Race starts at 2:10 pm UK time/9:10 pm Malaysia time

The final race of the first three-in-a-row series in Formula 1 is the British Grand Prix which takes place at Silverstone in England. This is the 69th F1 World Championship British Grand Prix and one of two ever-present races on each year’s calendar, the other being the Italian Grand Prix. The British GP has also been held at the Aintree and Brands Hatch Circuits in earlier years but Silverstone has hosted the event the most times (52).

The wide-open spaces of Silverstone couldn’t be more different to the undulating Red Bull Ring which the drivers raced around last weekend. The circuit is a driver favourite, with a barrage of fast, flowing corners, of which high-speed Copse and the ultra-quick changes of direction through Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel are the standouts.

That said, ever since Silverstone adopted its new ‘Arena’ layout in 2010, extra variety has been added to the circuit, with the intricate low-speed infield section offering a choice of racing lines and also complicating the set-up decisions teams have to make.

Silverstone is one of the easiest circuits on the F1 calendar for braking but one of the toughest on tyres, the unrelenting sequences of high-speed turns putting vast amounts of lateral energy into the rubber. Accordingly, the tyres available are the ice blue hard compound tyre which is brought to a race for the first time.

With the circuit having recently been resurfaced, this weekend’s tyres will also be the thinner-gauge tread variant, as used in Spain and France. This is designed to reduce surface overheating and the type of blistering which heavily influenced the outcome of last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

However, Lewis Hamilton, who will start from pole position for the fourth consecutive year, expressed unhappiness about the new surface which he criticised for being very bumpy.

And although he grabbed pole position, he said the lap was the toughest lap he ever had to do in a qualifying session. “That lap took everything out of me. I had to go over the limit to get that time out of the car and I could have easily not pulled that lap together, so I’m thankful that I was able to do it. With the speeds we’re going now and the g-forces we’re pulling, I think it’s going to be the most physical race of the year,” Hamilton said.

“This track has many nice parts and the grip has increased with the new tarmac,” said Kimi Raikkonen who qualified for third place on the starting grid behind Sebastian Vettel. “The resurfacing of the track made it a bit bumpy, in a few small spots, but all the time you feel it chattering all around the track. It’s a bit funny but in the end, it’s better than it used to be.”

Coming to Great Britain, both championship tables are very tight. Sebastian Vettel has retaken the lead in the Drivers’ Championship, ahead of Lewis Hamilton by a solitary point. The odds are on Hamilton winning his home race again as he won the last four times.

Ferrari’s double podium, combined with Mercedes-AMG’s double failure to finish in Austria, has likewise changed the order at the top of the Constructors’ Championship, with the Italian team now 10 points ahead of their rival. It is notable also that 9 races into the 2018 season, Ferrari, Mercedes-AMG and Red Bull each have had 3 victories so it’s still hard to predict the outcome for this year’s team champion.

[Chips Yap]

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