By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen each received at Silverstone final yr however an experimental new race format poses a recent problem for Components One’s title rivals on their return to the British Grand Prix circuit this weekend.
The most important sporting crowd in Britain for the reason that begin of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 140,000 anticipated on Sunday, will see Components One historical past made with the debut on Saturday of The Dash — a qualifying race with out pitstops.
Slverstone, the place the championship began in 1950, is the primary of three tracks that may trial a 100km half-hour lengthy sprint to determine pole place and set the grid for the following day’s foremost occasion.
“Even when… The Dash is barely the precursor to the primary occasion, I believe the drivers can be determined to beat one another and present who’s the quickest and who’s the strongest,” commented Components One’s managing director Ross Brawn.
A 3-part qualifying session for The Dash can be held on Friday as an alternative of the standard second apply, which means groups solely have one hour on observe to arrange their automobiles earlier than the aggressive motion.
A mistake on Friday is prone to carry far greater penalties now, whereas followers — absent final yr because of COVID-19 restrictions — can stay up for significant motion on all three days.
Factors can be on supply for the highest three on Saturday, which means a driver who wins each races and units the quickest lap on Sunday can financial institution a most 29.
“I’m hoping after all to come back out of that race with 29 factors,” stated Pink Bull’s Verstappen, now 32 factors away from Hamilton after profitable 5 of 9 races together with the final three.
“I hope in racing perspective it’s coming house,” he instructed Sky Sports activities tv in a cheeky nod to the soccer chant sung by England followers earlier than their crew misplaced final Sunday’s European Championship remaining to Italy.
Seven-times world champion Hamilton can be aiming for a record-extending eighth house win to regain some misplaced momentum, together with his Mercedes crew additionally bringing new elements to make the automotive sooner.
He may even be racing at Silverstone for the primary time since they named a straight after him.
Verstappen, winner of final yr’s seventieth Anniversary race when the windswept former airfield hosted two successive rounds on a pandemic-hit calendar, can even safe a sixth win in a row for Honda-powered Pink Bull.
“Mercedes have been enormously robust there over time, and Lewis has his house help as nicely. So we count on it to be an enormous problem,” commented Pink Bull crew principal Christian Horner.
McLaren’s Lando Norris will take pleasure in robust house help after notching up three podiums thus far this season and narrowly lacking out on a primary pole in Austria.
“Seeing the grandstands full and all the pieces feeling a bit extra regular is one thing I’m actually wanting ahead to,” stated the 21-year-old.
George Russell, at Williams, is the third British driver on the grid and can elevate an enormous cheer if he can rating the crew’s first factors in two years.
Components One followers may even get a glimpse of the longer term with the presentation on-line on Thursday of a life-size 2022 automotive, reflecting new guidelines designed to create nearer racing.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, modifying by Christian Radnedge)