NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 05: Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Great Britain during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 5, 2018 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)

Round ten of the 2018 Formula 1 season will take place at the historic Silverstone circuit with the 69th running of the British Grand Prix this weekend. The inaugural race of the first ever F1 season in 1950 was staged at this windy circuit built on an abandoned World War II airfield in the county of Northamptonshire in England.

British GP – History, Stats, Circuit Guide

The History

The British Grand Prix along with the Italian Grand Prix has the distinction of being the longest continuously staged Grand Prix races. The Silverstone circuit has at various times alternated with the Aintree circuit (1955 to 1962) and the Brands Hatch circuit (1963 to 1986) in staging this F1 race. From 1987 onwards, the Silverstone circuit has become the permanent venue of the British Grand Prix and will host the 52nd running of the British GP there.

Six of the ten F1 teams are based in Britain and consider this almost like a home GP. McLaren (Woking) and Williams (Grove) are the quintessential British teams with a great history in F1 behind them. Both these teams are currently in the doldrums and at the back of the grid.

The other F1 teams based here are Red Bull Racing at Milton Keynes, Force India at Silverstone, Renault at Enstone, and Mercedes at Brackley. Formula 1 racing has a rich history in Britain with probably the widest and most passionate fan base in the world. Rain and traffic chaos is never far away from a race at Silverstone. But the fans still turn up in huge numbers to support this very popular Grand Prix.

The Teams and Drivers

The Ferrari team has won the British GP 15 times, McLaren 14 times and the Williams team is in third place with 10 wins. Mercedes has six wins and has won the last five years (2013-2017).

The British Grand Prix has witnessed many milestones and significant historic moments in its 69-year old history. Italian Giuseppe Nino” Farina won the inaugural race for Alfa Romeo. In the 1951 British GP, the Argentine Jose Froilan Gonzalez scored the first-ever win for Ferrari in an F1 race.

Lewis Hamilton, Alain Prost, and Jim Clark have the most wins at a British GP with five. Hamilton and ‘The Professor’ have scored all their wins at Silverstone. Nigel Mansell has four wins here. The British GP has seen British drivers winning 25 times in all. Hamilton has four straight wins since 2014. Fernando Alonso (2006, 2011), Sebastian Vettel (2009) and Kimi Raikkonen (2007) are the other winners on the current grid.

The Circuit

The 5.891 kilometer track with 18 corners (14 high-speed and 4 slow-speed corners) and six straights is a fast-flowing and technically challenging track with some of the most iconic high speed corners in F1. The track has one of the highest average speeds of an F1 track along with Spa and Monza at 235 km/h. The circuit which demands a medium downforce setup is a high fuel consumption track with 70% of the track taken at full throttle and low brake wear. Good aerodynamic setup is needed in the highly windy conditions.

The circuit has undergone many changes over the years, especially to improve safety with so many fast corners. The most recent change in 2010 saw the introduction of the new Arena layout, a fast corner Abbey replacing the iconic Bridge corner and the slowest corner – the Loop following the tight right-hand corner at Village. In 2011 the new ‘wing’ pit complex was built between Club and Abbey corners and the start-finish line was moved there.

Sectors and Corners

Sector 1 (Turn 1 to Turn 5) includes the Abbey corner (T1) taken flat out at over 290 km/h into the Farm curve (T2) leading to the tight right-hand corner at the Village (T3) leading to the very slow tight left-hand corner at Loop (T4) leading to Aintree (T5) and down the Wellington Straight.

Sector 2 (Turn 6 to Turn 14) starts with Brooklands (T6) and the tight right-hander at Luffield corner (T7) leading to Woodcote (T8) and the National pit straight. This leads into three of the fastest corners on an F1 track with the Copse, Maggots and Becketts complex taken at over 290 km/h leading to the last corner of the sector Chapel (T14).

Sector 3 (Turn 15 to Turn 18) starts with the superfast Hangar Straight leading to the right-hander at Stowe (T15) leading to another straight and the final two corners at Vale and Club leading to the start-finish line.

DRS Zones

A new third DRS zone has been added this year to aid in overtakes. The third DRS zone is on the start-finish straight after Turn 18. The two old DRS zones starts with the first detection point before Turn 3 (Village) and the activation point after Turn 5 (Aintree) on the Wellington Straight. The second zone’s detection point is at Turn 11 and the activation point will be after Turn 14 (Chapel) on the Hangar Straight.

Tyre Strategies

Pirelli tyre choices for this race are the ice blue-striped hard tyre, white-striped medium tyres, and the yellow-striped soft tyres. The hard tyres make their debut for the first time in the 2018 season. The drivers have chosen seven or more sets of the soft tyres of the thirteen sets allocated to them.

The race is likely to be a one-stop race with the durability of the tyres. With mixed weather conditions always a possibility at Silverstone, the intermediate and wet tyres could also come into play. But the forecast is for three dry and windy days this weekend.

Current Form

Ferrari (247 pts) has taken the lead in the constructors’ championship by 10 points from arch-rival Mercedes (237 pts). Red Bull Racing (189 pts) is in a strong third position with Max Verstappen winning the Austrian GP.

Renault (62 pts) leads the midfield teams in fourth position. Haas F1 (49 pts) gained two places with their strong performance in Austria and is now fifth. McLaren (44 pts) and Force India (42 pts) are now sixth and seventh respectively.

Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull have three wins each this season. The form has swung from track to track between these teams, with Red Bull winning at the last race. Mercedes suffered a double DNF and conceded the lead to Ferrari in Austria.

The Silver Arrows has won five races in a row at Silverstone. But they will be challenged closely by the in-form Ferrari team. The harder compound tyres and the modified tyres with 0.4mm shorter tread will help the Mercedes team.

Drivers’ Championship

Vettel (146 pts) leads the title race by 1 point from Hamilton (145 pts). The reigning world champion suffered a DNF in Austria to end his record-setting 33 consecutive point scoring finishes. Hamilton will be looking for win number six at Silverstone to get his title defense back on track.

Kimi Raikkonen (101 pts) is in third position with strong podium finishes in the last two races. Daniel Ricciardo (96 pts) is in fourth position now. Max Verstappen (93 pts) with three podium finishes in the last three races is now fifth and rounds out the top 5 positions in the drivers’ championship.

The pendulum has swung between the top 2 contenders in the drivers’ championship from track to track. The British GP is Hamilton’s home race and one of his favorite tracks. But the gremlins in the Mercedes cars in Austria will have the team and drivers on edge here.

Will Vettel be able to challenge Hamilton on his home turf? Who will lead the drivers’ championship on Sunday evening? An exciting race is in prospect at this classic F1 circuit.

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