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After a fortnight’s hiatus, Formula 1 kicks back into action this weekend, for Round 10 and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
As the crowds return to the stands of the historic circuit in Northamptonshire, a near-full capacity of 150,000 fans are set to flock to the jewel in the crown of many a British sporting summer.
But this particular British GP will be just a little a bit different. Not only because of Red Bull’s current stance of dominance, but also the introduction of new a week race weekend format, which should add further fuel to the 2021 season fire.
Hamilton desperate for home revival
Lewis Hamilton will be starting to starting to feel an element of helplessness, as the Mercedes man goes in search of the magic eighth World Drivers’ Championship this season.
Indeed, after winning three of the first four races this campaign, all has not been going to plan with Red Bull having asserted a Mercedes-like grip at the top of the standings.
With the Milton Keynes outfit now on a run of five race wins on the bounce, Hamilton will be desperate to revive his chances, now with a deficit to Max Verstappen of 32 points – the Dutchman having won three-in-a-row.
A far of from irreversible tally of course, but which makes a rare venture back to home shores all the more vital for the Stevenage driver.
Looking rather out of sorts and most importantly pace in amongst the battle with Red Bull, Hamilton however, can look to history for potential favours this weekend.
Having won at Silverstone on no less than seven occasions, the Briton has taken the chequered flag in the British GP every year since 2014, except to Sebastian Vettel three years ago.
Hamilton clearly revels on home tarmac. If you then add the likely partisan home support and those statistics mentioned, both Hamilton and Mercedes will be glancing at this weekend with hope.
Barren hunting ground for Red Bull
As if to point to the stars perhaps aligning once for Hamilton and co, Mercedes tally of seven wins from nine at Silverstone since 2013, is almost completely unopposed by their current superior rivals.
“I’ve been better, I can say that. I’m not in perfect condition, I’m not going to lie, some work to do mentally. Of course I talk about that a lot, mental health. Mental strength is very important. I’ve not been sleeping that great and so on. So it’s not ideal and I’m feeling a bit a sore.
“I think one of the best things has been being able to come to Silverstone and get my mind off it and focus on a different job. I’m sure I’ll be alright tomorrow.
“Already [the fans] have been pretty awesome. I did some laps earlier in a car and the grandstands were already full, like on the start-finish straight, chanting and so on, so it was nice to get that feeling back – we’ve missed that for such a long time.”
Silverstone rings in the changes
Not only will the British GP see the return of fans to the stands around Silverstone, but also, the introduction of a brand new concept that will see its maiden outing this weekend.
For the first time in F1, initial qualifying will take place on Friday for the first-ever Sprint race on Saturday. Classification in that will then determine the grid for Sunday’s race proper.
The sprint part of the weekend will see a 100 km, 17-lap race, decide the starting order for Sunday, whilst additionally, awarding points to the top-three finishers.
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