Two weeks on from Nico Rosberg’s victory at the Red Bull Ring, Formula 1 returns to the ‘Home of British Motorsport’ and the host of the first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix back in 1950 – Silverstone.
The 5.891Km track is a firm favourite for most drivers on the F1 grid, with its fast nature and sequences of corners renowned the world over, such as the old turn one at Copse, then into the amazing Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel sequence that soon follows.
Rosberg showed in Austria two weeks ago that he has what it takes to beat Lewis Hamilton fair and square on the racetrack, and with the German driver a past winner at Silverstone, he will be looking to make it back-to-back victories for the second time this year, having also won the Spanish and Monaco Grand Prix consecutively.
Hamilton however will be eager to make it two British Grand Prix victories in a row, after taking advantage of a mechanical issue a year ago for Rosberg to win his home Grand Prix for a second time, having also won for McLaren back in the rain of 2008. The Briton remains on top of the Championship standings by ten points from his team-mate.
The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS driver’s have both finished on the podium in every race this season so far, and with the strength of their car and driver package, only a fool will bet otherwise that another double podium and possible 1-2 finish is on the cards.
Of course, there are teams that will be fighting to prevent that from happening, including Scuderia Ferrari, who have shown this year to be Mercedes’ closest challengers, and have taken the only win so far not taken by either Hamilton or Rosberg, when Sebastian Vettel took the flag in Malaysia.
Vettel missed out on a podium in Austria two weekends ago due to a slow pit stop, but had been on course for third up until then, only to be denied by Felipe Massa resolutely defending his position. The German sits third in the championship, but needs to start mixing it with the Mercedes drivers if he has any hope of adding to his four Drivers’ Championship titles in 2015.
Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen is in a very different position of his career right now, and is possibly fighting for his Ferrari future and possible his career right now after being regularly out-performed by Vettel this season. The Finn has struggled to qualify well, and was eliminated in Q1 in Austria before crashing out on the opening lap of the race with Fernando Alonso. Raikkonen needs to start performing or he will suddenly find a new name in the second Ferrari in 2016.
With the exception of the anomaly of Monaco, the Williams Martini Racing team have been the third best team of 2015, and in the past two races in Canada and Austria have seen one of their drivers step onto the podium – Valtteri Bottas in Montreal and Felipe Massa last time out at the Red Bull Ring.
Bottas was one of the stars at Silverstone in 2014, climbing through the field from a lowly grid slot caused by mixed weather conditions during qualifying to take a career best second place, and both he and Massa expect the team to be strong again this year, with both in the hunt for more podium finishes.
The Infiniti Red Bull Racing team would love to be fighting for podium finishes right now, but the pace deficit they have with the Renault power unit means both Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat are fighting just to get into the points at this stage of the season.
Both drivers faced grid penalties in Austria two weeks ago after switching to their fifth power units, and will be looking for better luck and better results than the best of tenth in Austria that Ricciardo achieved.
Currently fifth in the Constructor’s Championship are the Sahara Force India team, and they arrive at Silverstone this weekend with a b-specification VJM08 that the team hope will be a step forward in performance on its predecessor.
Thoughts of Nico Hulkenberg’s Le Mans victory are now firmly in the background, with the German seemingly revitalised following a strong outing in Austria, while team-mate Sergio Perez has picked up points in half the races so far in 2015, with both hoping for more points this weekend.
The Lotus F1 Team dropped behind Force India in the Constructor’s Championship in Austria, despite Pastor Maldonado securing his second consecutive seventh place finish. Both the Venezuelan and team-mate Romain Grosjean will be eager to continue to rack up the points at Silverstone, with the Frenchman tenth in the Driver’s Championship but only two points behind Kvyat in eighth.
The Sauber F1 Team have failed to score points in the past two rounds, and have now dropped to seventh in the standings, with neither Felipe Nasr nor Marcus Ericsson that confident of adding to their points tally at Silverstone. The team seemed to have hit a plateau with their car development, and have been left behind somewhat by the teams around them in the championship.
The all-rookie line-up at Scuderia Toro Rosso has been one of the more positive stories of 2015 so far, with both Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr showing good turns of pace this season. The Dutchman and the Spaniard are likely to struggle this weekend however with, like sister team Red Bull, the power deficit of its Renault power unit.
A team eager for a good result are McLaren-Honda, with Jenson Button’s eighth place finish in Monaco the only points finish of the year so far. Both Button and team-mate Fernando Alonso have been blighted by engine issues and grid penalties of late, and although points are unlikely, the team could do with a problem-free weekend at Silverstone.
Right at the back remains the Manor F1 Team, although for the first time in 2015, the team are bringing an update to their car. Will Stevens has been out-performed in the last two events by team-mate Roberto Merhi, but will be looking to reassume his position at the head of the Manor battle in front of his home fans this weekend.
2014 British Grand Prix Podium
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Renault||+46.495s|
2015 British Grand Prix Race Victory Odds
|Lewis Hamilton||1/2||Kimi Raikkonen||25/1|
|Nico Rosberg||7/4||Valtteri Bottas||66/1|
|Sebastian Vettel||12/1||Felipe Massa||80/1|
|All odds courtesy of Ladbrokes and are correct as of 02 July 2015. Odds may change before event. Other driver quotes available.|