The Formula One season has been given fresh life just in time for the British Grand Prix. At the last race, a non-Mercedes team finally won a race as Max Verstappen pipped Charles Leclerc in a dramatic finish at the Red Bull Ring.
Lewis Hamilton’s lead at the top of the drivers’ championship standings is still 31 points. The five-time world champion is the overwhelming favourite to win the title at -1200 with BetStars, but the performances of the Ferraris and Red Bull in Austria have at least given a sense of competition at the front of the grid.
Hamilton is looking to become the most successful driver in British Grand Prix history this weekend. He’s currently tied on five race wins with Alain Prost and Jim Clark. The championship leader is -125 to win the Grand Prix with 888Sport.
Silverstone hosted its first British Grand Prix in 1948. It held the first ever race of the World Championship of Drivers in 1950 and shared the Grand Prix with Brands Hatch and Aintree between the mid-1950s and 1980s. Since 1987, it has been the exclusive host of the British leg of the season, though it is possible it drops off the Formula One calendar for 2020.
The circuit has been altered over the last few decades. It isn’t as fast as it once was, but it remains one of the quickest tracks in Formula One. The 3.6-mile lap sees plenty of full-throttle time for the drivers. There are three DRS zones across the lap, creating plenty of overtaking opportunities. The Maggots, Becketts, Chapel sequence is one of the most challenging in Formula One, testing the balance of the car through a series of turns at over 130mph.
Sebastian Vettel won this race last year, taking advantage of a dreadful start for Hamilton to end a streak of four-straight British Grand Prix victories for the Mercedes driver.
Ferrari once again, though, aren’t confident ahead of this weekend, with team principal Mattia Binotto saying, “We do not expect Silverstone to suit our car particularly well, but at every race, we have seen that the balance of power can change, often unexpectedly.”
Pessimism has been a feature of Ferraris season, and with good reason as they are still looking for their first win in 2019. Silverstone needs a strong power unit, which Ferrari have, but the fast corners could trouble Vettel and Leclerc this weekend. They will hope an aerodynamic tweak can make a notable difference. Ferrari are +220 with BetStars to put an end to their barren spell.
Pirelli have brought the hardest tyres to Silverstone, just as they did in Spain and Bahrain. The tyres are put under major strain around the lap, but it’s probable that drivers will opt for a one-stop on Sunday unless there is a timely safety car as there was in 2018.
Renault made the standout tyre selection, going for more sets of the soft than anyone else on the grid. After a great weekend in Montreal, it’s been a difficult couple of races for the French manufacturer, with Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg both finishing outside the points in Austria last time out.
Ricciardo will enjoy all the chances to overtake at Silverstone, and the extra sets of the soft compound could mean they go for a two-stopper. The former Red Bull man is +450 to finish in the top six.
By Sam Cox