Following a thrilling Canadian Grand Prix that saw Max Verstappen earn his maiden Canadian win, racing resumes in Silverstone.
While Red Bull have slowly started to build a lead in both the Championships, Ferrari’s strong weekend in Montréal makes for an exciting weekend in the UK. Add to that the fact that Mercedes will finally be able to put their upgrades to use on an orthodox circuit, and we might just have more than two teams fighting for the win.
There’s plenty to play for in Silverstone. Here’s a look at a few things that might happen this weekend.
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Ferrari’s found pace
It was a what-could-have-been weekend for the Scuderia in Canada, with Carlos Sainz just missing out on the win and Charles Leclerc showing tremendous pace to charge through the field to finish fifth after starting from the back of the grid.
After starting the season with a bang, both Leclerc and Ferrari had a healthy lead in both the Championships until the race in Imola, where it all started to go wrong for the Italian team. Since the Imola race, either due to reliability issues or team errors, Ferrari have taken four poles but haven’t managed to convert any of them into a win, which means Red Bull and Max Verstappen have managed to build a substantial lead in both the Championships. Verstappen has built a 49-point lead in the Drivers’ standings, which has seen Leclerc go from having a 34-point lead to currently being in third position, behind both the Red Bull drivers. To make matters worse, Ferrari have also lost their Constructors’ lead and Red Bull now have a 76-point lead over the Scuderia in the standings.
That said, it’s not the end of the road for Ferrari just yet, as there is still more than half of the season left. More importantly, Ferrari had a clean weekend in Canada, with both of their cars having demonstrated strong pace without suffering from any reliability issues. Leclerc, who took new power unit components in Montréal, started the race from the back of the grid, which hampered his chances of winning or fighting for the win, but he did put in a brilliant recovery drive on Sunday to finish fifth. His teammate, Carlos Sainz, who started third, also showcased brilliant speed on race day and almost managed to snatch the win from Verstappen. Following a late safety car, Sainz, who pitted for a fresh set of tyres, was easily the fastest car on the grid for the final 15 laps, and it took every bit of defensive skill from Verstappen to keep the Spaniard at bay.
Heading to Silverstone, on the back of a solid weekend in Montréal which saw them limit damage in the title fight, Ferrari will be optimistic. The pace they exhibited in Canada once again shows that the Scuderia have the fastest car on the grid; if they can get on top of their reliability issues, they will be hard to beat.
Given that they have won six on the trot and lead both the Championships, Red Bull might be favourites going into the Silverstone race, but do expect Ferrari to take the fight to the Austrian team; they might just beat them too. A win for Leclerc will not only put him right back in the title fight but also make amends for the heart-breaking loss at the same venue twelve months ago.
Pole prediction: Max Verstappen / Charles Leclerc
Win prediction: Red Bull / Ferrari
True show of Mercedes upgrades
The 2022 season has seen Mercedes in a bit of a no man’s land. While they don’t have the pace to fight Ferrari and Red Bull for the wins, they have been comfortably ahead of the rest of the midfield scrap.
The Brackley-based team just couldn’t get on top of their porpoising issues in the last race, which saw them lose out on performance. They did, though, bring in some big upgrades in Spain, which seemed to have put them in the right direction. Since then, however, Mercedes have suffered a couple of rough weekends in Monaco and Baku — two street circuits that didn’t really do justice to their upgrades. While Canada was no better for the reigning Constructors’ Champions, it did see Lewis Hamilton back on the podium, while George Russell managed to finish a strong fourth.
Heading to Silverstone, which has a more orthodox racing track, the British race should prove to be a true indicator of the upgrades brought to Spain and how far Mercedes have come. Hamilton had a solid weekend in Spain and would have finished fourth had there not been a technical issue that mandated him to hold back for the final two laps. The strong pace in Spain should be an optimistic sign for the German team, and heading into the Silverstone race, Mercedes should be in the fight with Ferrari and Red Bull. It would be daft to expect them to dominate the field straight away, but even keeping up with the front two teams should be considered a strong step forward for them. Expect Mercedes to go well in Silverstone and even take a shock result should the front two teams get affected by any unforeseen incidents.
Alfa Romeo and Alpine look to climb up the midfield
Apart from the Red Bull-Ferrari fight up top, two teams who have regularly impressed each race weekend have undoubtedly been Alpine and Alfa Romeo, with the latter having taken huge steps forward from where they were last season.
Alfa Romeo managed a total of 13 points last season; they already have 51 this season after eight races. The Swiss team had shifted their focus to develop the 2022 car early in 2021, and the results are showing. Alfa Romeo have been regularly in the points for most of the races. In fact, they should have had more points had it not been for some reliability issues. Bolstered by a rejuvenated Valtteri Bottas and a strong rookie in Zhou Guanyu, the Swiss team are one of the stronger midfield teams. A non-reliability-laden weekend in Canada saw both cars finish in the points, and after showing strong pace in Montréal, the Swiss team will be looking for another good haul of points in Silverstone. Should there be no reliability issues or other unforeseen incidents, expect Alfa Romeo to score big.
Another team who have enjoyed a strong start to the 2022 season along with Alfa Romeo are Alpine. The French team have also been one of the stronger midfield teams and, had it not been for a couple of unfortunate retirements and dubious decisions by the stewards, they could have been sitting pretty in fourth in the Constructors’ standings. Esteban Ocon heads to the UK on the back of five consecutive scoring performances, while the veteran Fernando Alonso showcased what he can do with a worthy car. He put in a stunning qualification in Montréal to start on the front row beside pole-sitter Max Verstappen, making it his first front-row start since 2012.
Both Alonso and Ocon have made the most of the Alpine car’s potential and should be in for another strong weekend in Silverstone. Should there be any incidents up front among the leaders, expect Alpine and Alfa Romeo to be at the right place and at the right time to make it a memorable weekend.
Dark horse for podium: Alfa Romeo / Alpine
Race details: When and where to watch (India)
Circuit: Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone
Venue: Silverstone, United Kingdom
Practice Session 1 time: 17:30 (IST), 1 July 2022
Practice Session 2 time: 20:30 (IST), 1 July 2022
Practice Session 3 time: 16:30 (IST), 2 July 2022
Qualifying time: 19:30 (IST), 2 July 2022
Main race time: 19:30 (IST), 3 July 2022
Where to watch: Star Sports Network | Disney+ Hotstar