Can Mercedes’ upgrades bring them closer to front?
Qualifying update: Carlos Sainz has claimed the pole position for Sunday’s race. Notably, the is the first time he’s ever claimed a pole in his career. Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc followed in qualifying. Here’s the full starting grid.
Formula 1 returns to one of its most iconic circuits this weekend for the British Grand Prix. For multiple drivers and over half the teams, Silverstone is their home track and perhaps the spiritual home of F1. Last year’s British Grand Prix saw a massive flashpoint between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in what proved to be a season made for TV drama.
But so much has changed in the year since. Max Verstappen now dominates the standings while Red Bull looks on course to take their first Constructors’ Title in nine years. And it’s not Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes they are battling, but a resurgent Ferrari. While they’ve drifted recently, Silverstone should be a track Charles Leclerc sees success. Mercedes enters with a pair of British drivers for the first time and hoping new upgrades see them challenging not only for the podium but the top step.
Earlier this week reports broke that ESPN will secure a new contract with F1 at the end of this season. The growing popularity in America is expected to see the annual fee jump from $5 million to $75 million.
Verstappen (175) controlled the Canadian Grand Prix two weeks ago, extending his lead to 46 points. The gap grew thanks to his teammate’s breakdown (Sergio Perez, 129) and the nearest rivals behind the Red Bull pair — Charles Leclerc (126) and George Russell (111) — finishing off the podium. With Austria up next, a Verstappen stronghold, Ferrari and in particular Leclerc need a big response at Silverstone on Sunday.
While Ferrari technically gained in Montreal by three points thanks to Perez’s issues, Red Bull maintain a solid lead, 304 to 228. Mercedes continue to occupy third rather comfortably (188), with the interesting battle back in 4th. McLaren’s (65) top four spot looks under considerable threat this season with Alpine’s (57) impressive straight-line speed and Alfa Romeo’s (51) new and productive driver pair.
The 5.89 km (3.66-mile) circuit surrounds the old Royal Air Force Silverstone airfield and has been the home of British racing for over 70 years. First used as the opening Grand Prix of the 1950 season, the current version of the track features 18 turns and two DRS zones. Known for its high-speed corners and multiple passing opportunities, Silverstone often offers up a thrilling race. Lewis Hamilton has won the British Grand Prix a record eight times and is one of 10 English drivers to win the home event.
DraftKings Sportsbook is offering odds on the race. Max Verstappen remains the overall favorite at -105 after winning five of the last six Grand Prix events. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc follows at +220, but then rather than the Red Bull or Ferrari teammates, it’s Lewis Hamilton at +900. Back at his home track boosts his odds beyond what the Mercedes has been able to deliver so far this year. If you are looking for longer odds, but an inspiring story, could George Russell (+1,200) or Lando Norris (+10,000) pick up their first-ever F1 wins at the British Grand Prix?