After a one-week break following a relentless opening trio of races, Formula 1 returns to action this weekend with the British Grand Prix. 

It will be the first of two rounds to take place at Silverstone, marking the first time in history that the UK will hold back-to-back F1 races over consecutive weekends. 

The Silverstone double will be directly followed by the Spanish Grand Prix on August 16, forming the second triple-header of what is proving to be an already jam-packed revised calendar which has finally got underway after the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As has been the case at the opening Austrian, Styrian and Hungarian Grands Prix, both Silverstone races will be staged as ‘closed events’, meaning spectators will not be allowed. 

F1, Silverstone, and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton have urged fans to stay away from the Northamptonshire circuit during the race weekends due to the stringent health and safety measures enforced by the sport. 

“It’s going to be super weird,” Hamilton commented when asked about the prospect of racing at Silverstone without his home crowd. 

“The British Grand Prix is the best grand prix, particularly because of the fans, the thousands that turn up and create the spectacle.

“It grows every year and I get to interact with the fans differently on that weekend. It’s such an honour and privilege to be able to perform well and win a grand prix in your home country.

“The atmosphere [at races this season] is night and day different and it’s something I’m still coming to terms with.”

Mercedes look to continue winning run 

Mercedes comes into the event off the back of three successive victories which have placed the team in pole position to land an unprecedented seventh straight world championship double this year. 

Hamilton, fresh from claiming two wins on the bounce in Austria and Hungary, holds an early five-point advantage over teammate Valtteri Bottas in the championship and is seeking his seventh triumph at Silverstone - where he has been victorious five times in the past six years. 

Despite making a 100% winning start to the campaign, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff remains wary about getting carried away at such an early stage of the season. 

“We've had a good start to the season: we resolved the issues that troubled us on the first weekend, won three out of three races and scored a good amount of points,” Wolff said ahead of the British Grand Prix. 

"But the first three races have also highlighted another crucial factor: the importance of reliability in this shortened season.

"We're one of only two teams that have finished all races with both cars this year and we know how quickly a DNF can make a lead in the points disappear.

"It's a good reminder to us all that we have to stay vigilant and that even the smallest mistake can cost us many points.” 

Mercedes has so far proved the team to beat in the opening three rounds, claiming dominant wins ahead of nearest rivals Red Bull, which has been hampered by an apparent inherent aerodynamic flaw. 

Red Bull has carried out a technical reshuffle heading into the first Silverstone round by bringing Simon Rennie back into its trackside team as Alex Albon’s new race engineer. 

Wolff stressed that Mercedes’ impressive record at Silverstone counts for little heading into this year’s double-header, adding: “We enjoyed very good results at the British Grand Prix in recent years, but we all know Babe Ruth's famous quote: 'Yesterday's home runs don't win today's games’.

"There's no entitlement to a good result because you had a strong showing in the past, on the contrary: a successful race will always be the result of the hard work of every single team member and we will have to bring our A-game to stay ahead of our competitors.” 

Changes at Ferrari after dismal start 

Ferrari has slumped into F1’s midfield in the early races of the 2020 season after taking the wrong aerodynamic approach with its latest SF1000 design and suffering a significant loss in straight line speed over the winter. 

The Italian outfit has subsequently announced a restructuring of its technical team, launching a new ‘performance development department’. 

Team boss Mattia Binotto has been backed in his role by Ferrari chairman John Elkann but warned there will be no quick fix to the Scuderia’s troubles as it looks to further continue its understanding of its 2020 car this weekend. 

“It’s the first high speed track of the season and it is vital that we use the two races we have here to improve our understanding of the car,” said Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies. 

“We know that from a pure competitiveness point of view it will be difficult, but we need to focus on acquiring the best information possible so that we can develop our car in the right direction.

“It is certainly a character building start to the season but we know that we can count on our team, our drivers, and our fans, to fight back as a united group. 

“There is no magic formula to turn things around quickly and there’s a lot of hard work ahead of us, which is what we are here for.” 

When is the British GP on TV?

Friday July 31 

Free Practice 1: 11:00am-12:30pm BST

Free Practice 2: 3:00pm-4:30pm BST 

Saturday August 1

Free Practice 3: 11:00am-12:00pm BST

Qualifying: 2:00pm-3:00pm BST 

Sunday August 2 

Race: 2:10pm BST

British GP Pirelli tyre allocation 

Pirelli is bringing two different tyre selections for the Silverstone double-header. 

This weekend’s British Grand Prix will see the C1 (Hard), C2 (Medium) and C3 (Soft) compounds in action, before Pirelli goes one-step softer (C2, C3 and C4) for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix one week later. 

In addition, during the first half-hour of the second free practice session at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, all the teams will have the chance to test unmarked 13-inch prototype slick tyres to help with the development of the 2021 tyres.

Recent British GP Winners: 

2019: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2018: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
2017: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2016: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2015: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2014: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2013: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2012: Mark Webber (Red Bull)
2011: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
2010: Mark Webber (Red Bull) 

 

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