And they’re off
Vertstappen away well but Hamilton holds off him and Bottas. Leclerc goes well too. Hamilton leads. Leclerc and Verstappen change position. Hamilton-Bottas-Verstappen-Leclerc. Ricciardo overtakes Norris who is also behind Sainz. Hamilton is well clear.
The tyre covers are off and the formation lap can begin. The engines are revving and off they go for a final look at Silverstone before it’s business time.
The race is imminent, though there will be no Nico Hulkenberg.
Michael Cosgrove emails in: “How does the layman think of F1 these days’ you ask. From a dedicated layman here in France. I’d love to see much more competition for the podium of course, and I fully understand the frustration of the many aficionados who are demanding rule changes, the finer details of which I would not understand may I add, but at the end of the day, for people like me it’s all about simply watching these beautiful machines in action, admiring the drivers’ skills, enjoying the odd thrills and spills, trying to understand the finer tactics of the teams as the race progresses, and generally enjoying the experience in our little way. That’s just what us laymen do. We might not know everything, and we may not have expert opinions to offer, but I would venture to say that without us F1 wouldn’t be the same.”
The Racing Point team are working hard on Nico Hulkenberg’s car. The bottom is off the car. Will he be able to take his place on the grid? It seems unlikely….oh, it’s off. That was a wasted journey. What a disastrous few days for Racing Point.
The British national anthem is sung by one lone singer, which is something of a poignant sight. A Spitfire has just done a fly-past to thank the NHS. What better way to thank the NHS than a warplane?
Nico Hulkenberg, who has stepped in for Sergio Perez as he self-isolated after a positive test for coronavirus, seems to have a problem with his Racing Point car in the garage. Much of the rest of the drivers’ cars are now in situ on the grid. Hulkenberg was due to start 13th on the grid but he seems likely to have start the race from the pit lane. He had to make a mad dash from Germany to take Perez’s seat and it would be a nightmare if he wasn’t able to start at all.
Giles Richards spoke to Red Bull’s Alex Albon this week.
This event is the first British GP since the loss of Stirling Moss.
From the archive: David Coulthard on driving Silverstone.
There is no faster sequence anywhere in the world than the run through Copse, Maggotts and Becketts. You have to have the bit between your teeth in order to get hooked up and drive quickly. It all starts at the very first corner of the lap and it pays to watch the cars going through Copse and appreciate their speed. Even for me as a driver, when I take a moment to watch, I think, ‘Fuck, that’s impressive.’ There aren’t many corners like Copse in the world. And Silverstone has four.
You approach Copse at 180mph in seventh gear. The only reason you come off the power is to get the deceleration necessary to accept sixth. The corner itself would be seventh gear, but the reduction of speed through the actual cornering forces means you would be too low on revs on exit if you stayed in seventh. That’s one of the difficulties for the driver.
Sky Sports talking of having the fans back at Silverstone next year. Does that seem hopeful? A little at this stage but let’s hope they are right. Some nice footage of Nigel Mansell with the fans in any case. Those who couldn’t make it this year can at least rest their eardrums.
How does the layman think of F1 these days? Lots of expensive cars rev their engines and then Lewis Hamilton speeds away and wins the race. That’s been about the size of it for the last few years. Still, though, this is the British Grand Prix, in the first half of a double-header at the venerable old track; remember when it was going to get banished from the schedule? Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas tied up the front row of the grid for Mercedes in qualifying with Max Verstappen for Red Bull in third and then Charles Leclerc in fourth, which was a better performance from Ferrari.
It’s a cloudy and windy day in Northamptonshire, and it’s the midfield battle which may well throw up the most intrigue with Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari at tenth on the grid. Lando Norris, Britain’s latest petrolhead ingenue, is in fifth in his McLaren. That’s where the action is likely to be.