F1 heads to Britain and the historic Silverstone circuit for this weekend’s Formula 1 2018 Rolex British Grand Prix. Home of the very first round of what was the fledgling Formula One World Championship in 1950, it’ll be a race for Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas and hometown hero Lewis Hamilton to look at overcoming their first double retirement by their so far reliable cars.
After the highs and lows of Austria for Red Bull, with Max Verstappen’s win and Daniel Ricciardo’s mechanical failure, Verstappen feels that although in with a chance, the current perceived power deficit is something of concern for the young Dutchman. “I’m not expecting us to be, like, super-competitive but we’ll there. More or less. So, let’s see what’s going to happen during the race.”
Ferrari will come in on a high, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen both collecting top ten finishes, and Vettel well and truly in the title hunt. Of the current car, after seeing the 2017 championship slip away late in the season, Vettel says: ““I have the feeling we can keep developing the car. The weakness at the end of last season was that the car wasn’t strong enough to fight Mercedes. That’s where we lost the points.”
The surprise package from the Red Bull Ring was Haas. Romain Grosjean qualified sixth in Austria and Kevin Magnussen puts it down to hiring a former Bridgestone tire engineer. Hiroshi Tomitsuka was brought on board to manage the Haas tire strategy and it’s paid off so far. Grosjean says of the engineer:”So Tommy-san can look at the tire and tell us what we should do on a qualifying outlap, which target temperature where we should be aiming for.”
There’s no doubt at all that this weekend’s race is crucial for the top three drivers. Vettel leads Hamilton by a solitary point, and has his team mate Raikkonen in third after his second placed finish in Austria but close to two full race wins down.
The still to decide which way he’ll jump in 2019 Daniel Ricciardo will have had strong words behind the scenes with the Red Bull engineers and although leading his team mate the gap closed thanks to Verstappen’s win last weekend.
Hamilton will be looking to etch his name in history as well. If he wins, it’ll be the sixth time at Silverstone and he’ll surpass the record held by the legendary Jim Clark and Alain Prost. Should he achieve pole it’ll be his fiftieth and just eight short of a record for poles with one team, currently held by Michael Schumacher and Ferrari.
Tire choice will be crucial for all teams as the forecast is expected to be with no rain and highs in the region of 26 and 27 degrees Celcius. This means the choice of Hard, Medium, and Soft compounds will be a tricky balance through Qualifying and the race itself, due for a 13:10UTC or 14:10 local time start on Sunday, July 8.