A home victory would be the perfect way for Lewis Hamilton to respond to criticism of his driving after two consecutive no-scores in Canada and France.
Do McLaren have the car – and does Hamilton have the nerve – for him to win the British Grand Prix at a sold-out Silverstone? He will be hoping his disqualification from a yacht race last weekend will be the last of his misfortune for now…
Are McLaren quick enough?
The silver cars looked threatening in pre-Grand prix testing at Silverstone last week:
1 Felipe Massa, Ferrari 1’20.188
2 Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.477
1 Kovalainen 1’20.015
7 Massa 1’21.069
1 Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes 1’19.170
3 Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 1’20.321
It’s important not to read too much into a few tenths one way or the other in testing. Hamilton’s Thursday time might have been a full second quicker than anything Ferrari managed but the presence of Timo Glock’s Toyota 0.7s down on his time suggests if McLaren have any advantage over Ferrari it will only be marginal.
Last year Kimi Raikkonen was able to lap Silverstone during the race almost half a second faster than either of the McLarens. So far this year they’ve not had that kind of superiority anywhere under normal conditions where both teams had cars running in clean air on a dry day.
Is Lewis Hamilton up to it?
Plenty has been written about Hamilton’s temperament in past weeks and there’s no need to add more to it here.
But while much of the criticism has focused on his race craft a word should be said about his performances in qualifying. In those tricky conditions at Montreal he out-classed the field, but on a few occasions this year he’s taken a lighter fuel load into qualifying and not extracted the time advantage from it he really should.
Assuming he takes the same approach at Silverstone he will need to repeat his pole position from last year. He can’t rely on making up ground on the short run to the first corner.
On the face of it, McLaren have a competitive car and can expect to fight for the win this weekend. They will have to be sure not to repeat some of the careless and naive mistakes by team and driver that provoked the rash of penalties they picked up in recent races.
It’s up to Lewis Hamilton, in front of a sold-out home crowd, to do the rest.
Read more about Lewis Hamilton: Lewis Hamilton biography