If Daniel Ricciardo looks at the recent winners’ board for the British Grand Prix he’ll take some encouragement; Silverstone has suited the Red Bull car, with its aerodynamic design very effective in high speed corners to the extent that the team has won the race in three of the last five years.
However, last year we got the first warning signs that Mercedes was on the rise with Lewis Hamilton leading until hit by a tyre failure and Nico Rosberg winning the race.
This year Mercedes has won all but one of the eight rounds, with Ricciardo winning the odd one out in Canada.
Williams has come on strong lately and both Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas had chances to win in Canada and Austria. Silverstone will probably be a bit more of a challenge for them, but they’d be my ones to watch outside the Mercedes pair.
Silverstone has the fastest corner combinations on the F1 calendar and is loved by the drivers, but it can be a real headache for the engineers and strategists, as it shows up aerodynamic instabilities and it can be very difficult to get a good reading on the tyres, especially as there is usually some rain during the practice sessions.
This year the teams have not spent much time on the hard compound Pirelli tyres. They have been used only in Malaysia and Spain, where they were around 4/10th slower per lap than the medium tyres.
What we saw in Spain was Nico Rosberg trying a “Plan B” approach to strategy, having lost the start to his team mate Lewis Hamilton.
Whichever Mercedes driver finds himself behind in the opening stint may well try this option in Silverstone.
Last year there were over 70 overtakes, so it’s a lively old race. And with an 80% chance of rain on Saturday and a 60% chance on Sunday, the good old British weather will play it’s part.