PRIXVIEW – British & Anniversary Grands Prix

Prixview Testing & Race Reports

The second doubleheader of the season sees Formula One come home to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. Seventy years since the first championship Grand Prix was held the former RAF Base has become the home of F1 and the British Grand Prix is one of only two races which has been on the calendar in every season since 1950.

The circuit is still largely based on a mixture of runways and perimeter roads which creates long straights and flowing corners, all of which are taken at high speed. The current layout of the circuit was introduced in 2010, which sees drivers turn off from the old circuit at Abbey before re-joining at Brooklands.

This created Village, The Loop and Aintree corners and the long Wellington Straight all designed to increase overtaking into the old circuit. Silverstone’s history means that it is a high speed and creates great overtaking opportunities around one of the longest circuits of the season.

The height of the British summer is no guarantee of good weather, as the location of Silverstone was designed for flying during WWII. The circuit still has traces of it Hanger Straight, the runways are no longer used as part of the circuit.

According to folk law the first race at Silverstone in 1947, Maurice Geoghegan ran over a sheep that had wandered onto the airfield. The sheep was killed and the car written off, and in the aftermath of this event, the informal race became known as the Mutton Grand Prix.

Brooklands takes its name from the first purpose-built circuit in England, which held the British Grand Prix in the 1920s. Silverstone continues to be largely base on the 1952 layout largely with corners like Woodcote, Copse. The circuit currently used was designed and built in the late 2000s which saw the creation of the arena circuit.

At the first race in 1950, it was dominated by the Alfa Romeo’s with Giuseppe Farina. The following season was the first time Alfa wouldn’t take victory with Jose Froilan Gonzalez securing Ferrari’s first-ever win. Silverstone has always required speed and high downforce, but the British summer can be unpredictable.

At Aintree in 1955, Mercedes took the victory with the silver arrows finishing in the top four positions. Two years later Sir Stirling Moss became the first British driver to win the race, as well as a first of five home wins for Scotsman Jim Clark. He added more wins dominating in 1964 and 1967, before a battle between Chris Amon and Jo Siffert.

Sir Jackie Stewart took his first home win in 1969, and 1971 saw Stewart win again in a Tyrrell. 1973, however, saw a huge first lap accident at Woodcote that took out 11 cars, including all three works Surtees cars. Amazingly, there were no deaths or any fires and the worst news was that Andrea de Adamich received career-ending ankle injuries.

The 1987 race saw the introduction of the basis of the Bridge Grand Prix circuit, which was decommissioned in 2010, that race saw an epic battle between Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet. The British driver broke the lap record 11 times, caught and passed Piquet and took victory; the Silverstone crowd broke ranks and ran onto the circuit after the race was over; this was to start several dramatic events surrounding Mansell for the next five years.

Damon Hill was the next brit to win, but in recent years Lewis Hamilton has shown why speed and downforce is important taking victory five times in the turbo-hybrid era. His first win in 2008 has been seen as one of the best wet weather drives in the history of F1, he won the start and built over a minutes lead to take the victory.

Hamilton is the only driver to have won four races back to back, and if the predictions from testing is correct, he could make it eight home wins this year equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of most wins at the same circuit, although he won’t equal the record he achieved in Budapest as statistically eight wins would only count at the British Grand Prix.

 Facts and figures

Round 04 & 05
Race Formula 1 Pirelli British Grand Prix 2020

Emirates Formula 1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

Venue Arena Grand Prix Circuit, Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, England
Circuit Length 5.891km (3.661mi)
Laps 52
Race Distance 306.198 km (190.263 mi)
Lap Record 01:27.369 (Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2019, F1)
Most wins drivers Lewis Hamilton (6)
Most wins manufacture Ferrari (16)

Fast facts

  • The United Kingdom is made up of four countries England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, however, all the Grands Prix have always been held in England.
  • The small airfield holds the record for the world’s busiest airport for one day, was at this site during the 1999 British Grand Prix. There were 4,200 documented aircraft movements (1 movement being a landing or a takeoff) in one day from dawn till dusk.
  • Silverstone us the second-longest circuit on the 2020 calendar behind Spa.
  • Silverstone is the home race for seven of the ten teams, most of which are based within thirty miles of the circuit the closest being Racing Point who are within walking distance of the pitlane less than a mile away.
  • If he takes pole at the 2020 British GP, Lewis Hamilton will set a new record for most poles at his home event. The current record is shared between Hamilton and Ayrton Senna, who started the Brazilian GP from pole six times.

Event timetable

Session

Local

BST

Friday

P1 11:00-12:30
P2 15:00-16:30

Saturday

P3 13:00-12:00
Qualifying 14:00-15:00

Sunday

Race 14:10

What happened in 2019?

Silverstone again marked the halfway stage of the season, so far it had been the season where Mercedes continued to be the team to beat. Lewis Hamilton led the drivers’ championship by thirty-one points, but could anyone stop his charge to a sixth world title?

Valtteri Bottas took pole by six thousandths over teammate Hamilton, that was despite the Finn losing the real through Brooklands. Hamilton didn’t fare much better, he also made a mistake, meaning that the times were set on the drivers first runs in Q3.

Charles Leclerc looked as if he could challenge the Mercedes, however the Ferrari driver fell short. The Monacan looked to have the pace in Q2, before following Hamilton by losing the rear at Brooklands. Lando Norris and Alex Albon would start side by side for their home race.

Hamilton got past Bottas by running a very long opening stint, while the Finn made his first pit stop. This proved key as it allowed the Englishman to use a one-stop. Mercedes had the advantage throughout the race, miles ahead of the battle between Leclerc and Verstappen, that fight was brought to an end with Vettel running into the back of the Red Bull.

Vettel was handed a ten second time penalty for the collision by race stewards and ended the race down in sixteenth after pitting due the damage sustained. Norris failed to finish in the points after losing out on strategy.

Both Haas’s of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen retired from the race early on after colliding on the opening lap. The Frenchman slid into his teammate through The Loop, giving both cars punctures which required early pit-stops.

Hamilton took the victory and became the only driver to take six wins at Silverstone, extending his lead to thirty-nine points. Mercedes at the halfway stage looked on course for another world title, but the question was where was Ferrari?

Race Result – 1) L. Hamilton, Mercedes,01:21:08.452, 2) V. Bottas, Mercedes, +24.928, 3) C. Leclerc, Ferrari, +30.117

What to watch for?

We head to the second double-header at a circuit where Mercedes have again been dominated in the hybrid era, this circuit has long straights and fast corners which was a strength of Mercedes in Austria. Lewis Hamilton always has gone well, it seems to suit his driving style as it requires an attacking nature.

Hamilton is looking to equal Michael Schumacher’s eight wins at the same circuit, I expect unless the upgrades for Ferrari are mega in Budapest, that Mercedes will have a good car and be leading the pack. The circuit is one where Mercedes can again dominate the weekend after the car appeared strong on this type of circuit.

Silverstone is a circuit where you need rhythm, this means often the car with the most speed and downforce. This is going to be a real test for Ferrari, as well as those in the midfield. Racing Point, of course at a centre of a protest from Renault is going to be very strong in the midfield. They will need to watch out for McLaren, who look as if they could be a treat to Racing Point.

Red Bull I believe should be in the best position to challenge Mercedes, but that could be the closest challengers. We have another variable for theses races, Pirelli is bringing different tyre compounds for both weekends means unlike in Spielberg they won’t be able to use the data across both weekends.

2018 vs 2019 Race Data

P1 Fastest

P2 Fastest

P3 Fastest

Q1 Fastest

Q2 Fastest

Q3 Fastest

Race Time

Fastest Lap

2019

01:27.172 01:26.731 01:25.905 01:25.513 01:25.546 01:25.093 01:21:08.451 01:27.369

Diff

-0.315 -0.821 -0.817 -1.072 -1.635 -0.798 -06:21.332 -03:03.326

2018

01:27.487 01:27.552 01:26.722 01:26.585 01:26.256 01:25.891 01:27:29.783 01:30.695

A lap of Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton knew he had to do it in one lap if he was to take pole he went across the line on the way to Abbey where he hits the inside kerb before heading through the curve at Farm. Heading nicely through the Arena section good through five going for the outside along the straight

He goes close to the kerb and beautiful exit from Brooklands before nicely through the long Luffield corner. On the old start finish he drives nicely at Woodcote. To the inside a Copse where he lets his car run to the outside.

The run down to Maggots and Becketts a good into part one of the section and gets a perfect exit into Chapel nicely through and on to Hangar Straight. Drives straight thought with ease at Stow and into Vale where he slows to low speed. Gets a good exit from Club and crosses the line with a 01:29.287.

Tyres

British Grand Prix

White Hard (C1)

Yellow Medium (C2)

Red Soft (C3)

70th Anniversary Grand Prix

White Hard (C2)

Yellow Medium (C3)

Red Soft (C4)

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.