British Grand Prix Preview

Hamilton bids to make British Grand Prix history

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes are locked in an intense battle for the Drivers’ Championship, with just over half of the season still remaining.

The British Grand Prix at Silverstone is race 10 of 21, and defending world champion Hamilton will be confident of closing the gap on the current leader at one of his favourite hunting grounds.

Lewis Hamilton British GP winner @1.71

Hamilton is a five-time winner of the British GP and a victory this weekend will see him set a new outright record and make him the most successful driver in the history of the race.

The Briton has won the last four editions of the race and his success at Silverstone marked a real turning point in his campaign last season. Hamilton won the 2017 British GP with a grand slam as he started from pole, lead every lap, set the fastest lap and won with a 14-second lead over Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

That victory seemed to inspire the 33-year-old as he went on to win five of the next seven races, ultimately landing the title with two GPs to spare, in what turned out to be a bit of a procession.

The four-time world champion could do with a repeat this year as he trails Vettel by on point going into this weekend’s race and given his success at Silverstone in recent years he is a legitimate favourite.

However, there are a few reasons to be cautious in regards to Hamilton and Mercedes.  The Silver Arrows have dominated since the V6 turbo era began, but this year their rivals seem to have closed the gap and they are coming under real pressure from Ferrari, while Red Bull have also improved even if they are not quite at the same level as Mercedes and the Scuderia.

Mercedes have made a few major and uncharacteristic strategy errors in 2018, perhaps most notably last time out when team strategists failed to react to the imposition of the virtual safety car in Austria. As it transpired Hamilton’s race was ended by engine troubles so those mistakes were essentially inconsequential – but there can be no denying that was a real warning sign for the team and they will be desperate to make sure the British GP runs smoothly.

Sebastian Vettel race winner @ 4.90

Ferrari’s Vettel is next in the betting and as the championship leader he is a genuine contender but his record at Silverstone isn’t particularly impressive.

The German star secured his second ever race victory in the British GP nine years ago but that remains his only Silverstone success to date. Vettel did manage two podiums between 2010 and 2013, when he won four successive Drivers’ Championship titles, but since then he has managed just one further top three finish.

Vettel’s title bid this season has been characterised by consistency rather than eye-catching performances and as Silverstone is a track he tends to struggle on he is probably best avoided as a race winner bet this weekend, although a podium could be on the cards as he looks to keep the pressure on Hamilton below him in the standings.

Valterri Bottas race winner @ 7.00

Hamilton’s team-mate is yet to claim a victory this season, although Bottas was cruelly denied an Azerbaijan GP win after running over debris as he was forced to retire with just two laps remaining.

The Finn has been consistently outperformed by Hamilton since joining from Williams and with his contract up at the end of the season could do with a victory as he attempts to earn a new deal. Silverstone would be the ideal venue to make that statement and he does have a solid record at the British GP with two second placed finishes, in 2014 and last season.

However, Bottas was so far behind Hamilton last season it wasn’t even a contest and it is hard to see him finishing ahead of his team-mate this year. The world champion is so good on his ‘home’ circuit you would back him to beat any rival in the same car, and with that in mind Bottas is best avoided unless you’re considering an each-way bet.

Daniel Ricciardo race winner each way @ 11.50

A bit further down the field Red Bull star Daniel Ricciardo stands out despite the face he has only ever picked up one podium finish at the British GP. The Australian is having a solid season with two race wins and he has been ‘best of the rest’ a few times with fourth place finishes, with Mercedes and Ferrari largely dominating the podiums.

Fellow Red Bull driver Max Verstappen also appeals at 7.50 and he did finish in fourth in the 2017 British GP, one place ahead of his team-mate, but at a bigger price Ricciardo looks better value as an each way bet.

Carlos Sainz race winner each way @ 951.00

Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are on a different level to their competitors as those teams have managed 26 of the 27 podium finishes available so far this season. Silverstone is necessarily the best circuit for an upset but with the odds on the other drivers so huge it could pay to be bold and Sainz of Renault has been a consistent performer all season.

The Spanish driver has finished every race and has picked up points in seven of the nine grands prix so far. Sainz’s best finish in 2018 is fifth place but if any of the leading contenders slip-up or suffer technical issues he looks a good candidate to take advantage and his performances this season suggest he will claim a maiden podium before the season comes to an end.