It’s always a special occasion when the British Grand Prix comes along but this weekend is especially so as Silverstone celebrates its 50th showpiece as part of the Formula One World Championship. Many of the spectators packing the grandstands will hope to mark the occasion with a home victory but what chance do they have? The TCF Form Guide asseses the chances of all 22 drivers.
|6. NICO ROSBERG – MERCEDES (165 PTS – CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER)|
|Last 5 Races: 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 1st||Best In Great Britain: Winner (2013)|
How the momentum has shifted. After playing second fiddle to teammate Lewis Hamilton in four consecutive races, Nico Rosberg has now had the upper hand in the last three. Victory at the Red Bull Ring has seen him move a full race win clear of his championship rival. Nico was triumphant here a year ago, even if that success owed more to the misfortune of his competitors than anything else, but another victory on Hamilton’s home turf will be worth much more than the 25 points given the psychological warfare between the two.
|44. LEWIS HAMILTON – MERCEDES (136 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 29 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 1st, 1st, 2nd, DNF, 2nd||Best In Great Britain: Winner (2008)|
In a summer of British sporting misery, Lewis Hamilton will be doing his best to provide some national cheer when takes to the track this weekend but his own championship situation provides ample motivation. It would be a slight exaggeration to call it a must-win Grand Prix but the home favourite knows he can’t allow Nico Rosberg to get too far ahead. A clean qualifying session would be a good place to start with yellow flags and ill-timed errors seeing Nico outqualify him on three successive Saturdays before staying ahead on the Sunday.
|3. DANIEL RICCIARDO – RED BULL RACING RENAULT (83 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 82 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 4th, 3rd, 3rd, 1st, 8th||Best In Great Britain: 8th (2013)|
The phrase ‘back down to earth with a bump’ springs to mind for Daniel Ricciardo who followed up his magnificent debut win in Canada with a difficult outing in Austria, even if his struggles weren’t down to him. Red Bull were desperately uncompetitive at their home circuit with Ricciardo only able to finish eighth and a switch to the fast sweepers of Silverstone should bring them back into play towards the front of the grid. He did at least maintain his superiority over Sebastian Vettel though and that will be Daniel’s first target again here.
|14. FERNANDO ALONSO – FERRARI (79 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 86 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 3rd, 6th, 4th, 6th, 5th||Best In Great Britain: Winner (2006, 2011)|
Ferrari enjoyed something of an upturn in fortunes at the Red Bull Ring but typically their rise up the order owed much to the brilliance of Fernando Alonso. The two-time world champion managed to drag the F14 T onto the second row and pushed his former teammate Felipe Massa all the way for fourth, missing out by just over a second. With an improvement expected from Red Bull in particular, Ferrari face an even tougher challenge to be best of the rest this weekend but expect Alonso to throw everything at the task at hand.
| 1. SEBASTIAN VETTEL – RED BULL RACING RENAULT (60 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 105 PTS)
|Last 5 Races: 5th, 4th, DNF, 3rd, DNF||Best In Great Britain: Winner (2009)|
After dominating Formula One for four years, it seems as though Sebastian Vettel has saved four seasons’ worth of bad luck for 2014. Austria brought yet more misery for Vettel with elimination in the second part of qualifying, a fate not suffered by his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, before a loss of power effectively ended his race before it had started. Seb will hardly have fond memories of his last visit to Northamptonshire either when his Red Bull broke down with victory in sight but this weekend presents an opportunity to turn the tide.
|27. NICO HULKENBERG – FORCE INDIA MERCEDES (59 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 106 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 6th, 10th, 5th, 5th, 9th||Best In Great Britain: 10th (2010, 2013)|
Along with Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg remains one of three only drivers to have scored points in every single round of the 2014 championship but the German wasn’t in a celebratory mood after Austria. Nico was beaten to eighth place by Daniel Ricciardo and outpaced by teammate Sergio Perez, Hulkenberg struggling with the balance throughout. Should Force India avoid such issues in Silverstone, Nico will be eyeing a spot in Q3 before extending his points-scoring streak in the race.
|77. VALTTERI BOTTAS – WILLIAMS MERCEDES (55 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 110 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 7th, 5th, DNF, 7th, 3rd||Best In Great Britain: 12th (2013)|
Given the speed of their car, it’s surprising that Williams hadn’t picked up a podium finish prior to Austria but Valtteri Bottas delivered at the Red Bull Ring. The Finn narrowly missed out on his first pole position on Saturday but his performance on Sunday was sensational, even splitting the Mercedes duo up until the second round of pit stops. With that particular monkey off his back, don’t be at all surprised if Valtteri is drinking more champagne this weekend. His car should certainly be competitive enough.
|22. JENSON BUTTON – McLAREN MERCEDES (43 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 122 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 11th, 11th, 6th, 4th, 11th||Best In Great Britain: 4th (2004, 2010)|
Jenson Button has had his fair share of column inches in the run-up to Silverstone after receiving a public hurry-up from McLaren CEO Ron Dennis but if the 2009 world champion needs any extra motivation, the sea of pink in the grandstands will certainly do the trick. Silverstone hasn’t been the kindest of venues to Jenson over the years with fourth his best result in fourteen attempts and no matter how hard he tries, you fear the uncompetitive machinery at his disposal may prevent him from doing any better this time.
|19. FELIPE MASSA – WILLIAMS MERCEDES (30 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 135 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 15th, 13th, 7th, 12th, 4th||Best In Great Britain: 4th (2009, 2012)|
You will have struggled to find anyone in the Formula One paddock that wasn’t delighted for Felipe Massa when he claimed pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix. The Brazilian couldn’t produce another dream result on the Sunday though as the might of Mercedes and the brilliance of Bottas denied him a podium finish. Nevertheless, Austria did bring Felipe’s best result of the season and he heads to Silverstone with a wonderful combination of confidence and competitive machinery.
|20. KEVIN MAGNUSSEN – McLAREN MERCEDES (29 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 136 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 13th, 12th, 10th, 9th, 7th||Best In Great Britain: Debut|
It may not have drawn many headlines but Kevin Magnussen’s performance in Austria was right up there with his explosive arrival in Australia. The Dane comfortably outqualified and outraced teammate Jenson Button, something he hadn’t done for a while, and secured his best result since the season opener in seventh. With the chasing pack behind Mercedes likely to be just as tight as it was in Austria, Kevin will surely achieve a similar result if he can hit those same heights again.
|11. SERGIO PEREZ – FORCE INDIA MERCEDES (28 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 137 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 9th, 9th, DNF, 11th, 6th||Best In Great Britain: 7th (2011)|
Considering he arrived with a five place grid penalty and criticism from Felipe Massa ringing in his ears, you would’ve got long odds on Sergio Perez being the star of the race in Austria. The Mexican was magnificent though as he made a contrary strategy work, even leading the race at one point (left), to finish an excellent sixth. ‘Checo’ was one of the victims of the infamous tyre explosions twelve months ago and assuming lightning doesn’t strike twice, Perez will be pushing for another points finish.
|7. KIMI RAIKKONEN – FERRARI (19 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 146 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 8th, 7th, 12th, 10th, 10th||Best In Great Britain: Winner (2007)|
Kimi Raikkonen made the whole world stand up and take notice with a sensational drive to fourth on his first visit to Austria in 2001 but his latest appearance there brought more disappointment in a season featuring more lows than highs. The 2007 world champion scored a solitary point for tenth and trailed his teammate Fernando Alonso by half a minute, a gap he knows he will have to cut in order more than a single point, if any at all, at Silverstone this weekend.
|8. ROMAIN GROSJEAN – LOTUS RENAULT (8 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 157 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 8th, 8th, DNF, 14th||Best In Great Britain: 6th (2012)|
The Red Bull Ring was supposed to be a stronger circuit for Lotus after an uncompetitive showing in Canada but the E22 fared no better in Austria. Romain Grosjean’s race already looked tricky before he was banished from the pitlane for a gearbox change but the pre-race penalty destroyed any hope of points. The Frenchman will now be hoping that his superb showing at the technically-challenging Barcelona is a template for Silverstone this weekend.
|25. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE – STR RENAULT (8 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 157 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 12th, DNF, DNF, 8th, DNF||Best In Great Britain: 14th (2012)|
Austria was a disappointing weekend for Jean-Eric Vergne and time will tell as to just how damaging it is for his Formula One career. The Frenchman was comprehensively outshone by his rookie teammate Daniil Kvyat and a brake problem eventually halted him short of the finish. With an opportunity to build on a strong performance in Canada missed, Jean-Eric will be fully aware that he needs to bounce back at Silverstone, not only for his season, but potentially for his Formula One future.
|26. DANIIL KVYAT – STR RENAULT (4 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 161 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 10th, 14th, DNF, DNF, DNF||Best In Great Britain: Debut|
If any driver deserved a better result than he actually got in Austria, it’s Daniil Kvyat. The Russian was outstanding all weekend, regularly popping up towards the top of the practice timesheets before qualifying seventh, but a right rear suspension problem undid all of his hard work, consigning Kvyat to his third retirement in succession. The form of the 20 year old has picked up though after a tricky couple of weekends and there is no reason why he can’t upset a big name or two again here.
|17. JULES BIANCHI – MARUSSIA FERRARI (2 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 163 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 17th, 18th, 9th, DNF, 15th||Best In Great Britain: 16th (2013)|
Marussia saw plenty to be encouraged by in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix as Jules Bianchi came within six hundredths of a second of splitting the Saubers. Although he couldn’t take the fight to the Swiss squad on race day, fifteenth was still a solid result on a day where the attrition rate wasn’t particularly high. With Bianchi expecting the high-speed Silverstone circuit to favour the Marussia, could this be the weekend where the Frenchman gets in amongst the Saubers?
|99. ADRIAN SUTIL – SAUBER FERRARI (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 165 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 17th, DNF, 13th, 13th||Best In Great Britain: 7th (2013)|
It rather sums up where Sauber are at the moment that Adrian Sutil hailed the Austrian Grand Prix as “a good race”, despite another weekend without a championship point. After a bizarre incident when the team gave Adrian a call to stop that was supposed to have been given to his teammate, he drove on to finish thirteenth and that is around par given the speed of the C33. Sutil and Sauber will grow even more nervous as every race without scoring goes by but an unpredictable weather forecast may provide the opportunity to calm those nerves.
|9. MARCUS ERICSSON – CATERHAM RENAULT (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 165 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 20th, 20th, 11th, DNF, 18th||Best In Great Britain: Debut|
All of the headlines surrounding Caterham in the build-up to the British Grand Prix concern the ownership of the team but with their immediate future secured, Marcus Ericsson can now concentrate solely on Silverstone. The Swede was hoping to chase down Max Chilton in Austria before being caught up with blue flags and losing valuable time. After claiming to have learned a lesson as to how to approach such scenarios, Marcus will hope to close the gap on his tail-end rivals.
|13. PASTOR MALDONADO – LOTUS RENAULT (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 165 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 14th, 15th, DNS, DNF, 12th||Best In Great Britain: 11th (2013)|
Pastor Maldonado had one of his stronger weekends of the season in Austria, outqualifying Romain Grosjean before bringing his E22 home in twelfth, even if points were still quite a way away. Beside the one excursion in Q2, the Venezuelan stayed out of trouble all weekend and with Silverstone certain to provide a better platform to show what he can do, Maldonado will be hopeful that his twelve month run without a point is finally about to end.
|21. ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ – SAUBER FERRARI (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 165 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 16th, 16th, DNF, 14th, 19th||Best In Great Britain: 14th (2013)|
It doesn’t rain but it pours for poor Esteban Gutierrez at the moment. The Mexican had a miserable weekend in Canada but Austria was arguably worse with a botched pit stop consigning him to last place. Worse was to come as the stewards handed him a ten place grid penalty for the unsafe release and Esteban is almost certain to start the British Grand Prix where he finished in Austria – right at the very back. He is sure to have his work cut out if he is to reverse Sauber’s recent fortunes.
|4. MAX CHILTON – MARUSSIA FERRARI (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 165 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 19th, 19th, 14th, DNF, 17th||Best In Great Britain: 17th (2013)|
Much of the focus will be centred on Lewis Hamilton’s challenge for victory this weekend but Max Chilton will also be looking to make home field advantage count. The Marussia driver split the Caterhams in Austria but that isn’t where he envisages himself being at Silverstone this weekend. Not only will Max be intent on beating both of the green machines, but he will also be looking to turn the tables on teammate Jules Bianchi now that he has served the three-place grid penalty for tagging him in Canada.
|10. KAMUI KOBAYASHI – CATERHAM RENAULT (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 165 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 18th, DNF, 13th, DNF, 16th||Best In Great Britain: 6th (2010)|
After returning to Formula One at the start of this season, Kamui Kobayashi surely can’t have expected the whirlwind he was about to walk into. The off-track problems surrounding the Caterham team have been solved for the time being though and Kamui will be excited to race on a circuit where he shone first time out in 2010, finishing a superb sixth. A repeat of that kind of result is a pipe dream for the Japanese driver this weekend but given the recent reports concerning his team, he will be relieved that he’s racing at all.