By rights it’s the centrepiece fixture of the UK’s packed motor sport summer. But might the British Grand Prix this weekend also prove to be the standout race of the Formula 1 season?
Forget fake marinas in Miami. What Silverstone offers is one of the best circuits on the calendar for flat-chat banzai motor racing and an atmosphere that’s second to none thanks to the fervent enthusiasm of a sell-out crowd that gets behind more than just a single driver or team. It’s great on telly, many times more in the metal.
The drafting down Wellington and Hangar Straight should be even more frenetic than usual thanks to the new generation of ground-effect Formula 1 cars, and it will be fascinating to see how edgy they look through Maggotts and Becketts. We also hear the grandstands at Copse sold out quicker than usual for this year following the fierce Lewis Hamilton/Max Verstappen collision 12 months ago. Even without controversy, the old first corner is one of the best spots on earth to watch an F1 car at ten-tenths – although standing on the entry at eye level is better than any grandstand seat to fully appreciate the mind-bogglingly rapid change of direction. Remarkably, it’s apparently much less dramatic for the drivers.
“Copse is easy now,” Lando Norris told me ahead of last year’s race. “It depends a little bit on the wind. If there’s a tailwind it can be a little bit trickier. But in qualifying you don’t even have to think about it, one-handed even. You are flat out from the exit of Luffield, all the way to the final part of Becketts.” Let’s see what Lando and co make of it this time in these new cars as they deal with the dreaded headaches created by bounce and porpoising.
One hand on the title?