The Race To Silverstone and the British Grand Prix
Who will be leading the pack at Silverstone when the flag drops at British Grand Prix on 8th July? As you will read below the Silverstone weekend is the highlight of the year but will Lewis Hamilton be the leading driver. Here is our review of the Formula One® season so far.
Halo to Real Racing Season
Coming hot off the end of last season, the first three races of 2018 have been fast and furious. Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are both looking to defend their titles from the previous season, and after Shanghai things are already looking dicey, as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel leads Hamilton by nine points while his team is a solitary point behind Mercedes in the constructor’s championship.
It’s been a wild ride already to get us to this point. The first race of the season, as always, kicked us off in Melbourne, Australia. Prior to the race, the officials announced a new DRS zone on the circuit, and it was also the debut of the “halo” which has been introduced to the cockpit this season to enhance driver safety.
Hamilton qualified on pole but quickly lost the top spot to Vettel, as Mercedes didn’t realise the short distance between Hamilton and his rival when ordering him to pit, and the German came out ahead.
There was then a safety car due to a double retirement from the Haas drivers, leaving only a few laps for the order to change, and Vettel was able to ease it home. At the end, Daniel Ricciardo came close to snatching the last podium position from Kimi Raikkonen, but the Aussie was unable to clinch it and the final finish was Vettel – Hamilton – Raikkonen.
Bad Breaks in Bahrain
Two weeks later the drivers were in Bahrain, and Mercedes were looking to challenge Ferrari’s superiority in the first race. They were disappointed, though, as Vettel qualified on pole with Raikkonen second, and though Hamilton and Bottas took the next two positions, Hamilton was forced to start in 9th place after changing his gearbox, which already spelled trouble.
The top of the grid was relatively untroubled at the start of the race, though early on both Red Bull drivers had to retire from the race, the first time it had happened in 8 years.
The drama came during the pit stop when Kimi Raikkonen ran over a mechanic and broke his leg. This awful event snowballed dramatically, as Raikkonen was forced to retire as a result of the incident and Vettel could no longer pit due to the injury.
Therefore, he was forced to finish out the race on soft tyres going 30+ laps longer than they should have. Mercedes took the opportunity and pushed up into second and third, Hamilton doing an excellent job of moving up the field, but despite Vettel’s tyre situation, Bottas couldn’t quite overtake, so Ferrari still managed to keep the top spot.
However, Mercedes were now eyeing the top spot more so than ever before, and Red Bull had something to prove after having both drivers retire.
Red Bull Suffer in China Crash
At the most recent GP in China, Ferrari took the first row of the grid, Mercedes the second and Red Bull the third. Raikkonen lost position early and dropped to 4th behind Bottas and Verstappen, then later Ricciardo pushed into first place with a great pit stop.
After a collision at the hairpin by the two Toro Rossos, the safety car was brought out, further delaying any chance for Raikkonen to reclaim the podium spot. Towards the end of the race, though, Verstappen collided with Vettel and knocked him from second place down to eighth, meaning that Bottas and Raikkonen moved up behind Ricciardo.
It remained this way until the chequered flag, with Vettel losing out and scoring only 4 points. Since Verstappen was subsequently given a penalty for causing the crash, Hamilton was bumped to 4th which cut Vettel’s lead down to 9 points, pushing Mercedes ahead in the Constructor’s by a single point.
The Race To Silverstone Continues…
So it’s all to play for in Azerbaijan and eventually to Silverstone on July 8th. Both Mercedes and Ferrari are looking very strong this season, with Bottas shining as brightly as Hamilton, and Raikkonen putting up excellent finishes despite his unfortunate situation in Bahrain.
Any one of the four drivers for these teams could easily win the Championship, not to mention the two Red Bulls who are hot on their heels and eager to prove themselves after retiring the second race. Ricciardo certainly put the top teams in their place in China, so it will be interesting to see if Red Bull can continue to challenge them.
It looks like Hamilton is still on form though, so coming up to Silverstone, if he continues to perform, perhaps we will get to see another home win for the British peoples’ champion.
You could fly into Silverstone for the British Grand Prix with Atlas Helicopters. You’ll arrive at an exclusive VIP lounge in a sparkling mood and after complimentary refreshments, you’ll be taken track-side. If you want the ultimate seats on the circuit, look at the amazing Paddock Club™ package, which this year see Red Bull opening their own Club too.
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