Formula One is back in the UK, with what could be a monumental weekend for the sport. Thursday began the festivities, with the first "In-person" look at the car for 2022, with new regulations coming it at the end of the current season. The overarching goal for the car is to make the racing better for the fans, with George Russell stating "The goal recently has been to make the cars faster and faster, now we can make racing better".
The car itself features more regulation parts, in aid of the range of cost caps coming into effect, design-wise, it features larger front and rear wings, along with a much larger stature in general.
The return to Silverstone also spells the debut of the new sprint race format for the weekend, with only two practice sessions available to the teams, meaning they need to get the car nailed early on.
Last Time Out
Max Verstappen managed to grab his first career 'Grand Slam' in Austria, as the Dutchman topped every session throughout the weekend, along with gaining the fastest lap in the race. Verstappen roared across the line in front of thousands of his adoring fans, in what was a comprehensive light to flag victory.
Behind him, title rival Lewis Hamilton was running smoothly, after a poor qualifying, however would be jumped by both Lando Norris and teammate Valtteri Bottas, with Norris finishing third, and Bottas in second. Hamilton had picked up floor damage after riding the tall curbs at turn one, as a result losing pace on the rest of the front runners.
Further back, all eyes were on George Russell, after the Williams driver managed to make it back to back Q3 appearances, with him starting the race in P8, after a penalty for Yuki Tsunoda. The race would end for the Brit in a titanic battle with Fernando Alonso, with him standing his ground for a number of laps. However Alonso eventually passed the Williams man, however, it was still a weekend to look back fondly on.
Last Time at Silverstone
The 2020 British GP will be remembered for Hamilton's last lap on three wheels, as Pirrelli has bought the softest compound of tires that weekend. Dramatically, Hamilton still secured the win, despite Verstappen ever closing the gap between the two.
Tire failures would impact drivers up and down the grid. Daniil Kvyat was the first causality of the softest compound of tires, as the car blew a tire going through Maggots, ending up in the Armco at the side of the track. Bottas and Carlos Sainz would also fall victim to the unfortunate turn of events.
The news coming into the weekend was the return of cult driver Nico Hulkenberg, who took over from Sergio Perez due to the Mexican's Covid diagnosis in the week before the race. Unfortunately, the joy of fans would be short-lived, as Hulkenberg was unable to start the race come Sunday due to a clutch and power unit problem prior to lights out.
Weekend Layout and Track preview
The Silverstone track has stayed untouched since last year, with Pirreli bringing the same compound of tires as last year, which could prove chaotic in the predicted 28 Degree British summer heat. However, the layout of the weekend has the potential to pioneer the future for F1.
The 2021 British GP spells the beginning of the sprint race era in F1. The way in which the weekend is set to work is as follows. Friday sees drivers take to track in one practice session before a qualifying session that decides the starting position of the Sprint Race. Following this, on Saturday, the teams get a second practice session, with the following session being the sprint race which decides the positions for Sunday's main GP. The sprint race itself will be 17 laps long.
Friday 16th July 2021
Free Practice 1: 14:30 - 15:30
Qualifying: 18:00 - 19:00
Saturday 17th July 2021
Qualifying: 12:00 - 13:00
Sprint: 16:30 - 17:00
Sunday 18th July 2021
Race: 15:00 - 17:00