MADRID – Following a break after a jam-packed start to this extraordinary Formula One season, the drivers and teams will this weekend turn their attention to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Re-jigged due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two Grand Prix have already been held back-to-back in Austria and another has taken place in Hungary.
The Silverstone circuit, a stone’s throw from the Mercedes factory, is a favorite of British driver Lewis Hamilton, who has won the Grand Prix there six times in his career.
The Mercedes driver is the clear favorite to win the next back-to-back races there this year, competing on consecutive Sundays in the British Grand Prix first then F1’s 70th anniversary Grand Prix.
With six titles in the bag, Hamilton is on track to equal the seven world championships won by German racing legend Michael Schumacher.
This year, he has won the Styrian and Hungarian Grand Prix.
His teammate Valtteri Bottas won the inaugural Austrian Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s Mercedes car, now painted black rather than silver, has proved to be the most reliable on the circuit so far this season.
Both he and Bottas expect podium finishes at Silverstone.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff congratulated the team on the “good start to the season” but warned against resting on their laurels.
“We resolved the issues that troubled us on the first weekend, won three out of three races and scored a good amount of points,” he said.
“But the first three races have also highlighted another crucial factor: the importance of reliability in this shortened season.”
He said a DNF (Did Not Finish) can easily cost points in the leadership battle.
“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,” he added.
Mercedes nonetheless have a comfortable cushion in the constructor’s standings at this early point in the season, with a total of 121 points.
Red Bull are currently in second with 55.
In the driver’s table, Hamilton has 63 points to his name while Bottas has 58.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen follows up with 33 points.
McLaren’s Lando Norris, Red Bull’s Alexander Albon and Racing Point’s Perez follow in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, all having broken the 20-point barrier.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Racing Point’s Lance Stoll have 18 points followed by McLaren’s Carlos Sainz on 15.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel completes the provisional top 10 on nine points.
With past successes at Silverstone comes added pressure for the Mercedes team.
Wolff said ahead of the Grand Prix: “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.”