Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2017

Five in a row for Hamilton? Six British GP talking points

2018 British Grand Prix

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All eyes will be on Lewis Hamilton for the world champion’s home race this weekend.

Can he take a record-breaking sixth win, and fifth in a row? Will he commit to another season of Formula 1 – or more – next year? And where is Britain’s next Hamilton going to come from?

Here are the talking points for this weekend’s race.

Can Hamilton win five in a row?

The reigning world champion has made a stronghold of his home circuit in recent seasons. Last year he won as he pleased on a day when team mate Valtteri Bottas was delayed by a penalty and Ferrari over-stressed their tyres. The signs are Hamilton’s return to Silverstone will offer every opportunity to take a record-breaking sixth British Grand Prix win and fifth consecutive home triumph.

Silverstone should be right in Mercedes’ sweet spot, with the same combination of new asphalt and quick corners that the W09 thrived on at the Circuit de Catalunya and Paul Ricard. Plus, of course, the thinner Pirelli tyres which Hamilton wanted them to bring to the last race.

But could the unusually warm British summer play against Mercedes? The team struggled with tyres blistering in Austria, particularly once Hamilton dropped into traffic. Temperatures are forecast to be high over the weekend.


Hamilton’s future

Hamilton’s home race would also be an obvious place for him to make a long-awaited announcement about his future. Mercedes has recently hinted his new deal was ready to be announced.

But how long does he want to keep racing for? He’s had two three-year deals at Mercedes so far. Hamilton’s interest in pursuing careers in music and fashion is well-known, and he recently made his studio record debut.

He is unquestionably the biggest name in the sport today. F1’s new owners will be hoping he plans to stick around at least long enough to experience their revamped post-2020 F1. And his decision will have implications for Silverstone too.

Will Silverstone extend its deal?

Last year Silverstone activated a clause in its contract allowing it to pull out of holding the British Grand Prix after 2019. Along with many other race promoters, the BRDC is seeking more favourable terms with F1’s new commercial rights holder Liberty Media.

With the future of Britain’s megastar F1 driver uncertain, no other British drivers on the grid and significant questions marks over Liberty’s plans for post-2020, the race organisers have plenty of reasons to hold out another 12 months before putting pen to paper.

Britain’s dwindling roster

Lando Norris, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya
Big things are expected of Norris
Only one British driver started last year’s race because Jolyon Palmer’s Renault broke down on the formation lap. But 12 years on only one British driver is on the entry list at Silverstone.

In the junior categories, however, there is an abundance of talent suggesting Britain’s F1 future is in good hands. McLaren-backed Lando Norris landed in Formula Two under an avalanche of mostly-justified hype. But Mercedes junior George Russell is showing him the way at the moment and took the championship lead off his rival last weekend.

Two other Formula 1 teams are backing young British talent: Renault has already given Jack Aitken a run in its F1 car and Ferrari’s Callum Ilott is leading GP3. Any if not all of these look like potential F1 drivers of the future.

McLaren change course

McLaren has finally accepted the seriousness of its 2018 plight. Racing director Eric Boullier has parted company with the team and a new organisational structure has been put in place.

This is not going to transform the team’s fortunes overnight. But it signals a realisation that its problems ran far deeper than merely not having a sufficiently competitive power unit for the past three seasons.

Third week blues?

For the first time ever the teams arrive at a race weekend having also been racing the two previous weekends. Energy levels will be sapped and parts stocks may be low – particularly for the likes of McLaren and Toro Rosso, who got through a lot of front wings at the Red Bull Ring.

But while the strain may show behind the scenes, expect the teams to keep the show on the road. Whether they’ll accept going through it again next year is another matter.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Five in a row for Hamilton? Six British GP talking points”

  1. Gemma St. Ivans
    5th July 2018, 8:43

    Hopefully there will be some drama like in Austria. Nobody wants to see a Merc front row lock up.

    1. Actually, there are many who do.

    2. I’m sure the thousands of Hamilton & Mercedes fans attending the race would love to see them not only lock out the front rows of the grid, but also a dominant and crushing win for them both.

    3. I do want to see a Mercedes front row lock out.

      1. I want a run of 5 Hamilton dnf’s and at least 3 for Bottas. 1 down already.

        1. I’d done a lap of the track, and was behind the fence, by the time HAM came out to see you all!

    4. Die hard Mercedes fans like me, love that. I remember last year at Monza, after the win, lots of us were waiting by the Mercedes garage for our team to come out for the team picture, that the police… LOL could not even do anything to get us out even though it was beyond the time given to track invaders.

      1. I’d done a lap of the track, and was behind the fence, by the time HAM came out to see you all!

    5. I want to see Vettel crying because Mercedes are so far ahead……

      Horner too……

      OK….I don’t really but I thought I would go for the exaggerated response…

  2. Minor proof reading error: Only one British driver started last year’s race because Jolyon Palmer’s Renault broke down on the formation lap. But 12 YEARS (I’d imagine this should be months) on only one British driver is on the entry list at Silverstone.

  3. Can Hamilton win five in a row? – Yes.
    Will Silverstone extend its deal? – Hopefully.

    BTW, Once again, ‘current’ not ‘new’ owners.

    1. ‘New’ makes sense here since BRDC has never negotiated with Liberty before.

    2. @jerejj Similar to when the PS4 and Xbox One came out. Never knew when I would have to start calling them “current gen” rather than “next gen” or “new gen”.

      1. @mashiat Well, ‘current gen’ now since it’s been quite a while since the PS4 and XBOX ONE consoles came out. The point, though, is that things don’t stay ‘new’ forever, so people should realize when to stop using the word. It just doesn’t sound right to be still referring to something that has happened a year and a half or 18 months ago as ‘new’ since that’s more than just a little while ago. TV episodes and movies, for example, that have come out 18 months ago aren’t regarded ‘new’ anymore, so the same applies to other things as well. Still, I do have a feeling and unfortunately wouldn’t be surprised at all if even next January (when it will have been two years since the change of ownership from CVC to LM took place) some people are still going to be using the word ‘new’ when referring to the sport’s ‘current’ commercial rights holders. That especially would be weird and a little funny at the same time, LOL.

        1. @jerejj Yes, they are indeed current gen now, but I was referring to when they were first announced/released.

  4. I’ll be happy with a front row lock out for Mercedes!

    1. Me too on the condition that they fail to pit under VSC and after the restart Vettel owns him again in spectacular fashion in front of his home crowd!

  5. Expect penalty by replacing the problematic PU v2.1, tyre blistering, coolant overheating, easily overtaken by Ferrari. This year’s Mercedes is like that.

    1. When will it be clear if Bottas or Hamilton might get a penalty? On friday?

      “Following Sunday’s race Lewis Hamilton told media he was concerned he might have to take a penalty at Silverstone. But Hamilton is not in immediate danger of receiving a penalty.

      As both drivers retired from the race Mercedes will not incur a penalty for fitting new gearboxes to their W09s. Hamilton can also change all six different parts of his power unit once more without receiving a penalty.

      However Bottas has already used his final allocated energy store and control electronics, and will take a penalty if new examples of those are fitted.”

  6. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    5th July 2018, 13:42

    I did’t realise Hamilton has wone in the last 4 years here. I remember 2015 though well. But I honestly feel Massa or Bottas could have won that if it wasn’t for the rain. It does seem like Massa and Bottas are not that strong in the rain, but Williams that year were terrible. They were easily keeping Mercedes behind Both of them at first. Once the rain came, they all pitted but williams left it too late from what I remember. And even then, they feel right back. I think Massa by the end was around 30 – 40 seconds off the leader and Bottas over a minute. Admittedly, Bottas was showing he wasn’t as good as Massa in the rain here. And even Massa wasn’t good in this area. I think Bottas has got better in these conditions since. But I am quite sure that rain cost Williams a 1 – 2 or at least a double podium.

  7. Can Lewis change his gearbox without penalty?

    1. @anunaki Yes as he DNF’d in the last race. An unscheduled gearbox change can be done penalty-freely to any driver who’s retired in the previous race or didn’t start it. Although for some mysterious reason this rule didn’t apply to Raikkonen or Sainz in Japan last season despite these two having DNS’d and DNF’d respectively in the previous race in Malaysia nor to Ericsson in Brazil despite his DNF in Mexico the race before.

  8. Having the “most complete” driver on the grid at their disposal for design and development purposes, why is the McLaren not the best car [engine excepted]? I cannot imagine Ayrton Senna or Michael Schumacher allowing their teams to produce a string of turkeys.

    1. Because those 2 are the very best and operated on a higher level than everyone else before or since. Don’t buy the hype about Alonso/Hamilton/Vettel being that good. Verstappen is the one who could reach similar heights. Alonso/Hamilton/Vettel will never be revered in the same vein, more like Prost, Lauda, Mansell, Piquet level.

      1. @philby Rather disrespectful to Prost I would say.

        1. Yes, I see some reason in saying that, but there’s some overrating senna and underrating prost on it, when they’ve roughly been equal for their entire career.

        2. For years I pondered If Prost is of the Senna/Schumacher caliber or belongs in the second tier with piquet, Mansell and the current breed. Still I think he is somewhere in between.

  9. I want to see Pirelli tires failing and flying out of the wheels. Not only from Stroll, but also from drivers who know how to drive the car.

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