The Silverstone British Grand Prix is here! Just days away until the most exciting race of the season (not that we are biased or anything)!
How Silverstone Began!
At the end of the second world war, Britain was left with an abundance of air fields but no race tracks. But that was something that could be fixed. The runways and roads in the air fields were soon adapted and Britain once again had a race track. Silverstone was here! On 2 October 1948, the Royal Automobile Club hosted the first British Grand Prix at this former RAF base!
They estimate that over 100,000 people attended this first race at Silverstone. A track that would become the home of triumph and victory for so many drivers! The first to start this run of success was Luigi Villoresi and his defeat of 22 other drives on this historic day in racing history.
The 1950’s brought more firsts for the Silverstone track. As King George VI became the first reigning monarch to attend the British Grand Prix. He was their to witness the first ever Formula One Grand Prix Championship to take place at Silverstone. Giuseppe “Nino” Farina driving for Alfa Romeo became another driver whose name can never be forgotten in the story of Silverstone!
Over the decades there have been many changes made to the Silverstone circuit. But one thing that has never changed is the fact it's one of the fastest tracks in formula one! And some of its corners provide the drives some of the greatest challenges of any circuit in the world. To this day parts of the track still represent its RAF heritage. The names of sections and corners are in honour of the greatness that surrounds the track. Abbey at turn one was named after the ancient Luffield Abbey, the remains of which were found near to the corner. Whilst Wellington Straight, the fittingly named straight section is formed from one of the old runways. This section takes its name from the Wellington bombers that were based at the Northamptonshire circuit during World War Two.
As the drivers set off on this 5.891 km track they hit Abbey Corner first. This immensely fast right hand corner that is approached at 300km/h kicks off the thrills of the race in the early stages. From here it's the village corner that puts their skills into action and is a real test for the formula one cars. The accuracy of the breaking point is essential as this tricky corner comes with the potential to lose lots of time.
As the drivers come out of this corner they need to launch themselves back across to the other side of the track ready to hit the loop. This long left-handed open hairpin, is the slowest point in the race. But as the drivers fly out of the other side into the Aintree corner. It's once they hit wellington straight they have their chance to get their speed and time back.
With all this excitement and tension halfway round the track, know wonder the British crowd are famous for going wild in the stands!
As the race continues the drivers fly in to Brooklands, on to Luffield and Woodcote before they head round Copse corner at turn 9. Then the highlight of this side of the track. The most iconic interlinked sequence of corners. Hitting the Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel set at almost 300km/h! The drivers have their skills put to test. Twisting and turning this stretch alone would be difficult for anyone at these speeds. But to also dodge each other and anticipating who is going to break where. This is a next level skill needed to ensure they make it out in front as they soar out of chapel in to Stowe and Vale. Before they finish the lap off at club corner!
Round and round they go for 52 laps. But this weekend who will be the first to finish line?
As we head in to this weekends race its all on the line can Hamilton pull back the season and win on at his home track? or will Red Bull do it again? With Verstappen and Perez both at the top of the standing its hard to imagine Lewis being Mercedes best chance in this one… And maybe this year we might see new kid on the block George Russell take to the podium. Another Driver ranking higher than Hamilton but at least he might give Mercedes the chance that they need?