The Mercedes and Sahara Force India teams line-up on the grid at Silverstone for this weekend’s British Grand Prix, round nine of the 2014 FIA F1 World Championship, with hopes of success at the Home of British Motor Racing.
The Brackley-based Mercedes-Benz team have been the dominant force in Formula 1 this season – winning seven out of the eight races contested so far.
Nico Rosberg, winner of last year’s British Grand Prix, arrives at Silverstone as the leader of the 2014 Drivers’ Standings with a healthy 29-point lead over his team-mate and home favourite, Lewis Hamilton.
The duo battled for victory at the head of the field last year until Hamilton suffered a spectacular tyre failure while leading. With the race neutralised, Rosberg was able to gain upper hand and sweep to a memorable victory for the Silver Arrows.
The 2014 season has all been about Mercedes with the German manufacturer the first to fully grasp the new V6 turbocharged engine regulations. From the very first race in Australia, Rosberg and Hamilton have been the men to beat.
Rosberg leads by way of three victories and five second-places. Although Hamilton has won more races than Rosberg, non-finishes in Australia and Canada have cost him badly.
In 2008, Hamilton not only won the British Grand Prix, but also went on to claim the world title, and the British racer is hoping that is a good omen.
He said: “For me, this weekend is about trying to play down the pressure that a home crowd can put on you. I love the feeling of racing at Silverstone, Britain has the best fans in the world.
“I like to see the crowd waving their flags and urging me on each lap and I really want to do well for everyone this week. Silverstone is an awesome track, very fast and it should be good for the Mercedes-powered cars.
“We have been enjoying a good high-speed advantage so far this season and I hope that this won’t change. I won the title the same year I won the British Grand Prix – maybe I can do the double again this year!”
Rosberg added: “Silverstone has great memories for the Rosberg family. My dad clocked an amazing pole position time way back in 1985, a lap that is still talked about to this day.
“For me to win the race last year was great, it was my third F1 victory and it felt good to win for the team in a race so close to the team’s base in Brackley.
“I arrive here at Silverstone as the leader of the world championship and I see that as a good thing. Whatever happens, I will lead the title race entering the German Grand Prix in two weeks’ time and that is good for me as a German driver and will be good for Mercedes as a German team. I am looking forward to this weekend very much.”
The Force India team are based just 500 metres from the Silverstone main entrance, and Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez will drive the team’s Mercedes-powered VJM07 cars.
Hulkenberg has scored points in every round of the 2014 season so far, and is sixth in the points table – just one point behind four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel.
The German said: “For me this weekend at Silverstone is all about scoring points and keeping my race record going.
“I would like to move past Vettel in the standings this week and I think that is possible as the Mercedes engine should be very good at Silverstone.”
Perez claimed a podium finish in Bahrain and is hoping to bag another at Silverstone.
With strong links to Brackley, Perez views Silverstone as a home race for him as well as Force India, saying: “I’m really looking forward to Silverstone.
“The team are really keen to perform well in this our home race and I will drive this weekend knowing that I have much support from the team and its friends and our families.”