In the build up to the 53rd visit to Silverstone for the British Formula 1 Grand Prix, a lot of column inches have been written of the future rivalry predicted for Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. However, currently at the top of the drivers’ standings, with a healthy lead of 31 points, is the current Formula 1 Drivers’ Champion Lewis Hamilton. If the 5-time World Champion is victorious on Sunday, he will have another piece of history to his name.
At present, Lewis Hamilton has the same number of British Grand Prix victories as two other legends of the sport – Jim Clark and Alain Prost. These three titans of the sport each achieved 5 victories when competing in the UK for the British Grand Prix.
Few will forget the celebration displayed by Hamilton in 2017 when he crowd surfed after his victory at Silverstone and in doing so kept Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen waiting awkwardly in the press conference. So, who knows what his celebration would be on Sunday if he was to conclude the day with six British GP victories to his name.
Recent weeks, however, have brought a much needed unpredictability back into F1 and Scuderia Ferrari certainly has momentum plus they also know what it takes to win the British GP having won their very first F1 race at Silverstone back in 1951.
Ferrari has won the British Grand Prix 17 times and that number is just three ahead of McLaren - the Woking based manufacturer which is very much on the rise. Who knows what the British rookie Lando Norris could achieve in front of his home crowd. Hopefully, he will get more luck than one of McLaren’s former Brits Jenson Button, as the 2009 World Champion never managed to set foot on the British GP F1 podium in all his years of racing at the pinnacle of the sport.
Another variable which Lewis Hamilton would have to overcome to claim his sixth British GP victory this weekend, is the fact that Silverstone has been newly resurfaced. This is a problem because Silverstone is a track for high speeds and it is unknown how well the tyres will respond to the track. This uncertainty was perfectly summed up by Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat in the way he has called it a ‘corridor of uncertainty’.
Uncertainty, is what Formula One needs and this weekend has all the ingredients for one of the best British GPs in recent years. Few expected Austria to be the showpiece it was but many expect Silverstone to put on a good show.
Alain Prost and Jim Clark were supremely talented drivers and Sunday is a chance for Lewis Hamilton to once again break away from historical racing legends.
Should Hamilton’s dominance continue, how long before the reigning champion sets his sights on Michael Schumacher’s record of 7 world titles? That would certainly be a historical moment indeed.