Formula 1

PREVIEW: 2021 British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit

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Credit: LAT Images

After two long years, fans will finally be able to return to Silverstone for the sell-out British Grand Prix

We may have got to see some action at Silverstone in the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, but nothing is quite like being there at the circuit, watching the twenty drivers battle on track.

Since fans were last allowed at the spectacle, the start finish straight has been renamed the Hamilton Straight in honour of Lewis Hamilton and his achievements in F1. 

What happened at the Austrian Grand Prix?

Max Verstappen claimed Red Bull Racing’s fourth win in a row when he strolled to the finish line at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Dutch driver’s fans were out in force, and he made sure he put on a show for them. He completed a Formula 1 hat-trick after gaining pole, leading every lap and winning. The real battle on the gird was behind him.

Lando Norris started in second for the first time in his career and done a stellar job at keeping the drivers behind him at bay. However, he caused an incident with Sergio Pérez while defending and was subsequently gave a five-second time penalty. He was overtaken by Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas and was now in fourth.

Later in the race, both Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers complained of tyre issues, with Hamilton coming off the worst. Bottas was able to overtake Hamilton for second and Norris was also able to get by for third, gaining his second podium of the year.

What happened at Silverstone in 2020?

Two events were held at Silverstone in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The first one, titled the British Grand Prix, was one is spectacular fashion by Hamilton. 

He led the race from pole but was forced to finish the race with just three tyres. With just a handful of laps to go, various drivers of the grid started to complain of tyre issues. Valtteri Bottas’s tyre delaminated with just three laps to go and had to pit from second place, promoting Verstappen to second. And dropping Bottas to twelfth.

Carlos Sainz Jr. also had a tyre failure with two laps to go when he was running in fourth place. He pitted and completed the race in fourteenth. 

Hamilton became the third driver to have an issue with his front-left tyre at Turn 8 on the final lap. He was currently running thirty seconds ahead of Verstappen, who had pitted as a precautionary. Hamilton was able to bring his car home and win the race with just the three tyres. 

Verstappen couldn’t catch him and finished six seconds behind in second with Charles Leclerc finishing the podium places in third. 

The second event, titled the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, was held one week later.

The race was won by Verstappen, the first non-Mercedes winner of 2020. Bottas had started on pole with Hamilton behind him in second, but the pair had tyre degradation issues and Verstappen was able to take advantage of that to steal a win. 

Hamilton and Bottas were still able to complete the podium in second and third respectively. Despite the tyres being one step softer than the previous event, there were no tyre failures. 

The Circuit

The main event will see drivers race around the 5.891km circuit for 52 laps meaning a total race distance of 306.198km.

Track record was set in 2020 by Verstappen at a time of 1:27.097. 

Drivers will also do a mini 100km sprint race to set up the grid for Sunday’s race. The drivers will race for a total of 17 laps.

Credit: Pirelli Media

Sectors, Corners and DRS Zones

Sector 1 starts on the Hamilton Straight and takes drivers through the first corner of Abbey, Farm Curve, Village, The Loop and Aintree.

Sector 2 begins on the Wellington Straight, taking the drivers through Brooklands, the infamous Luffield and Woodcote. One of the best places to see the action in Sector 2 is Turns 10 to 13, also known as Maggotts and Becketts. Rounding off the Sector is Chapel.

The third and final sector consists of just four corners, Stowe, Vale at Turn’s 16 and 17, and Club before sending it down the start finish straight.

There are two DRS Zones on the track. One is at Village, ready for DRS along the Wellington Straight. The second is at the beginning of Maggotts, with DRS coming into effect on the Hanger Straight. 

Tyre Strategy

Pirelli have chosen the hardest compounds for the race weekend in Great Britain, due to the demands the circuit gives. C1 will be the white striped hards, C2 the yellow striped mediums and C3 the red striped softs. 

There will be twelve sets of tyres in total, instead of the usual thirteen. Two sets of hards, four sets of mediums and six sets of softs. 

Drivers will be able to start Saturday’s sprint race with whichever set of tyres they desire. Also, teams will be able to have a free choice of what tyres they start Sunday’s main event on, straying away from the rule that all Q3 entries must start on the tyre they set their fastest Q2 time on. 

What should we look out for this year?

Verstappen is now leading the Drivers’ Championship by 32 points over Hamilton. It seems the tide has change in Formula 1 and its now Verstappen and Red Bull Racing as the ones to beat.

Being his home race, Hamilton will surely want to put on a show, especially in front of a sell-out crowd. Norris and George Russell will also be drivers to keep an eye on in front of their home fans. 

McLaren F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari have been in a tight battle for third in the Constructors’ Championship and its currently McLaren the ones in the driver’s seat. The four drivers from the teams put on a good show at the Austrian Grand Prix so expect the form to continue. 

In the battle of ‘best of the rest’, the three ‘A’s’ of Scuderia AlphaTauri HondaAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team and Alpine F1 Team all sit close together in fifth through to seventh respectively. All three teams have had mixed races recently and will want to battle up top at Silverstone. 

Williams Racing and Uralkali Haas F1 Team are still yet to score points, but Williams is inching closer with the form Russell has been on. 

What’s the schedule?

Friday 16 July

14:30 BST / 14:30 Local Time – Free Practice 1
18:00 BST / 18:00 Local Time – Qualifying

Saturday 17 July

12:00 BST / 12:00 Local Time – Free Practice 2
16:30 BST / 16:30 Local Time – Sprint Race

Sunday 18 July

15:00 BST / 15:00 Local Time – Race

How can I keep up with the action?

Follow all the action at the Checkered Flag with our extensive coverage, quotes and analysis of every session of the 2021 British Grand Prix. You can watch all the coverage live on Sky F1 and Channel 4.

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