contributor Dan Connor discusses the allure of Silverstone, Christian Horner's OBE, Hamilton's chances and next season's potential rookies...

British Grand Prix special for everyone

Britain tends to have a knack of getting it right when it comes to sporting events. Last year's Olympic Games in London was the ultimate example, that the world enjoys coming to play sport on our shores.

From Wimbledon to the Open Championship, to the Grand National and the FA Cup final at Wembley, Britain has a glittering annual sporting calendar, and the British Grand Prix is no exception to the list.

All week we've heard the views of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Paul Di Resta and even rookie Max Chilton on Silverstone. Everyone loves their home race. To be the one, or one of a select few, who draws hundreds of thousands of supporters through the gates is a great feeling. But what makes a venue extra special is when the rest of the world relishes arriving.

The fast, flowing sections of Maggots and Becketts are among the favourites on the F1 calendar for drivers', and Silvertsone's steeped history also helps makes it special to competitors from all nationalities.

With seven of the eleven teams also based in the UK, Silverstone can be seen as a home race to many and a good opportunity to please the factory, the sponsors and fans.

Three time champion Sebastian Vettel has spoken of his love for the circuit, ranking it among his favourites of the year: "The British Grand Prix at Silverstone is a highlight of the season and one of my favourite tracks," he says.

"Only Suzuka can be compared to Silverstone, no other track on the calendar has such a sequence of superfast corners like Silverstone does. Copse Corner, Maggots, Becketts and Chapel are amongst the four best corners in Formula One, they belong together.

"You have to catch the first one perfectly, otherwise the rhythm is off for all of them and at the end, Chapel is so insanely fast. If you have driven properly in the previous three corners and the car is well tuned then you can drive through full throttle. You go through at roughly 270kph, it's really amazing. You don't have long to think about it, so just give it full throttle and go."

Silverstone is a hot spot on the F1 calendar. Other than Monaco, no other place on the calendar gets fans, drivers' and teams so excited to go racing. Silverstone is unique, and an integral part of Britain's glorious sporting offering. It's special to everyone.

Horner recognition deserved

Christian Horner was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours last week, and rightly so.

Not only has he steered a still very young Red Bull team towards three consecutive driver and constructor titles, but has had to do so in an occasionally hostile team environment.

From swapping upgrades between his drivers' cars to watching them collide on track and disobey team orders, Horner has not had it easy all of the time. He has backed the younger, more talented product in Sebastian Vettel since his arrival, but has also managed to keep Mark Webber content within the team to help contribute to the constructors' title.

Horner's biggest test may come in the near future, when he decides who will fill the second seat at Red Bull long-term. He has already recently re-signed Vettel until the end of 2015. But once Mark Webber departs the scene, who will Horner select to come in and challenge Vettel in what the German has essentially made his own team?

Hamilton can provide silver lining for Mercedes

It's fair to say that Mercedes could do with a good result at the British Grand Prix next weekend. Their tribunal verdict from their Pirelli tyre test last month was one they certainly would have taken at the beginning of it all, and a solid score at Silverstone would be a welcome break from the intense focus on the German team.

Hamilton is also the most likely of the Brits to put a smile on the faces of the public. His Mercedes is competitive in qualifying, but the rear tyre issues in the race are still denying him a chance of victory.

Hamilton didn't seem pleased at claiming third place in Canada, which seemed a little harsh for the team who often struggled to make Q3 last season. A podium is possible at Silverstone, and if the myth is true that the crowd can give you an extra couple of tenths per lap, who knows what could happen.

Either way, any good result would certainly please the Mercedes-Benz hierarchy, as they look to patch up their recently damaged reputation.

Valsecchi worthy of Lotus chance

GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi will certainly be pleased with his chances of claiming a race seat for next season. If speculation that Kimi Raikkonen is moving to Red Bull is correct, then the Italian could bank on a shot at Formula One.

Romain Grosjean has failed to improve on his form from last season, and it would be a surprise if Lotus were to retain him once again. Waiting in the wings are two talented drivers' in Valsecchi and J?r?me d'Ambrosio, who deserve a crack at the big time.

The amount of money they can bring in through sponsorship will unfortunately play a big part in their chances of getting the nod, but F1 needs exciting rookies and it'd be great to see them make it.



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