The Continental Circus is gearing up for this weekend’s tenth scale of the calendar, the 2021 F1 British GP (July 16-18). The legendary Silverstone Circuit, which is considered to be the cradle of Formula 1, will host its Grand Prix for another year, as it has been doing uninterruptedly since 1950.
The 140,000 fans allowed in the stands this year, after the coronavirus pandemic vanished all spectators in 2020, will bring the magic back to an event that is full of history, tradition and passion.
Historic: First F1 sprint race
This weekend’s 2021 F1 British GP will be even more attractive than usual as it is debuting a completely new Grand Prix format, which will try and increase the level of activity on the track throughout the weekend. The action will start on Friday with Free Practice 1, which has been pushed back to 3:30 pm until 4:30 pm.
The usual qualifying sessions (Q1, Q2 and Q3), have been brought forward one day, and will then take place from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Their outcome will determine the starting order for the ‘short race’. The Free Practice 2 session will take place On Saturday from 1:00 pm. to 2:00 pm.
After this will come the event that everyone has been waiting for: the sprint race. This short race will be held from 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm and it will have a length of 100 km against the usual 300km.
Three, two and one points will be awarded to the first three drivers, and the result will determine the starting positions for the traditional race on Sunday.
Hamilton and Mercedes: Now or never
The 2021 F1 British GP is expected to be an all or nothing race for Mercedes. After witnessing Red Bull taking five consecutive victories, they arrive at their home race under enormous pressure to reverse the situation.
Hamilton and his team have reigned in Silverstone for many years but this time it is going to be harder than ever to defend that crown. The seven-time champion and his team have gone from dominating the sport with ease to suddenly being displaced from the throne by Max Verstappen and Red Bull.
The ‘blues’ have taken six wins (Emilia-Romagna, Monaco, Azerbaijan, France, Styria & Austria) over the nine races disputed so far this season, including the last five. Leading the fight for Red Bull is their star Dutch driver, winner of the last three previous GPs.
After his double success in Austria, Verstappen leads Hamilton in the standings by 32 points ahead of the 2021 F1 British GP. At the Constructor’s Standings, things are not looking much better for the German team with Red Bull topping the ranking with 286 units against the 242 of Mercedes.
McLaren: To consolidate its third place
McLaren arrives at the 2021 F1 British GP in third place of the Constructors’ standings. With Lando Norris behind the wheel, they stand a good chance to increase the 19-point advantage that they currently hold over Ferrari (141-122). The Briton is having a fantastic season so far.
After taking his third podium of the year in Austria, Norris will face his home race in great spirits. His spectacular performance has taken him to the fourth place of the standings with 101 points, just three behind Pérez, in third.
The Woking team, however, is not expecting much help from Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian driver is failing to acclimatize to the MCL35M. His poor performances have only earned him 40 points so far, less than half of those accrued by his teammate. Ricciardo is currently sunk in eighth place in the standings.
Ferrari: To get closer to McLaren
Ferrari, the other contestant to lead the midfield, will be competing in a track that has been traditionally unfavourable for its SF21. In recent times, however, the Prancing Horse has improved its performance in hostile territories.
The perseverance and skill of its drivers, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, might be just enough to compensate for the weaknesses of the red car at the 2021 F1 British GP.
Images of 2021 F1 British GP: F1.com.