The Race to Silverstone: Baku and Barcelona Grand Prix Review
The Race to Silverstone is proving very interesting this year, with drivers and teams having a variety of highs and lows. For British fans Lewis Hamilton will be their tip for the top, however, in 2018 it seems the competition is much closer.
As you may know, Atlas Helicopters has an exclusive VIP arrivals lounge for our charter flights to Silverstone. It is a great way to enter the circuit, avoiding all delays and giving you time to refresh before heading to the track.
We’ve already taken delivery of the delightful English sparkling wine from Hambledon Vineyard that is served all day, but who will we be toasting at the end of the British Grand Prix? Here’s our review of the last two Formula One Grand Prix – Azerbaijan and Spain
Hamilton Back to Winning in Baku
Following on from a dramatic start to the season where Ferrari looked like they might be challenging Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship and five-time world champion Sebastian Vettel had flexed his muscles at the top of the standings, there was mounting pressure on Lewis Hamilton to defend his title.
There has been an ongoing issue this season with the temperature of the Mercedes tyres, causing the drivers a lot of stress and resulting in some unfortunate pit stops that have given up places to the Ferraris.
In Azerbaijan the team looked no closer to solving this problem, and unfortunately the heat on the tyres resulted in a heartbreaking end to the race for Valtteri Bottas, who had looked primed to win from the start, but who suffered a puncture just a few laps from the end, and was forced to give up the podium spot to his teammate.
Hamilton, though happy he’d won, acknowledged that it was an unfortunate event for Bottas and that he hadn’t driven the way he wanted to, and expressed concern that the team’s tyre problems weren’t over.
When Red Bulls Collide
Red Bull, though, had far more to be concerned about than tyres following the Baku race. Both Verstappen and Ricciardo were forced to retire after they had been racing each other throughout – Ricciardo attempted a risky overtake right towards the end of the race, and Verstappen’s reaction caused a terminal collision which took out both cars in a total disaster scenario.
Vettel, too, after a long and hard-fought race, attempted a risky manoeuvre to get past Bottas at the last second and as a result, went wide and gave up two positions to end up fourth.
All in all, no driver will remember that race as one they were particularly proud of, but it did bring Hamilton up to take the lead in the drivers’ championship, and it paved the way for a tense GP Barcelona, in which there were suddenly a lot of drivers with something to prove.
Pain or Gain in Spain?
This time, Hamilton’s victory was confident and assured. He led out from pole in a processional race, holding first with ease, and for Mercedes the stars finally aligned. The new rubber they tried on the tyres worked perfectly for them, fixing the issue they had had with operating windows; they made the right decision pitting only once; and Hamilton’s confidence issues were behind him, leading him to take an easy victory in Spain.
Ferrari, on the other hand, took a gamble which didn’t pay off. They decided to pit Vettel twice, and this mistake ended up costing him, going from second down to fourth, and he was unable to pull it back. It was a risky strategy, but one which unfortunately left the German off the podium and stretched Hamilton’s championship lead to 17 points.
Mercedes Stretch Their Lead
Raikkonen also failed to perform, meaning that Mercedes took their first 1-2 of the season and firmly clinched their hold on the Constructors’ Championship lead, while Verstappen claimed his first podium of the season in the Red Bull, redeeming himself slightly after the disastrous crash in Baku.
The next race takes place on a classic track, in the beautiful city of Monaco. As we begin to get towards the mid-season and the points are adding up, every race counts, and Ferrari will be looking to step up their game. Hamilton will hope to recreate his confident victory from Barcelona, but Vettel and Bottas definitely will not let him take it without a fight.
Silverstone On the Horizon
It looks like it will be an excellent weekend at Silverstone and you could avoid all delays and arrive in style with a helicopter charter. With Atlas Helicopters everything is arranged for you along with an exclusive VIP arrivals lounge to make the British Grand Prix even more memorable.