Formula 1 is gearing up for its second race in a row at Silverstone at this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, with all eyes on Pirelli following a series of dramatic failures last Sunday.

F1 tyre supplier Pirelli will be at the centre of attention at Silverstone after both Mercedes drivers and the McLaren of Carlos Sainz suffered front-left punctures in the final three laps of last weekend’s British Grand Prix.

After launching an urgent investigation, Pirelli concluded that the failures were caused by “extremely long use” after drivers made early stops under a Safety Car triggered when AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat had a high-speed crash on Lap 12 following a right-rear tyre failure.

A combination of unusually long stints, increased speeds of the 2020 cars, and Silverstone’s demanding nature on tyres created what Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola labelled as a “perfect storm”.

Isola has downplayed concerns about Pirelli moving a compound softer for this weekend and confirmed the Italian manufacturer will stick with its original decision to use the C2, C3 and C4 range in the hope of creating a more varied and exciting race.

Pirelli is confident there will be no extra risk caused but is stipulating increased minimum tyre pressures “to reduce the stress on the construction”, while plans to test a 2021 prototype tyre have been abandoned to provide teams with more time to understand the softer range of compounds.

In another preventative measure, Silverstone has installed a new 23-metre section of kerb at the exit of Becketts after a number of drivers reported cuts in their tyres after Friday’s practice running.

But with temperatures forecast to be even hotter this weekend, will it be enough to avoid a repeat of the late drama of last weekend?

Can Hamilton make it back-to-back home wins?

Lewis Hamilton has the unusual opportunity to boast the achievement of claiming two victories at his home track in the same season this weekend.

The Briton remarkably held on for victory in Sunday’s race despite suffering a puncture on the final lap as he limped home to claim a seventh British Grand Prix victory. Hamilton now has the chance to make it 8 wins at Silverstone, and seven in the last eight years.

Hamilton extended his lead at the top of the 2020 championship to a massive 30 points after Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas haemorrhaged points to the six-times world champion by losing a comfortable second place due to sustaining his own tyre blow-out with three laps to go.

The Finn will be desperate to hit back this weekend to avoid surrendering further ground to Hamilton in the title race after suffering three consecutive defeats.

Bottas was close to Hamilton’s pace in the race but paid for losing out in the battle to land pole position in qualifying, and then being overly cautious in the race on the run into Turn 1, having made the better start of the two Mercedes drivers.

Bottas will find some comfort knowing that he was able to beat Hamilton to pole around this circuit last year, and will be aware that is where he needs to improve at F1’s second race at Silverstone to give himself the best chance of ending Hamilton’s recent streak of momentum.

Albon and Vettel under pressure

Alex Albon is finding himself coming under mounting pressure, despite being repeatedly backed by Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

The Anglo-Thai driver was once again well off the pace of teammate Max Verstappen and struggled to his second Q2 elimination on the bounce as he could only qualify 12th for the British Grand Prix.

Albon then collided with Haas racer Kevin Magnussen at the end of the first lap and was slapped with a penalty that resulted in him dropping to the rear of the field. His blushes were only spared by a crazy end to the race which enabled him to finish eighth, while Verstappen took yet another podium in second.

Albon is in need of a clean, trouble-free weekend if he is to avoid more question marks being raised about his position at Red Bull.

Another man looking to bounce back after a sorry weekend is Sebastian Vettel.

The four-time world champion Ferrari driver endured a woeful weekend that concluded with a 10th-place finish for his efforts and getting beaten by slower cars, as his teammate Charles Leclerc again outperformed his SF1000 to seal an impressive fourth in qualifying, which he converted into a second podium of the year on Sunday.

Vettel concluded something “doesn’t stack up” over the struggles he faced with his troubled Ferrari throughout the first Silverstone round, a weekend that began on the back foot after he was plagued by reliability issues throughout all three practice sessions.

When is the 70th Anniversary GP on TV?

Friday August 7

Free Practice 1: 11:00am-12:30pm

Free Practice 2: 3:00pm-4:30pm BST 

Saturday August 8

Free Practice 3: 11:00am-12:00pm BST

Qualifying: 2:00pm-3:00pm BST 

Sunday August 9 

Race: 2:10pm BST

Recent winners at Silverstone:


2020: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 
2019: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2018: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
2017: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2016: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2015: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2014: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2013: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2012: Mark Webber (Red Bull)
2011: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
2010: Mark Webber (Red Bull) 

 

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