British GP: Can the Silver Arrows Shine at Silverstone?

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Formula 1 returns to the venue of the first ever world championship F1 Grand Prix for Round 10 of the 2022 Season.

72 years have passed since Nino Farina won in Northamptonshire, but the task is still the same, master the fast and flowing corners of Abbey, Copse, Maggotts, Becketts and Stowe to become a winner of the British Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton has enjoyed a feast of success in recent years, winning all but one British Grand Prix in the turbo-hybrid era, with only Sebastian Vettel’s 2018 win for Ferrari interrupting that incredible run.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has also won at Silverstone in that same period, but the circuit was hosting the “F1 70th Anniversary” Grand Prix in the 2020 season.

Verstappen will enter the weekend as favourite and in a supreme vein of form.

The Dutchman held off former Toro Rosso teammate Carlos Sainz, now with Ferrari, to clinch victory number six of 2022 in Canada last time out.

Closest rival Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate, failed to finish as early season leader Charles Leclerc battled back from a power-unit penalty to finish fifth.

Mercedes drivers to star on home soil?

Ferrari have wobbled in recent races, which has allowed Red Bull to wriggle away at a rapid speed in both championships, the Milton Keynes based team now 76-points clear of their Italian rivals.

Perhaps, then, Red Bull’s biggest threat could come from Mercedes, with their British duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell intent on delivering in front of the home support.

Brackley’s finest are bringing upgrades with them to a circuit where they have won eight of the last 10 races, stretching back to Nico Rosberg’s victory in 2013.

Mercedes technical chief Mike Elliot said: “We will be bringing new bits to Silverstone, we will be trying to push the car forward, trying to get some pace from the car we’ve got, or from the package we’ve got, as well as the new bits we are going to add to it.”

Mercedes have struggled to get their design on the W13 to work as hoped, but they have chipped away and made progress, despite porpoising and bouncing issues.

Team Principal Toto Wolff said Mercedes need to “manage our own expectations and really grind away,” if they wanted to add another victory at Silverstone.

Ferrari have had issues of their own in the last few races, with Charles Leclerc twice suffering power-unit issues that caused retirements when leading, while Carlos Sainz has been searching for form.

Silverstone is a circuit which requires a lot of speed, which the F1-75 has lacked in comparison to the Red Bull, but the cornering ability of the scarlet car has been evident all season.

In the fast and flowing sector one in Miami, Ferrari were rapid. In Spain, the Ferrari was the car to have.

But it’s not just fast corners where the Ferrari car has done well, low-speed corners have been a strength of it too, as shown in Baku’s middle sector.

Silverstone has a blend of both and the Ferrari pair will be itching to put themselves on top of the podium and back in the title hunt.

Red Bull Still Top Bet For Victory

All of that said, though, Red Bull are rightly the favourites to win the British Grand Prix this year.

Team boss Christian Horner has spoken of “putting right” the events of 2021, where Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton infamously collided at Copse corner on the opening lap of the race.

Hamilton went on to win and Verstappen was out after a heavy impact with the wall, which left Horner furious.

Red Bull and Verstappen still managed to clinch the championship last year and are currently on something of a roll, winning all of the last six races with their drivers.

They aim to make it seven in a row, something last achieved in 2020 by arch-rivals Mercedes, the team will have confidence that their concept has been effective at all tracks.

Although championship leader Max Verstappen has said that it is unlikely to be “smooth sailing”, his RB18 has what appears to be the ace in hand with it’s fantastic straight-line speed.

24-year-old Verstappen will be comfortable if there are rivals ahead as he trusts his team and machine to give him the tools to deliver a first British Grand Prix victory.

Midfield Mayhem

The fight between McLaren, Alpine and Alfa Romeo for midfield supremacy as ebbed and flowed with each race, with all three having a moment where they could claim the title of “best of the rest” behind the top three.

McLaren, at their home race, will be hoping the MCL36 can deliver on a circuit where the team have not had a podium since 2010, which is quite the barren run for such a famous team in the sport.

The team from Woking, Surrey have halted development of this year’s package, citing the budget cap as a restriction.

Could this open the door for Alpine and Alfa Romeo to steal a march on their British rivals?

Esteban Ocon of Alpine and Alfa’s “Flying Finn” Valtteri Bottas have scored regular points, aiding their team’s efforts admirably, but the trump card might lay in Alpine’s hands in the form of Fernando Alonso.

McLaren can be hit and miss this season and 40-year-old Alonso does not ever need a second invitation to pounce on an opportunity, as he showed with his stunning qualifying performance in Canada, getting his Alpine onto the front row.

And while Alonso doesn’t have as many points as his season’s performances could have yielded, the Spaniard is still cunning and ferociously fast, as well as very handy around Silverstone, with two previous victories in 2006 and 2011.

The midfield battle is not limited to just these three teams however, as Aston Martin have been improving with their revised, Red Bull style aero design, and will be hoping for a good result at the track just yards from the team’s factory.

AlphaTauri, who’s drivers Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda are ready for a difficult weekend in Britain, will also be aiming to snatch a couple of points on Sunday.

Haas and Williams, who both seem to be sliding back down the order, don’t want to be forgotten either.

Haas’ driver Kevin Magnussen has scored all the team’s points in his return season, and but for contact with Hamilton’s Mercedes in Spain and Canada, may well have added to his 15-points.

Williams are bringing updates too, rumour to be worth around one second in performance.

As always in F1’s midfield, hold on to your hats!

British Grand Prix Session Times

Session Local (BST) European (CEST)
Free Practice 1 13:00 – 14:00 14:00 – 15:00
Free Practice 2 16:00 – 17:00 17:00 – 18:00
Free Practice 3 12:00 – 13:00 13:00 – 14:00
Qualifying 15:00 – 16:00 16:00 – 17:00
British Grand Prix 15:00 – 17:00 16:00 – 18:00

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