After a short break, Formula 1 returns, this time rolling up to Silverstone, for the British Grand Prix.
Silverstone first hosted a Grand Prix in 1948, and hosted the first Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1950. The track has undergone a number of modifications since then, but the general shape of the circuit is still visible even today.
For a time the Grand Prix rotated between circuits, but from 1987 onwards Silverstone has been the sole host of the race. It was in 1987 that Nigel Mansell famously sold his Williams teammate Nelson Piquet a dummy down the Hanger Straight by feinting toward the outside line then darting inward into Stowe Corner. 1991 saw Mansell give title rival Ayrton Senna a lift back to the pits, whilst in 2008 Lewis Hamilton would dominate a rain-soaked race.
The track’s current configuration was first introduced in 2010, with changes to the start/finish line placement in 2011. The intention was to slow the circuit down, following ongoing concerns about the speed of the cars. 52 laps will soon ensue, and last year’s race winner, Lewis Hamilton, is on pole.
As with Austria, Hamilton’s pole lap was one of the few good laps he produced. He had struggled in practice sessions 1 and 2, and also in Q1 and Q2. Nailing pole was unquestionably a boost, but Rosberg got the jump on him last time out, and the pole sitter doesn’t usually win here.
The Williams’ cars had a good qualifying session, with Massa snatching third and Bottas fourth, putting both cars ahead of the Ferraris. Given that Silverstone is still quite the power track, and given the strong engine grunt of the Mercedes power train in the Williams, they could have a good race.
One team that will be mystified a little will be Lotus. The same Mercedes engines power their cars, yet they struggled in qualifying, as did the Toro Rossos (despite good practice pace and Verstappen’s bold proclamations about the chassis). McLaren once again had a miserable time, going out in Q1.
The stage is set, hopefully it will be a good one!