Prix-View: The British Grand Prix

F1PPA few short days after leaving Austria and the Red Bull Ring, Formula One returns with Round 10 of the 2017 FIA F1 World Championship: the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

The two circuits are very different: the short, undulating Styrian track has little in common with the flat, wide open spaces of the former airfield in Northamptonshire. While both are sensitive to power, this week’s race features more fast changes of direction and places a greater emphasis on downforce.

From the beginning of pre-season testing, this race has been regarded by many as the first chance to test the extremes of performance available with the new aerodynamic regulations and wider tyres. Quite how many genuine corners the circuit will have this year is a matter of some debate, with most drivers of the opinion that the extra downforce and grip of the 2017 cars will allow several of Silverstone’s famous turns to be taken flat out.

Silverstone’s abundance of high-speed comers make it a driver favourite but also one of the season’s toughest tests for tyres. Tyre supplier Pirelli has chosen to bring the medium, soft and supersoft rubber to Silverstone. While the asphalt is not excessively abrasive, the very high lateral loads shorten the life of the tyre and therefore make the British Grand Prix less likely to favour the one-stop strategy that has been seen in recent races.

Constructors Championship 2017
Going into Silverstone, it’s advantage Mercedes.

With the season approaching its midpoint, the two Championship battles are close: the result in Austria saw Mercedes extend their small lead over Ferrari to 33 points, while Sebastian Vettel increased his advantage over Lewis Hamilton to 20 points. Following victory in Austria and strong showings in Canada and Azerbaijan, Valtteri Bottas is on the periphery of the title fight, now just 15 points behind Mercedes team-mate Hamilton.

Drivers Championship
Vettel enjoys a 20 point lead – but Hamilton is closing in fast.

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