FANS will be cheering on Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton in the hope of a home victory in this weekend’s Britsh Grand Prix at Silverstone, writes James Beckett.
In a season dominated by the Red Bull of reigning champion, Sebastian Vettel, it’s likely that the capacity crowd at the Northants track may leave disappointed but if any drivers are capable of beating Vettel this weekend, then it is the British McLaren-Mercedes duo.
The FIA F1 World Championship rolls into the Advertiser & Review region this weekend and on Sunday afternoon a 52-lap race around the ‘Home of British Motor Racing’ will write another chapter in the venue’s history as the oldest World Championship venue.
Over the years the track has changed significantly, and after a glitzy opening earlier this year, the track’s new ‘Wing’ – the venue’s multi-million pound pit and paddock complex – will host an F1 event for the first time.
Last year the British Grand Prix was dominated by Red Bull and their “no 2 driver”, Mark Webber. All expectations are that the the team’s lead driver and world championship leader, Sebastian Vettel, will be a difficult man to beat this time round.
The German is in high spirits and said earlier this week: “The championship is going very well for me and Red Bull at the moment. I have been in strong positions to win races and my desire is to keep on winning. I like Silverstone, it is a very traditional Grand Prix track and the fact that it is close to Red Bull’s factory in Milton Keynes also makes me want to win. This is the team’s home race.”
With Vettel’s team-mate, Mark Webber, looking for a repeat of his 2010 victory and determined performances guaranteed from Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, the scene does not look totally one-sided, however.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso said on Monday: “Silverstone will decide the title. If Vettel wins then I think the title will be his. It would not be possible for anyone to catch him without some kind of misfortune.”
Local interest in the British Grand Prix centres on Brackley’s Mercedes and Silverstone’s Kingfisher Force India.
Mercedes are looking for an upturn in performance from their car and both Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg are aiming for top six finishes.
Schumacher, a previous Silverstone winner, said: “I love this track and it would be great to put on a good show for everyone at the Brackley factory. This is a very important race for the team.”
Force India’s Paul di Resta will be making his British Grand Prix debut. Adrian Sutil will drive the second Force India.
GRAND PRIX TIMETABLE: Friday July 8
9am F1 Free Practice; 10:55 GP2 Practice; 11:45 GP3 Practice; 13:00 F1 Free Practice 2; 14:55 GP2 Qualifying; 15:50 GP3 Practice;16:45 Porsche Practice.
Saturday July 9
8.45am GP3 Qualifying; 10:00 F1 Free Practice 3; 11:25 Porsche Qualifying;13:00; F1 Official Qualifying; 14:40 Race - GP2 Feature (29 laps);16:20 Race - GP3 Race 1 (14 laps)
Sunday July 10
8.25am Race - GP3 Race 2 (14 laps);09:30 Race- GP2 Sprint (21 laps); 10:45 Race - Porsche Supercup (14 laps); 12:00 The Red Arrows Air Display; 13:00 Race - British Grand Prix (52 laps).
> Competitors in the F1-supporting GP2 Series are sure to entertain Silverstone’s capacity crowds this weekend when the F1 drivers of tomorrow contest two championship races, write Colin and James Beckett. The Renault-powered cars have again provided superb action during the first four race meetings of this season and Silverstone marks the halfway stage for the single-seater series in the 2011 season. The title race couldn’t be closer, with Frenchman and former Renault F1 driver, Romain Grosjean leading the points charge.
The DAMS team driver has 34 points, just one ahead of Giedo Van Der Garde who races for the Addax team.
Davide Valsecchi (Caterham Team Air Asia) arrives at Silverstone third in the standings, with Britain’s Sam Bird (iSport) fourth.
The GP2 Series cars will race for the first time on Saturday afternoon, when they will contest their ‘Feature’ race.
This event will follow the F1 official qualifying and teams and drivers have to undertake mandatory pitstops for tyre changes