This weekend, F1 returns to a full capacity Silverstone circuit where championship leader Max Verstappen eyes up a sixth straight victory.
However, Lewis Hamilton will come into this weekend with endless confidence as British drivers have more victories than any other nationality at Silverstone with 22 wins. In fact, that’s over three times more than any other nation. He may know the track like the back of his hand, but will the seven-time World Champion be able to adapt to a brand-new format of racing?
In an attempt to ‘ramp up the excitement of the whole race weekend, F1 has introduced a 100km Saturday sprint race which will follow a normal qualifying session and set the grid for Sunday’s race.
2:30 – 3:30 F1 Practice 1
18:00 – 19:00 F1 Qualifying
12:00 – 13:00 F1 Practice 2
16:30 – 17:00 F1 Sprint Qualification
15:00 – 17:00 F1 Race
Who Will Benefit From This New Format?
There have been many drivers on the grid expressing their excitement for a new format. However, how many drivers will actually benefit from a sprint race? With an expected heatwave on the horizon for the United Kingdom, I believe that McLaren’s Daniel Riccardo will shine in the sizzling Silverstone sun and have one of his best race weekends so far this season.
Although there have been clear signs of improvement from the Australian, it’s no secret that qualifying has been his real downfall. While his team-mate Lando Norris was able to secure a second-row start in Styria, Ricciardo could only find 13th. When the five lights go out that is when Ricciardo finds his form and picks up positions. With that in mind, I believe that with a sprint race to determine the grid position for Sunday’s race, the fan-favorite could be in a prime position to pick up some much-needed points for his new team.
Who May Struggle?
Although this could come as a shock to many, I believe that George Russell may have some issues at his home race this weekend. Last season, Russell earned himself the nickname of “Mr. Saturday” as a result of his amazing qualifying performances and it’s safe to say that nickname isn’t being lost anytime soon as he has found himself in every Q2 session this season. Furthermore, the Williams driver has put himself in pole position to be partnered alongside seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton next season due to his eye-catching performances.
On the Red Bull Ring just two weeks ago, he sent social media into meltdown by squeezing his way into Q3 for the first time in his Williams career and securing a ninth-placed start on the grid. However, after a sensational effort, the 23-year-old missed out on the points by 1 position after being overtaken by Fernando Alonso.
When the races come around, he does tend to fall down the pecking order whether that’s due to a mistake on his behalf or the team. With that in mind, we may see the Brit have a sensational Friday night qualifying but could find himself further down the grid for Sunday’s race as a result of Saturday’s sprint.
My bold prediction for the race winner has got to be Lando Norris. I believe if he can put his McLaren towards the front of the grid, he could be in a great place to take the top step on the podium.
So far this season, he has shown the world that he can find himself on the second row, podiums, and even challenge the elite drivers. In only his third Formula One season, Norris has stepped up to another level and is the only driver to have scored points in every race so far.
I believe that his race weekend will be decided by the two front runners of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. With Hamilton trailing 32 points in the championship, a poor qualifying session may force him into a risky move that may take the championship leader out of the race.
Although that may be considered far-fetched, if a mistake is made by any of the top five in any session this weekend, Norris will capitalize and cement himself as one of the favorites to win the 2021 Silverstone Grand Prix.
Top 10 Prediction for the F1 British 2021 Grand Prix: Verstappen, Hamilton, Norris, Gasly, Perez, Sainz, Ricciardo, Leclerc, Vettel and Stroll.
So, there you have it, these are my thoughts on the 2021 British Grand Prix. Do you agree with my thoughts on the Grand Prix? Leave your opinion in the comments below!