As many of you probably know, the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship will resume this weekend at Silverstone, where the pinnacle of motorsport will have the inaugural Sprint Race on Saturday to set the grid for Sunday.
Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing enter the 10th race of the Formula 1 calendar with commanding leads in both the World Drivers’ and World Constructors’ Championships, but Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton will be locked in to try and strike back at Red Bull in the English driver’s home.
Verstappen is leading the championship with a 32-point gap over Hamilton, while Red Bull is enjoying a 44-point gap over Mercedes in the WCC. The Dutch driver has taken three consecutive wins from Pole Position and will be looking to extend his streak.
For the first of three times throughout the 2021 Formula 1 season, we will see a Sprint qualifying format in this week’s British Grand Prix. The weekend format will have a Free Practice session on Friday and then a qualifying session as we know it in the afternoon (Q1. Q2 and Q3).
Said qualifying will fix the grid for Saturday’s Sprint Race, which will be held after a second Free Practice session on Saturday morning. The Sprint Race will be run over 100km (17 laps at Silverstone) and there will be no mandatory pit stops.
The race order will set the starting grid for Sunday’s main Grand Prix, and the Top three drivers will earn three points, two points and one point respectively. There will not be a podium as usual after a race, though “a special post-Sprint presentation for the top three”, according to Formula1.com.
The Friday qualifying will have one change as only the soft tyres will be available for each driver. That will give freedom to every team for Sunday’s race, as drivers will be allowed to start with any desired tyre and not force the Top 10 to start on the compound worn during a conventional Q2 session.
What to expect from Sunday’s race?
Mercedes has been dominant at Silverstone even before the Hybrid Era started. However, the German team was beaten in the second of two races held at Silverstone last year, while Hamilton won the first race on three wheels after both Mercedes’ cars suffered tyre failures.
Verstappen won the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix as the Red Bull was better on the tyres during the two weekends of 2020 at Silverstone, and he might be the favorite to win at Silverstone this year. Still, Mercedes is expected to bring upgrades to the W12 car for this weekend and the squad might strike back to the Austrian outfit.
Behind Red Bull and Mercedes, McLaren should be highly competitive in the fast zones of the British circuit, with Lando Norris, currently in P4 in the WDC and coming off his third podium of the year, should be able to take advantage of McLaren’s form.
Norris has finished in the Top 5 in eight of the nine races celebrated in 2021 so far and he is the main reason behind McLaren holding a healthy lead over Ferrari for P3 in the World Constructors’ Championship.
Behind McLaren and Ferrari, the good battle between AlphaTauri (Pierre Gasly and Yiku Tsunoda), Aston Martin (Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll) and Alpine (Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon) continues, with AT still in P5 in the WCC with 48 points. Aston Martin has 44 points, while Alpine is seventh in the WCC with 32 points. Alpine has enjoyed four consecutive races in the point from Fernando Alonso, but Ocon has the same number of GPs without scoring and he needs to pick it up soon.
Alfa Romeo, with Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi, remains eighth in the WCC with two points scored. Williams (George Russell and Nicholas Latifi) and Haas (Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin) are in the back end of the standings, with Williams having a slight advantage after George Russell finished 11th in the Austrian Grand Prix, missing on scoring points in the final laps of the race..
2021 British GP Facts & Figures
Sunday’s race will be the 72nd British Grand Prix since the creation of the World Championship of Drivers. The race is one of the most iconic in the Formula 1 world and has been part of each championship since 1950.
British drivers lead the table in terms of the World Champions by country, with 10 racers winning 20 titles for the UK. With multiple World Champions being British, such as Hamilton, Jackie Stewart or Jim Clark it is therefore not a surprise to see Hamilton and Clark as the most successful competitors in the British Grand Prix.
Hamilton won his home Grand Prix a record seven times, while Clark did it five times. Nigel Mansell (4), Stirling Moss (2), Jackie Stewart (2) and David Coulthard are the other British drivers to win at home multiple times.
Before the inception of the World Championship, the British Grand Prix was held four times. The first two British Grand Prix occurred in 1926 under the regulations of the AIACR World Manufacturers’ Championship. French drivers Robert Sénéchal and Louis Wagner won the first race after a 463-kilometre-long event at Brooklands, while Robert Benoist won in 1927 after taking 125 laps at the same 4.21-kilometre circuit of Brooklands.
The other two non-championship British Grands Prix were held in 1948 and 1949 at Silverstone, both won by Maserati drivers Luigi Villoresi and Emmanuel de Graffenried.
The British Grand Prix has been held at Brooklands, Silverstone, Aintree and Brands Hatch with only the last three circuits hosting World Championship races.
Amongst drivers, Hamilton is the most successful with seven victories and Ferrari leads McLaren in the teams’ standings, having won 16 races to the British team’s 14.
Legendary teams Ferrari and Williams both achieved their first-ever F1 win in a British GP event. Ferrari won in 1951 with José Froilán González and Williams did it with Clay Regazzoni in 1979.
Also, Williams’ achieved their 100th Grand Prix win in the 1997 British Grand Prix, with victory for Jacques Villeneuve.
Of course, the British Grand Prix has given us amazing memories. From Giuseppe Farina’s win in the first-ever Grand Prix to the battle between the Silver Arrows of Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss in 1955. From Nigel Mansell beating Nelson Piquet in 1987 after a beautiful dummy heading into Stowe to Michael Schumacher winning in 1998 by serving a Drive-through penalty in the final lap or a man entering the track in 2003 with the cars flying by his side at unbelievable speeds.
More recently, we saw Hamilton’s amazing victory in the wet 2008 race with more than a minute over the second-placed car and lapping every car which finished outside the podium. Also, in 2014 there was a fantastic battle between Fernando Alonso and his Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull.
Last year, the race was quite normal until the last few laps, as the Mercedes of Hamilton and Bottas suffered tyre failures while running 1-2. Hamilton managed to win the race with three wheels on his car as Max Verstappen was desperately trying to catch him right at the flag.
Silverstone received the first-ever Formula 1 race on 13 May 1950 and will be hosting its 55th British Grand Prix on Sunday.
Since 1987, Silverstone has been the home of the British Grand Prix every year.
The track’s nature has always been the same: a power track with sweeping corners which demand a lot of bravery from the drivers. Though the layout has been changed quite significantly since the first time this former World War II Royal Airforce Station received a Grand Prix, its essence remains.
The current layout, which has not had significant tweaks since 2011, is 5.891 km long and is constructed by 18 corners, with around 10 of those turns being fast-speed corners.
The circuit’s current records were established last year. Hamilton’s Pole lap for the 2020 British GP is the current outright record (1:24.303 min) and Verstappen’s Fastest Lap during the 2020 British GP of 1:27.097 min is the official Fastest Lap.
The track was really unchanged from 1948 to 1990, with the exception of some tweaks to prevent some high speeds that were becoming a little too dangerous for the drivers. Still, the track is one of the most historic ones in the Grand Prix world and it maintains its most iconic sections.
2021 British Grand Prix – Tyres
The dry tyres for the 2021 Styrian Grand Prix will be the C1 as P Zero White hard, C2 as P Zero Yellow Medium, and C3 as P Zero Red soft.
Pirelli explained its choice with a press release: “Silverstone is renowned as a high-speed, high-energy circuit. The famous Maggots and Becketts corners in particular impose big forces on the tyres, caused by lateral acceleration peak in excess of 5g as the drivers sweep through the complex without lifting. Last year’s British Grand Prix was won with a one-stop medium-hard strategy: the same tactic selected by all three podium finishers (although Max Verstappen, in second, made a late stop for soft tyres and claimed the extra point for fastest lap).”
Moreover, Pirelli gave information about the nex rear tyres that were tested at Austria.
“The new rear construction that was tested during free practice in Austria will make its race debut in Silverstone. These rear tyres, with a more robust structure but no extra weight and incorporating some of the elements already planned for next year’s 18-inch tyres, will be used from now until the end of the season.”
The minimum starting pressures for the tyres will be 25.0 PSI (front) and 23.0 PSI (rear).
Pirelli will give each driver an allocation of six sets of soft tyres, four sets of medium tyres, and two sets of hard tyres.
2021 British Grand Prix Weather Forecast
Friday, July 16th – FP1 & Qualifying
Conditions: Sunshine and nice
Max. temperature: 26°C
Chance of rain: 5%
Saturday, July 17th – FP2 & Sprint Qualifying
Conditions: Nice with plenty of sunshine
Max. temperature: 26°C
Chance of rain: 1%
Sunday, July 18th – Race
Conditions: Mostly sunny and very warm
Max. temperature: 28°C
Chance of rain: 2%
Who will be on the 2021 British Grand Prix Podium?
Well, this race seems to be one that could tell a lot of things about the future of the World Championship fight between Red Bull and Mercedes. If the reigning champions can hit back at the Austrian team at Silverstone and the upgrades prove to be a benefit for the German car, then the championship fight might get very hot for the upcoming races.
However, if Red Bull manages to maintain its advantage in car performance and on points, Mercedes and Hamilton will definitely have a tall task for the remainder of the season.
Of course, Hamilton is an easy choice among the favourites for this weekend, as he has been dominant at his home track ever since he made his debut in 2007 with Pole Position. Hamilton has won at Silverstone seven times in his career, once with McLaren in 2008 and six times with Mercedes (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020).
Regardless, if Red Bull continues its roll and the car remains as the machine to beat throughout the entire weekend, Max Verstappen has big chances to make it four wins in a row, after his victories at France, Styria and Austria.
Apart from the Top 2 drivers in the World Drivers’ Championship, their respective teammates, Sergio Pérez and Valtteri Bottas, should be competitive at Silverstone. Meanwhile, McLaren’s Lando Norris has been repeatedly among the stars of the weekends so far, and he should not be counted out by any means.
Here we go. The top three for the 2021 British Grand Prix will be 1. Lewis Hamilton, 2. Max Verstappen, 3. Lando Norris.
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