Yesterday’s Brazilian Grand Prix was about fighting back, in more ways than one. For Lewis Hamilton, it was about making the most of a pit-lane start after a crash in qualifying. For Daniel Ricciardo, it was about overcoming a poor start and a grid penalty, and for Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari, it was about reminding everyone that they are still competitive.

Vettel had lined up second on the grid, behind the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, with the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen behind them. Would Bottas (who took the third pole of his career) be able to convert his excellent qualifying performance into victory? Well, that opportunity took a blow into the first corner, with Vettel getting a better start and diving down the inside of turn 1 to take the lead. Behind the leaders, a little bit of chaos erupted.

First, Ricciardo took a spin when tagged by the errant McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne, who had been hit by the Haas of Kevin Magnussen. Ricciardo was able to keep going but both Magnussen and Vandoorne were out. Further up the road, the second Haas of Romain Grosjean took out the Force India of Esteban Ocon; a spot of clumsy driving from Grosjean saw him bump into the side of Ocon and give his fellow Frenchman not one but two punctures. Grosjean would earn a 10-second penalty and two penalty points for the incident.

The first incident triggered an early safety car spell, allowing Hamilton to close up on the pack and giving Ricciardo a chance to pit and get his car checked for damage. Once the race resumed, both men would start to charge up the order. Hamilton was aided by a new engine, allowing him to turn up the power and really push. Ricciardo, with a somewhat temperamental Renault engine, had to be more careful, but this didn’t stop him from pulling off a few trademark late braking moves into turn 1.

Up front, Vettel eked out a small gap over Bottas, who in turn was keeping ahead of Raikkonen. Behind them was Verstappen, who lacked the power to threaten for a podium, whilst further back, Felipe Massa, enjoying his final home grand prix, was frustrating Fernando Alonso. With superior Mercedes power, the Williams was keeping the McLaren at bay, despite struggling with the super-soft tyres as the pit stop window approached. With that window approaching, Bottas began to slowly reel Vettel back in, then Mercedes pulled the trigger on the stops, swapping the super-softs for the softs and sending Bottas out, hoping to make the undercut work. It nearly did, with Vettel only just coming out ahead after his own stop, but it wasn’t quite enough. On the soft tyre the Ferrari looked stronger, and Vettel began to pull away again.

For Hamilton and Ricciardo, their strategy was inverted – long stints on the soft tyre with the faster super-soft tyre coming later. This enabled Hamilton to briefly lead the race, then end up in fourth, with the chance to chase down Raikkonen for a podium. Ricciardo ended up fifth but with a faster Verstappen on his tail, and it wasn’t long before Ricciardo let his teammate through. Massa was continuing to hold up Alonso, with Sergio Perez in the Force India closing in to join in the fun. The McLaren worked well through the winding corners of the middle sector but couldn’t live with the Mercedes-powered Williams elsewhere, allowing Massa to just about stay ahead, even with Alonso picking up DRS. Whereas last season Massa’s ‘final’ Brazilian race saw him crash out, this time he would hold on to pick up seventh place and do himself proud. Alonso had to settle for eighth, fending off Perez. Nico Hulkenberg picked up tenth and the final point for Renault, albeit a lap behind the rest.

Hamilton, despite a late charge, wasn’t quite able to challenge Raikkonen for third, whilst Bottas wasn’t able to threaten Vettel for the win. The result was a much-needed tonic for Ferrari, after a dismal spell, especially in Asia, completely ended their title hopes. For Vettel too, the win was much needed, his fifth of the season and a reminder to everyone of his quality. He will now want to build upon that going into F1’s final race in Abu Dhabi.

wpid-wp-1421593036040.png

Welcome to F1’s premiere night race, and one of those rare sights – a counter-clockwise race. It is also one of the most gruelling tests of a driver’s stamina and endurance, for this bumpy track is surrounded by walls that will punish the slightest mistake, whilst the drivers must race for nearly two hours in hot, humid conditions that will leave them literally sweating off the pounds. This is Singapore.

Such is the nature of the venue that there has been a safety car at every single F1 race held here, and with the 2017 cars allowing for faster cornering it will not be a surprise to anyone if we get another safety car on Sunday. This long lap has several areas that could yield accidents, including the twisty turns at the start of the lap and the end of the DRS section that is Raffles Boulevard. The infamous ‘Singapore Sling’ that is now turn 10 has been neutered in recent years but turn 13 is a very tight left-hander and the sequence through turns 16-21 comes up pretty fast on the drivers.

The generally accepted idea is that Ferrari will have an edge on Mercedes here, with Ferrari’s car being better adapted to the slower, high-downforce circuits. It remains to be seen if that theory pans out, though it has been true of previous races, whilst Red Bull will being eying up a chance to get right into the mix here. Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen could well be wildcards in proceedings on Sunday, especially if they qualify strongly.

Another team with hopes of getting a decent points haul will be McLaren, who have announced they’ll be splitting from Honda at the end of the year. The plan for 2018 is to run Renault engines, which in theory is only a marginal improvement on where they are now, but it will be a step in the right direction. For now, the slow corners of Singapore will suit their overall design better than any remaining track.

From a championship perspective the equation is very simple – if Sebastian Vettel picks up a win he will go back into the lead of the title race, no matter where Lewis Hamilton finishes. Given that Vettel has more wins here than anyone else, he has every reason to be confident of his chances. For Hamilton Sunday might be all about damage limitation. We shall see.

Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix (or as it should be known, the Grid Penalty Grand Prix) will perhaps be best remembered for the chaotic qualifying, and for the host of penalties that saw the field shuffled to a near-farcical degree for race day. I understand that the FIA have to impose some kind of penalty for rule infractions, but the extent of it in Italy was insane.

Qualifying was equally insane, with torrential rain leading to a lengthy delay to the session, following an early crash from Grosjean in his Haas. When (after a couple of hours) qualifying did finally take place, it was the Mercedes of Hamilton who dominated, albeit not without a minor scare from an unlikely place – the Force India of Ocon was at one point running top of the standings in Q3, with the cars kicking up huge amounts of spray in the sodden conditions. In the end though, Lewis Hamilton took his 69th career pole and in doing so, claimed the record for the most poles in F1 (overhauling Michael Schumacher’s record of 68). Elsewhere, the craziness of the penalties meant young Williams driver Lance Stroll would start second and Ocon was third. Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes would start fourth, just ahead of the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.

The poor showing in qualifying from the Ferraris (at least, in relation to Hamilton, who was 2.5 seconds faster than his title rival Vettel) was at least in part due to the wet conditions in which Hamilton excels, so come the race itself there was a hope that they could turn things around, even if only a little. An early tussle between Raikkonen and Bottas saw the two get very close at one point, before Bottas, even before DRS was active, blew by the Ferrari. Stroll (who had started cautiously and let Ocon get ahead of him) was an easy target for Bottas, and soon the Finn was by Ocon as well. Hamilton was out in front, easing out a gap of around four seconds and content to control the pace from there.

Vettel would get by Raikkonen in short order, and soon he too was dispensing Stroll and Ocon, aided in part by Stroll trying to put pressure on the Force India man. Once Vettel was in clear air he would have hoped to exert some pressure of his own on the Mercedes duo, but he was powerless to get near them, and the two Silver Arrows streaked off into the distance.

The Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Verstappen had found themselves out of position near the back of the pack, thanks to the aforementioned grid penalties, but Ricciardo was charging up the order – despite a weaker Renault engine, the setup of the Red Bulls was near-perfect, allowing Ricciardo to pump in some very fast laps. Verstappen was not so lucky, suffering a puncture early on after a tangle with the second Williams of Felipe Massa, and fell down the order. He would work his way back up, eventually stealing a point for 10th, but it was Ricciardo who went on to earn the driver of the day tag, reaching fourth after a typically bold display of late braking into turn 1, diving down the inside of Raikkonen. He then chased after Vettel (by this point, Ricciardo was on supersoft tyres, whereas Vettel was on softs), but couldn’t quite catch him.

Hamilton would cruise to a comfortable victory and Mercedes would claim only their second one-two finish of the year, stretching their lead in the constructor’s championship, whilst Hamilton now leads the driver’s championship, albeit by only three points. It was his sixth win of the season, the first time anyone has won back-to-back races this year, and his 39th win from pole, along with the 59th of his career. It remains to be seen whether this is a tipping point in the title fight, with the next round in Singapore in theory favouring Ferrari.

 

wp-1472737706332.png

F1 races are like buses – you wait ages, then two come along at once! Following swiftly on Belgium’s heels is the Italian Grand Prix, held at another of Formula 1’s classic venues – Monza.

There’s nowhere on the calendar as fast as Monza. With long straights and mild curves, this is where the engines get to stretch their legs, and the drivers get to put their foot down. With the 2017 regulations producing some of the fastest F1 cars ever designed, we could be in for some supreme displays of speed here. The rundown to the opening chicane has produced high drama in the past, and could well do so on Sunday, given the approach speeds of clusters of F1 cars. A similar approach follows to turns 4 and 5, and the Curve di Lesmo looks slower than it actually is – with the increased downforce of these cars, it may well be taken nearly flat out.

This then takes us down the Curva del Serraglio, one of two DRS zones, so not only is it a fast run toward turns 8, 9 and 10 (itself a nippy sequence), but with DRS open it could prove to be particularly tricky. Getting a good exit is vital here, in order to get hard onto the power down the final straight, before the trickier-than-it-looks Curva Parabolica, which takes us to the start/finish straight. Rinse and repeat.

There is a lot of history here, and Ferrari fans will be out in force. Ferrari’s factory is not far away, so this is very much a home race for them, but in terms of raw engine power, Mercedes still have the edge. The signs from the first practice sessions are that Mercedes are very quick here, with the Silver Arrows appearing to be faster on slower tyres. Hamilton needs to win here, to at the very least tie the score with Vettel, as the next round – Singapore – will favour the Ferraris. It’s very much a crucial race on Sunday.

A fairly humdrum Belgian Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton halve the gap to Sebastian Vettel by taking top spot, and managing to absorb the near-constant presence of the Ferrari driver throughout the race. Vettel was never much farther than two seconds behind Hamilton, requiring the Mercedes man to be on his game, and on it he was – Hamilton coped nicely with the pressure, and the car itself demonstrated its strength on circuits like Spa – even on the soft tyres, Hamilton was able to control the gap to Vettel, who was running on the ultrasoft tyres at the end, following a safety car. The incident that led to the safety car… that was more than a little interesting.

Perez and Ocon get Rough

On the very first lap Perez, whilst tangling with another car on the run up to Eau Rouge, nearly pushed his Force India teammate Ocon into the wall. That could be forgiven as a racing incident – what happened as the race entered its final third was more controversial and likely to cause a heated discussion as the team try to deal with this latest moment of contact between the pair. Ocon was trying to get by Perez (the two had been battling throughout the race) and the Frenchman felt he’d been unfairly squeezed as the pair once again approached Eau Rouge at great speed. Ocon ended up losing part of his front wing and Perez suffered a puncture that ruined his race, though Ocon would recover to finish ninth. Ocon had some harsh words for Perez in the immediate aftermath of the race – it remains to be seen what the team will do.

Alonso’s had Enough

After qualifying 11th, Alonso put his McLaren up to seventh on the first lap, but it quickly became apparent that the underpowered Honda engine wasn’t going to resist the faster cars behind it, and Alonso dropped back down the field, much to his consternation. It’s difficult to believe he will end up staying at McLaren if they don’t make serious changes.

Verstappen’s Woes

For the sixth time in twelve races, Max Verstappen ended up retiring – this was an engine fault (it’s not the first time that’s happened this year), and it only took eight laps for his car to give up on him. That particular little detail also led to a ten-second stop go penalty for Raikkonen, who had failed to slow enough at the yellow flags. Raikkonen would recover pretty well, ending up in fourth, benefiting from the safety car as Bottas went wide at the end of the Kemmel Straight, during a particularly audacious move by Daniel Ricciardo (who went on to take third place, a very credible result given Red Bull’s power deficiencies in Belgium.

The Gap Shrinks

Hamilton’s win (on a weekend where he also equalled Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 68 pole positions) sees him reduce his deficit to Vettel to seven points. His fifth win of the year was a vital one – in a week’s time in Italy, another power track, he has the chance to at the very least draw level with Vettel, an absolute must with Singapore (a Ferrari track) looming.

wpid-1280px-spa-francorchamps_of_belgium.svg_.png

They’ve had four weeks off, now they can get back to work! Formula 1 returns at the weekend, and it will involve one of its most famous venues – Spa-Francorchamps.

The track itself has changed considerably over the years, with the original configuration being a 15km-long run through the forests that involved a great deal of danger. Spa is one of the deadliest circuits, having claimed 48 racer’s across various motorsport formulas since 1925, as well as four officials. It is a testing, challenging race, for a variety of reasons.

It’s not uncommon for rain to add an extra dimension to proceedings, and it’s been known for parts of the track to be damp and other parts to be dry, owing to the rolling, hilly nature of the place. The first sector is very fast, so low-down force settings are desired, but sector two is filled with winding mid-speed corners that are better suited to more down force, whilst sector three goes back to being fast again. Therefore, Spa is tricky to pin down in terms of setup.

So, with the faster cars of 2017, we can expect some very fast lap times around here, and it might approach some hair-raising speeds, especially as the cars go screaming up the superfast kink of Eau Rouge, before hurtling down the Kemmel Straight. With the Kemmel Straight usually being a DRS zone too, this could create some nail-biting moments on the approach to turn 7 and the Les Combes complex. Likewise the run down Blanchimont toward the final chicane will create some spectacular overtaking opportunities and some tense moments.

The expectation is that Mercedes will have the slight edge over Ferrari here, and therefore Lewis Hamilton will have a golden opportunity to close the gap on championship leader Sebastian Vettel. However, 2017 has so far proven that nothing should be assumed, so I won’t be making any bold predictions. Instead, I will hope for a fun, interesting and close race!

I’ve not seen this race, but I’ve seen the second corner incident between the Red Bull pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, so I thought I’d weigh in on that. Verstappen had initially made a good start and was hassling Hamilton’s Mercedes around the first corner. He got squeezed by the Ferraris and Mercedes’ and as a result Ricciardo was moving ahead of him on the approach to turn 2. Verstappen was too punchy, braking too late and locking up, smacking into Ricciardo and damaging the side pod, causing some kind of leak that ended Ricciardo’s race on the first lap. It wasn’t a deliberate move but Verstappen was desperate to keep ahead of his teammate and that desire manifested itself in the form of an error. Ricciardo was furious, and I would be intrigued by what words were exchanged after the race.

Beyond that incident, what happened?

Whereas last time around in Britain I was saying Mercedes and Hamilton had looked dominant, Ferrari bounced back with a vengeance in Budapest, with Sebastian Vettel taking pole and victory, with Kimi Raikkonen taking second. Even here, there was a manner of mild controversy. Vettel was suffering from handling problems and Raikkonen was quicker, but Ferrari bosses wanted Raikkonen to hold station and act as a buffer to the Mercedes pair behind them. This in turn put more pressure on Raikkonen, with first Bottas, then Hamilton, pushing at him.

Honourable Hamilton

Bottas had originally moved aside to let Hamilton have a crack at Raikkonen, but the Mercedes is not great at following other cars, and Hamilton just couldn’t mount an attack. He gave up third to Bottas at the final corner, honouring an agreement with his teammate, but was it the smart move? World championships have been decided by margins of three points or less on several occasions – and Hamilton just gave up three points. Time will be the judge of this.

Spare a thought for Fernando Alonso – the McLaren man took a highly credible sixth place and also ended up with the fastest lap – a reminder that the car has a strong design, just not an engine that does it justice.

Formula 1 now powers down for a month. We resume hostilities in Belgium.

As I type, we are only ten laps into round 13 of the Formula 1 World Championship, with the race red-flagged following a huge smash for Renault’s Kevin Magnussen as he came out of Eau Rouge. He is alright, despite going sideways into the tyre wall at 180 mph.

The opening laps have been utter chaos. Spa usually produces interesting races but this is astonishing. Going into turn 1 Ferrari’s day was ruined when Raikkonen bumped Vettel – but Vettel squeezed Raikkonen hard, who had the Red Bull of Verstappen trying a cheeky lunge up the inside. Vettel was put into a spin and facing the wrong way, whilst Raikkonen suffered damaged that required an early pit stop.

Meanwhile, Pascal Wehrlein went into the back of Jensen Button’s McLaren to put them both out (Wehrlein felt Button chopped him rather hastily), Carlos Sainz suffered a tyre blowout (I still don’t know if that was the result of contact or not) and ended up nearly collecting his Toro Rosso teammate Kvyat, before ending up with his rear wing sitting nearly vertical.

Flash forward several hours, and having watched the whole race, I can say that most of the action took place in that early phase, after which things settled down.

Start

Rosberg got away cleanly on a day where he had to win to take full advantage of Hamilton’s grid penalty (which Mercedes opted to take here, rather than at Monza in a week’s time), but behind him, there was contact when Vettel tried to sweep around the outside of his Ferrari teammate Raikkonen and the Red Bull of Verstappen. Raikkonen was boxed in between Vettel and Verstappen, and with nowhere to go ended up clipping Vettel and spinning the German around. The contact also damaged half of Verstappen’s front wing and left Raikkonen with a puncture. All in all, Ferrari’s hopes of a strong race were dashed at the very first corner.

The drama wasn’t over. As already mentioned, Sainz would suffer a tyre failure (I’m still not sure if this was the result of contact) and in his efforts to get back to the pits, his rear wing ended up mounted vertically upon his car.

SainzWing

(methinks Toro Rosso need to rethink their wing design)

With all the action and excitement, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg briefly ran in second, but it would the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo that would slip into second before long – he was however, unable to keep pace with Rosberg, though he would get a second bite of the cherry when Kevin Magnussen lost the rear coming out of Eau Rouge at 180 mph and smacked into a tyre barrier. Magnussen was thankfully unhurt, but the damage to the barrier was extensive enough for the race to be halted whilst repairs were carried out. At the restart Rosberg peeled away once more, easing into the distance.

Magnussen

(Magussen’s accident serves as a reminder that Eau Rouge is not to be trifled with)

Both Hamilton and Alonso (who had started at the back as well) had by this point taken full advantage of the chaos and Alonso was at one stage running in fourth – highly credible given the weakness of the Honda engine in his McLaren. As strategies unraveled and changed, there would be yet another clash between the youngest and oldest drivers on the grid, and Hamilton would get himself into third, twice passing Hulkenberg to take the place.

The incident (or should I say incidents) between Verstappen and Raikkonen took place at the end of the Kemmel straight, where DRS is available and therefore cars can carry significant speed. On the first occasion Raikkonen got a nose in front of Verstappen, but Verstappen was late on the braking and held the inside line going into the corner, leading to contact between the Ferrari and the Red Bull – Raikkonen was forced wide and though he ended up ahead, had to give the place back.

Shortly afterward, at the same place, Raikkonen was surging toward Verstappen with the aid of DRS and Verstappen was late in making a defensive move – technically Verstappen was within the letter of the rules, but Raikkonen had to brake hard to avoid a very high-speed impact. Needless to say, the Ice Man was losing his cool, swearing over the radio in disgust.

Behind the leaders the Ferraris quietly got themselves back into points-scoring positions, whilst Verstappen would fade away (a consequence of damage to his car). Vettel would end up ahead of the two Williams’ cars, who were in turn ahead of Raikkonen, whilst Alonso would yield sixth place to Vettel fairly easily late on (probably deciding there was no point in jeopordising points over a battle that would have been hard to win).

It was another weak race for Williams, who are now behind Force India in the race for fourth in the constructor’s championship. Hulkenberg took fourth and Perez took fifth, continuing the solid showing of the team.

Victory for Rosberg was exactly what he needed to do, on a weekend where many expected such a result to be a slam dunk. Nevertheless, he had to keep his composure, which he did, and keep his focus, which he did. His 20th career win comes at the venue where Michael Schumacher made his F1 debut 25 years ago – quite symbolic!

Hamilton’s third place was an important piece of damage limitation. He was aided by safety cars, accidents and the red flag spell, but he still kept himself out of trouble and drove competently. The drive of the day though, for me, belongs to Fernando Alonso. The McLaren is still underpowered compared to other cars, so to finish seventh, having started 22nd, was an incredible piece of race craft, and one that will hopefully get more recognition that it appears to have received so far.

So Rosberg now trails Hamilton by just nine points as we await Monza, Italy, in a weeks’ time.

Back to F1 2016

After being absent from the calendar last season, the German Grand Prix returned with relatively low-key practice and qualifying, and a race that was pretty entertaining – though not if you’re Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg was quickest in the practice sessions and snatched pole with a blistering lap, something he needed to do in order to lay down a marker, having lost the championship lead to Lewis Hamilton last time out in Hungary. It’s am overused word, but momentum is everything in F1 and with three consecutive wins for Hamilton going into the race (Austria, Britain and Hungary) it was vital for Rosberg to regain the initiative. Pole secured, eyes turned to the race itself, and for Rosberg, this is where it went horribly wrong.

A poor getaway meant that he lost the lead into the first corner for the second consecutive race to Hamilton, and this time also slipped behind the two Red Bulls (Verstappen leapfrogging Ricciardo to become the leading Bull). Ricciardo was able to keep ahead of Rosberg reasonably well, whilst Hamilton began to etch out a gap to Verstappen.

Strategy would prove crucial, with Mercedes pitting Rosberg first (an unusual move, since normally their lead car would dictate the stop, though with Hamilton under no immediate threat from Rosberg, it was probably a case of Mercedes trying to maximise their team points). As they did so, Red Bull pitted Verstappen (in a bid to cover Rosberg). Rosberg’s stop was sloppy by the standards set in F1 and he would continue to trail Verstappen until the next stops.

Up front, it looked like Hamilton and Ricciardo would try to go for a two-stop strategy, but this was soon abandoned as the pair came in a few laps later. Further back, the Ferraris languished in obscurity for the most part – they would end up fifth and sixth, largely on their own.

Williams’ Felipe Massa had a torrid race, involved in what appeared to be a minor first lap bump with a Renault, that inexplicably led to him lapping much slower than teammate Bottas, to the extent that Toro Rossos and Renaults were easing by him (Magnussen’s opportunistic dart after Sainz had already gone through was a masterful effort). Williams had a terrible race, with Massa eventually retiring and Bottas slipping well down the field, as a result of a failed attempt to make a two-stop race work.

Back near the front, Rosberg’s day would get worse. As the second round of stops took place, he found himself right on the tail of Verstappen and tried to lunge by at the main hairpin. Initially he succeeded, but he appeared to turn very late, leaving Verstappen nowhere to go but offroad. At the time the move looked hard but fair; on reflection, given the view from the cockpit, it may have been a mistake from Rosberg.

A 5-second time penalty (to be taken at the final stops) became an eight second penalty due to a mistake with a stop watch, just to compound Rosberg’s misery.

Hamilton meanwhile, cruised to his sixth win of the year. Ricciardo looked quicker at times, but Hamilton would then reopen the gap, which hovered around six seconds. His win puts him 19 points clear of Rosberg, could would finish fourth. With Hamilton due to take a grid penalty for an unauthorised engine change, having a buffer may well prove crucial. It also allows Hamilton to reflect upon a successful second quarter of the season as the summer break starts. Rosberg will be wondering how a 43-point advantage has turned into a 19-point deficit.

Silverstone

So we’ve barely gotten over the dramatic ending to the Austrian Grand Prix, and yet there is no time to catch our breath – Round 10 is here! Silverstone has a long history with Formula 1, and is the spiritual home of British motorsport. The track itself was once an airfield, and whilst it has undergone some big changes in recent years, the essence of the circuit still remains.

The fast sequence of corners from turns 10 to 14 is one of the most exciting challenges for an F1 driver – they wrestle the car through this sweeping set of left and right-hand curves, before hitting the Hanger straight, even hitting Stowe (turn 11) reasonably hard. Having personally attended the Grand Prix back in 2013, I can attest to how these cars move around this place.

In the context of 2016, we arrive here with the fallout from Hamilton and Rosberg’s collision on the final lap in Austria, with Mercedes issuing final warnings to the pair about avoiding contact. Adding to the tension are the inflammatory remarks from Mercedes non-executive chairman and three-time champion Niki Lauda, who spoke about Hamilton’s behaviour and claims of a good relationship with Rosberg. It’s my humble view that the comments from Lauda are ill-timed, and will only create further problems. They also seem designed to distract attention away from Rosberg’s error in Austria.

With the gap between championship leader Rosberg and Hamilton down to 11 points, there will be extra motivation for Hamilton to beat his teammate at his home race. Hamilton has won the past two British races – might he win for a third straight time, and equal Nigel Mansell’s record of four wins at Silverstone?

Can we expect to see anyone challenge Mercedes? Silverstone is a power circuit for the most part, and thus favours the Silver Arrows and their powerful engines, but it might offer an opportunity to the other Mercedes-powered outfits. That being said, it was Red Bull and Ferrari that were closest in Austria, so who knows?

We’ll find out on Sunday.

Back to F1 2016