British Grand Prix | Sunday 05 July | Silverstone | 14:00
Nico Rosberg’s triumph at the Red Bull Ring has seen the battle for the Drivers’ Championship reignited. The field now heads off to the picturesque county of Silverstone which is an hour and a half drive away from London. Will home ground advantage see Lewis Hamilton return to winning ways? Or will his teammate claim back-to-back victories for the first time this year and in the process ensure we go into mid-season testing with the race for the championship dangling on a knife edge?
The Rosberg renaissance continued in Austria, with the German claiming his third race win of the season at the Red Bull Ring. Rosberg’s Mercedes compatriot Lewis Hamilton, who had started on pole, had to settle for second place after an uncharacteristically poor take off from the starting grid saw him trail Rosberg’s car from start to finish. The podium was rounded out by Felipe Massa who along with Williams colleague Valtteri Bottas, is really starting to find some form. Massa’s third place and Bottas’ fifth saw Williams collect another respectable points haul and close the gap on Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship. Sandwiched between the aforementioned Williams duo was Sebastian Vettel who seems to have gone off the boil in recent weeks, his fourth place finish was the only glimmer of sunlight on a dark day for Ferrari who had lost Kimi Raikkonen during the first lap of the Grand Prix. Nico Hulkenberg was to benefit from Raikonnen’s misfortune with the Force India man claiming sixth place; he was followed across the line by Pastor Maldonado who just missed out on a coveted top six spot. Toro Rosso once again showed just how far they’ve come with young gun Max Verstappen finishing in eighth, two spots ahead of the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, who rounded off the top ten. Sergio Perez was wedged between the baby Red Bull and the senior car in ninth spot.
Silverstone is one of Formula One’s iconic tracks. Built on a Royal Air Force base at the conclusion of World War II, the circuit has been a staple on the modern Formula One calendar since 1987. The total race length for Sunday will be 306.332km with each of the 52 laps containing eighteen turns. The corners that will provide the biggest challenge to drivers will be the amalgamation of Maggots, Becketts and Chappel; this left-right-left-right-left combination will push the cars’ dexterity to their limits. The track’s two DRS zones are located at the Wellington straight and the pit straight. In terms of external factors, Pirelli have issued the white-walled mediums and orange hards due to the fast flowing nature of the track. The weather looks promising at the moment with the only major concern being the slight chance of rain which is predicted for the final practice stint and the early rounds of qualifying on Saturday. Last year’s race saw a high number of retirements which included the big names of Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa. Last year’s podium was made up of Lewis Hamilton - who came from sixth on the grid to win the race - Valtteri Bottas, who had started fourteenth on the grid and Daniel Ricciardo, who managed to round out the podium despite starting eighth on the grid.
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To Win Outright
Lewis Hamilton 5/10
Nico Rosberg 7/4
Sebastian Vettel 10/1
Kimi Raikkonen 25/1
Valtteri Bottas 66/1
Felipe Massa 80/1
Romain Grosjean 250/1
Pastor Maldonado 300/1
Nico Rosberg - To Win Outright (7/4)
Despite a poor recent history at the British Grand Prix I’m backing Rosberg to produce the goods this year. He is in fine form going into Silverstone having claimed victory last month in Monaco and a fortnight ago in Austria. He will want continue to apply the pressure on his main title rival who must be feeling a bit hot under the collar already. Although it is a risky shout especially when you consider Hamilton is on home turf, Rosberg at 7/4 offers great value for a man in form.
Lewis Hamilton - Fastest Lap & Fastest Qualifier (11/10 & 5/10)
This may be a trickier than expected race for Hamilton. It’s his home Grand Prix, he’s the outright favourite by some distance and he’s going to be racing in front of an expectant crowd that thinks victory will be a cakewalk for the Brit. The pressure that comes with such expectations must be playing on his mind somewhat and for that reason I feel he may struggle to ensure things go to script at Silverstone. I do fancy Lewis to make it seven from eight pole starts this year as well as claiming another fastest lap at the old RAF Base; however I have a sneaky suspicion that despite him probably having the advantage off the grid he may have to settle for a second successive runners-up spot on the podium.
Valtteri Bottas - Podium Finish (9/2)
Like Mercedes man Nico Rosberg and teammate Felipe Massa, Valtteri Bottas has undergone a racing renaissance in recent weeks. A poor start to the season saw the Williams boys struggle to pick up points. This has all changed in recent races however. Bottas managed a fifth-place finish last time out in Austria and will look to up the ante and get himself on the podium as he did in last year’s British Grand Prix. The Finn started from fourteenth on the grid at Silverstone last year but managed to scythe his way through the pack and found himself in second spot at the conclusion of the race. At 9/2 for a podium finish I’ll definitely be laying a stake on this one .
Max Verstappen - Top 6 Finish (6/1)
This will be young Verstappen’s first race behind the wheel of a Formula One car at Silverstone. The track should cater to his ballsy style and eye for the seemingly undetectable overtaking opportunity. The young gun will have to produce his best in Britain if he is to out-do the faster Ferraris of Raikkonen and Vettel as well as the Williams duo of Massa and Bottas. His eighth-place finish in Austria will have his confidence levels up and if he can keep himself within striking distance of the Top 6 for the majority of the race a late incident to one of the aforementioned teams and drivers may see the Dutchman claim another milestone in the form of his first Top 6 finish.
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