Lewis Hamilton needs victory in front of his home fans at this weekend’s British Grand Prix to close the gap on teammate Nico Rosberg (pictured) at the head of the F1 Drivers’ Championship (Race: Sunday, 1pm BST, BBC & Sky Sports F1).
Rosberg was the victor in Austria two weeks ago, leading home Hamilton in a Mercedes one-two ahead of the Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa. The win extended his championship lead over Hamilton to 29 points after eight races of the 19-race season.
Fernando Alonso finished fifth for Ferrari, five places ahead of his under-performing teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Force India again ran well, with both Sergio Perez (sixth) and Nico Hulkenberg (ninth) finishing in the points. McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen scored for the third consecutive race, coming home seventh.
Reigning four-time champion Sebastian Vettel endured another difficult weekend, qualifying outside the top 10 and retiring on lap 34 following drive problems and damage to his front wing. His teammate Daniel Ricciardo finished eighth in a disappointing home race for the Red Bull team. Their car should be better suited to this weekend’s event.
Silverstone has staged the British Grand Prix continuously since 1987, having first hosted in 1948 and alternated with Aintree and then Brands Hatch between 1955 and 1986. It is a medium-to-high downforce circuit with a number of sweeping high-speed corners that provide a strong test of aerodynamic performance and stability.
Current weather forecasts suggest that a couple of downpours are to be expected this weekend, but not at times that would affect qualifying or the race. Pirelli have chosen their hard and medium compound tyres. It is only the third time this year the hard compound has been used. Most cars are likely to two-stop.
It is still too early in the season to say that this weekend’s event is a case of now or never for Hamilton, but he certainly needs a strong performance to regain some momentum following three consecutive races in which he has been outscored by Rosberg.
Hamilton has not always enjoyed his home Grand Prix. He has recorded just one victory and two pole positions in eight previous events at the circuit, but he had the upper hand on Rosberg last year despite the German driver eventually coming away with victory. Hamilton took pole by over four-tenths of a second and led before a tyre failure saw him drop back.
He can be fancied to reassert himself as a championship challenger with a pole position and race win double this weekend.
Lotus have endured a difficult few races since their impressive qualifying performance in Barcelona in mid-May. They have failed to qualify higher than 13th at any of the last three Grand Prix at circuits that have highlighted their car’s primary deficiencies.
They can, however, be expected to run well this weekend. Silverstone requires good high-speed corner performance, which is Lotus’ primary strength. It is a broadly similar circuit to Barcelona, where Romain Grosjean qualified fifth and Pastor Maldonado topped the timesheets in the post-race test.
Grosjean has out-qualified Maldonado in seven of the eight races so far this year. He also has a solid record at Silverstone, having qualified in the top 10 in each of his previous two visits to the circuit. He has twice reached the final session of qualifying this season and should be backed to do so again on Saturday.
Red Bull have won three of the last five British Grand Prix – finishing second in the remaining two – and will be confident of a good performance at a circuit that should be well-suited to their car. They raced strongly in Barcelona, finishing third and fourth, and they should be there or thereabouts in the podium running this weekend.
Ricciardo has enjoyed an excellent first season at Red Bull after making the step up from their sister-team Toro Rosso. He has finished ahead of Vettel in all but one of the eight races this year, although it must be said that Vettel has been forced to retire on three occasions.
Vettel was regularly outperformed at Silverstone by his former teammate Mark Webber and may have to take a backseat to another Australian this weekend. Ricciardo ran well at Silverstone last year, qualifying fifth and finishing eighth. He is in good form and is likely to be the best of the non-Mercedes drivers on Sunday.
Raikkonen has struggled since returning to Ferrari at the start of the season, finishing behind his teammate Alonso in all eight races. His main problem is that he has been unable to get to grips with the team’s braking system, but that should not be a huge factor this weekend as Silverstone is a circuit that requires very little heavy braking.
The Finn has a good previous record at the British Grand Prix, having won the race in 2007, finished on the podium on four other occasions and never finished lower than eighth (barring one retirement, in 2002). Ferrari were quite strong in Barcelona and should be sufficiently quick this weekend to give Raikkonen an opportunity to finish in the top six.
F1 British Grand Prix Betting Tips Verdict
- Bet on Lewis Hamilton to be the fastest qualifier and race winner @ 5/4 with SkyBet.
- Back on Romain Grosjean to reach qualifying session three @ 5/2 with Ladbrokes.
- Bet on Daniel Ricciardo to win the race on the ‘without Mercedes’ market @ 7/2 with Stan James.
- Back Kimi Raikkonen to finish in the top six @ 5/2 with BetVictor.