British Grand Prix Preview: A Record Breaking Weekend?7 min read
Mercedes should dominate at the British Grand Prix from Silverstone, the final weekend of Formula One‘s first triple-header. Lewis Hamilton, and his Mercedes team, come into the weekend reeling from a nightmare weekend in Austria. Hamilton described it as, “the worst race I can remember for a very, very long time,” when his team scored zero points despite looking dominant for most of the weekend.
Last year saw the local boy, Lewis Hamilton, start from pole and he proceeded to leave everyone else in his tracks during the race. But in Austria, the team showed that they are no longer as bullet-proof as in previous years. Both cars suffered hydraulic failures, perhaps due to Mercedes’ need to push harder than ever before to develop their car to stay at the front. The biggest question has to be, are these issues resolved or has the sustained development push caused a serious issue for the Silver Arrows?
The best news for Mercedes is that they expect to avoid grid penalties at the British Grand Prix. Mercedes’ Technical Boss, James Allison noted that “(they were) entirely separate failures and neither of them related to the introduction of the new power unit.” The team also believe the failures were “confined to the items that failed,” which, if correct, should mean that that grid penalties should not occur this weekend.
Ferrari team boss, Maurizio Arrivabene, stated this week that he feels they may struggle this weekend. “At Silverstone, we are not usually the best, so Mercedes is the favourite there I think,” said Arrivabene. The Ferrari’s lacked qualifying pace in Austria, however, they had no such problems during the race. I wouldn’t write the prancing horses off just yet, they have showed great long-run pace of recent. They may well be just downplaying their chances, especially since they are rumored to be bringing an aerodynamic upgrade for the British Grand Prix.
Red Bull head into the British Grand Prix weekend with momentum on their side. Max Verstappen picked up his first win of the season at the Red Bull Ring, claiming his third consecutive podium at the team’s “home” track. Daniel Ricciardo suffered a failure with his exhaust forcing him to retire. But, he showed great pace prior to this and this has to be a positive. The Renault power unit does not have enough raw pace to challenge in qualifying, even with the introduction of their new ‘Party Mode’. However, the Red Bull’s race pace should give them plenty of opportunities to make up for this during the race.
Mercedes to bounce back?
If Mercedes manage to avoid mechanical issues and tactical errors this weekend, it’s difficult to look past them. Valtteri Bottas must feel particularly hard done by this season, having multiple winning chances slip away due to reasons beyond his control. He will be fired up and looking to bounce back. Despite this, Lewis Hamilton looks likely to pick up a record sixth British Grand Prix win, and his fifth in a row. The four-time world champion will get massive support from the home crowd and this has previously inspired him to exceptional performances at Silverstone.
Whilst sitting here, quite literally, in my Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 shirt, I find it difficult to look past Lewis Hamilton absolutely dominating the weekend. Mercedes are known to bounce back strongly after a bad race weekend, and I fully expect that Mercedes will come out of the trap firing on all cylinders. Lewis Hamilton is the favourite to end Free Practice 1 atop the timing sheet and, I for one, think that’s the easiest pick of the weekend.
Whereas I truly believe that Hamilton will also take the pole, for him to be fastest qualifier does not seem like it’s priced to take a punt on. I’m more inclined to take an each way shot on last weeks pole sitter, Valtteri Bottas, at . Bottas has the same machinery as Hamilton and is more than capable of matching the Brit on one lap pace, so a bet for him to start on the front row seems like the most sensible course of action.
Sticking with the all Mercedes theme of this piece, Hamilton at for the win is another easy pick. Having picked up the last four British Grand Prix victories with an average lead of over 15 seconds at the finish, backing Lewis to dominate his home Grand Prix, whilst hopefully riding high on the England Football team’s success, seems like another easy selection.
Lewis Hamilton to be fastest in Free Practice 1 at
Valtteri Bottas to be fastest qualifier at (E/W 1/3 1,2)
Lewis Hamilton to win the British Grand Prix at
Best of the rest
In the midfield, Haas should perform well as their car excels in high speed corners. Kevin Magnussen has been the star of the American outfit this season and, after a spectacular 5th place finish in Austria, could be on-track to repeat this feat at the British Grand Prix. In fact, Magnussen has finished in the top six in both of the last two races and in 50