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It’s back-to-back action for F1, as the series visits its “home track”, Silverstone. Here is everything you need to know about the legendary British GP layout. Make sure to also check our F1 predictions and the odds for the British GP weekend.
British GP Layout: Where Tradition and Modernity Meet
Similar to many other famous British tracks such as Croft, Snetterton and Thruxton, Silverstone was built on what used to be an old RAF airfield. While the track layout underwent minor re-designs from time to time, the original airfield outline remained largely unchanged.
In a bid to host MotoGP, the track underwent a major change ahead of the 2010 F1 race. The section between Abbey and Brooklands gave way to the new Arena section – a four-turn, 759-meter complex. The start-finish straight was also moved to what used to be the back straight. Abbey thus became the new turn 1, while Copse was “relegated” to the slightly more anonymous turn 7 moniker.
Drivers start their lap down the Hamilton Straight, named after the seven-time champion. Without lifting, the cars take a quick flick to the right for Abbey, and then turn left to take the long Farm corner flat out.
The first real braking point comes on turn 3, Village, a slow right-hander, which is followed by the slowest corner on the track – the Loop, a tight left-hander. Drivers then continue through Aintree, a sharp left-hander that is taken flat out and launches the car into the Wellington Straight.
Next up comes Brooklands, a long, medium speed left-hander that is immediately followed by Luffield, a right-hander with a very wide radius. Drivers can take multiple lines through this section, which usually leads to some overtaking opportunities.
Exiting Luffield, drivers emerge down the back straight and head towards the famous high-speed section. Almost flat out, they turn the wheel slightly to the right to take Copse. With only a slight lift of the throttle, the cars go through the blinding fast Maggots complex, a right-left-right sequence of challenging high speed corners.
Drivers then tap the brakes to take Beckets, a long right-hander. They then flick the wheel slightly left to take Chapel, a flat out corner that leads to the long Hangar Straight. Braking as late as possible and without scrubbing too much speed, drivers turn right to take the fast Stowe corner.
Following a short straight, the cars go heavy into the brakes for the Vale, a tight left-right sequence that leads to Club, the sharp final corner just before the main straight. Getting this tricky final section right and carrying as much speed as possible out of Club is absolutely crucial.
Silverstone Circuit DRS Zones: Two Long Straights and Some Massive Slipstream
Silverstone has retained its identity as a fast circuit with long straights. Two of those, the new Wellington Straight and the old Hangar Straight, serve as the DRS zones for the British GP layout.
The first DRS zone becomes available shortly after the start of the lap, with the detection point located just before turn 3. If the chasing car manages to close down the gap through the Village-Aintree section, it will get a major tow down the Wellington Straight. With some bravery under braking, the first DRS zone provides a big overtaking opportunity into the Brooklands-Luffield complex. Watch out for the different lines though, as this section of the track does give the leading car a chance to defend.
The second DRS zone is located on the Hangar Straight, which also happens to be the longest straight in the British GP layout. Its detection point is located a long way back, on the second leg of Maggots (turn 10). The chasing car must keep up with the leading car through the entire Maggots-Becketts complex, but will be rewarded with a massive tow down Hangar Straight. It’s perfectly possible to complete the overtaking move on the straight itself and well before Stowe (turn 16), such is the difference in speed.
Silverstone Racing History
|1950||Giuseppe Farina||Giuseppe Farina|
|1951||Jose Froilan Gonzalez||Jose Froilan Gonzalez|
|1952||Giuseppe Farina||Alberto Ascari|
|1953||Alberto Ascari||Alberto Ascari|
|1954||Juan Manuel Fangio||Jose Froilan Gonzalez|
|1956||Stirling Moss||Juan Manuel Fangio|
|1958||Stirling Moss||Peter Collins|
|1960||Jack Brabham||Jack Brabham|
|1963||Jim Clark||Jim Clark|
|1965||Jim Clark||Jim Clark|
|1967||Jim Clark||Jim Clark|
|1969||Jochen Rindt||Jackie Stewart|
|1971||Clay Regazzoni||Jackie Stewart|
|1973||Ronnie Peterson||Peter Revson|
|1975||Tom Pryce||Emerson Fittipaldi|
|1977||James Hunt||James Hunt|
|1979||Alan Jones||Clay Regazzoni|
|1981||Rene Arnoux||John Watson|
|1983||Rene Arnoux||Alain Prost|
|1985||Keke Rosberg||Alain Prost|
|1987||Nelson Piquet||Nigel Mansell|
|1988||Gerhard Berger||Ayrton Senna|
|1989||Ayrton Senna||Alain Prost|
|1990||Nigel Mansell||Alain Prost|
|1991||Nigel Mansell||Nigel Mansell|
|1992||Nigel Mansell||Nigel Mansell|
|1993||Alain Prost||Alain Prost|
|1994||Damon Hill||Damon Hill|
|1995||Damon Hill||Johnny Herbert|
|1996||Damon Hill||Jacques Villeneuve|
|1997||Jacques Villeneuve||Jacques Villeneuve|
|1998||Mika Hakkinen||Michael Schumacher|
|1999||Mika Hakkinen||David Coulthard|
|2000||Rubens Barrichello||David Coulthard|
|2001||Michael Schumacher||Mika Hakkinen|
|2002||Juan Pablo Montoya||Michael Schumacher|
|2003||Rubens Barrichello||Rubens Barrichello|
|2004||Kimi Raikkonen||Michael Schumacher|
|2005||Fernando Alonso||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|2006||Fernando Alonso||Fernando Alonso|
|2007||Lewis Hamilton||Kimi Raikkonen|
|2008||Heikki Kovalainen||Lewis Hamilton|
|2009||Sebastian Vettel||Sebastian Vettel|
|2010||Sebastian Vettel||Mark Webber|
|2011||Mark Webber||Fernando Alonso|
|2012||Fernando Alonso||Mark Webber|
|2013||Lewis Hamilton||Nico Rosberg|
|2014||Nico Rosberg||Lewis Hamilton|
|2015||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton|
|2016||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton|
|2017||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton|
|2018||Lewis Hamilton||Sebastian Vettel|
|2019||Valtteri Bottas||Lewis Hamilton|
|2020||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton|
|2020*||Valtteri Bottas||Max Verstappen|
|2021||Max Verstappen||Lewis Hamilton|
|2022||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Carlos Sainz Jr.|
*70th Anniversary Grand Prix
The 1950 race was also the first in F1 history, with Gisueppe “Nino” Farina winning from pole. Silverstone has seen some famous moments involving the two members of the exclusive seven-time club.
In 1998, Michael Schumacher had to serve a stop-and-go near the end of the race. Cleverly exploiting a loophole, the Ferrari driver got into the pits during the final lap. Since Ferrari’s pit box was located after the start-finish line, Schumacher won the race and then served the penalty. McLaren protested the result, but a series of mistakes by race control ultimately led to Schumacher retaining the win.
In 2020, Hamilton held a colossal lead over Max Verstappen entering the final lap. The race had already seen a fair share of front left punctures, and Red Bull chose to pit its driver as a precaution. Hamilton picked up a puncture on the final lap, but was able to wrestle his three-wheeled Mercedes to the line, as Verstappen’s late stop had cost the Dutchman over 30 seconds.
The following year, F1’s first ever sprint was marked by one of many controversial clashes between title rivals Hamilton and Verstappen. The Dutchman started on pole following a qualifying race win. Hamilton then attempted a zero-percentage move into Copse and the pair made contact, with Verstappen flying into the wall at high speed. The Mercedes driver, meanwhile, only picked up a minor five-second penalty. Hamilton went on to win the race in highly controversial fashion, pulling off a last lap pass on Charles Leclerc.
Last year’s race saw Carlos Sainz Jr. score his long-waited first (and so far only) win. The Spaniard started from pole, lost the lead to teammate Leclerc, but went on to regain it on a late restart as Ferrari opted not to change Leclerc’s tyres. At the time, Sainz held the record for most points scored without a win.
What Lies Ahead for 2023
The European leg is going to be fruitful for Red Bull, and a nightmare for the rival teams. Silverstone joins the list of high speed, downforce dependent tracks that suit the RB19’s biggest strengths. Verstappen will likely be the man to beat for yet another weekend.
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