Finally, Mercedes’ dominance this season has taken a slight blip. Between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, they’d shared top spot at each of the opening eight Grand Prix’s, with the former winning six of them, and it was a breath of fresh air to see 21-year-olds Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc taking first and second respectively in Austria.
In fact, with Sebastian Vettel overtaking Hamilton on the penultimate lap, the Briton’s fifth-place finish was his lowest since also coming fifth in the Canadian GP over a year ago now.
However, that Spielberg performance a fortnight back looks more of a mere blip than anything serious, with Mercedes’ only real weak point dealing with high temperatures.
It was a major factor in the roasting 35 degree heat as an overcooked engine left them cruising rather than racing, but Silverstone is expected to be a far cooler and more manageable 19 degrees.
Hamilton returns to home turf having won four of the past five editions and it’ll be hard to stop him picking up a record sixth title at Silverstone.
In fact, the only time he failed to secure pole position followed a spin off at the third corner last year, coming from the back of the field to secure second place in what was a monumental performance, so it’s clear he likes the turns around the Northamptonshire course.
Ferrari still can’t be discounted in this race either, given their record 16 titles at the British Grand Prix, and combined with the pace they showed last time out in Austria, we have to get behind either Leclerc or Sebastian Vettel.
The former may have shown up his more senior experienced team mate in June, but we don’t expect that to continue with the German a proven performer around these turns in England and he’ll be giving everything to retain his title from last year.
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