrade package turns out to be worth as much as a second in qualifying, you can expect that statistic to remain unchanged.
Elsewhere, Alpine will bring a new floor to the British Grand Prix, which could help them in their battle for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship. Last time out, Fernando Alonso lined up on the front row but faced a tough Sunday afternoon and a post-race penalty dropped him to only ninth in the final order.
Look out for Alfa Romeo, too. Both Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu scored points in Canada. The team has not scored with both cars at consecutive races in 12 years. With a strong package so far in 2022, that could be set to change at Silverstone.