Hi folks...

No sooner have we had the French Grand Prix, than Formula 1 comes to Britain - and I always get really excited about seeing 'the circus' head to Silverstone.

We have had 'Mansell-mania', 'Hill-mania' and now we are on the verge of 'Hamilton-mania', so the weekend looks like being extra-special.

As a Brit, I have some fond memories of racing at Silverstone and the home fans really do give you a boost.

They will have an extra reason to cheer this year too as, not only will it be the first opportunity for them to see Lewis Hamilton compete in F1 on home soil, but there will also be three other British drivers to follow, with Jenson Button coming in fresh off the back of his first point of the year with Honda, and Red Bull Racing's David Coulthard and Super Aguri's Anthony Davidson also in the field.

I really think it is going to be a great race, on one of the last circuits on the calendar that is really quick. It is a real challenge for the drivers, and one that requires them to get the best compromise possible to make the most of the long straights and be quick enough through the tight infield.

Of course, one of the biggest unknowns with the British Grand Prix is the weather and, if recent conditions are anything to go by, it could be well worth packing a brolly if you are going!

If you haven't got a ticket, there are still some available, so pick up that 'phone because the atmosphere should be even better than usual!

Even if the sun doesn't shine, a wet race may be just what we need to spice things up and, who knows, we might even have a British winner.

We have certainly had to wait a while for that but, hopefully, this will be seventh time lucky, as the last time a Brit stood on the top step of the podium was when DC managed it with McLaren back in 2000. That seems like quite a long time ago now.

This year, McLaren-Mercedes will again be one of the favourites, along, of course, with Ferrari.

Going on what happened in Canada and the USA, Hamilton and Fernando Alonso both look well placed, but Magny-Cours showed just how quickly things can change.

In North America, it appeared as if the Scuderia was on the back-foot, but that was definitely not how things were in France. In fact, it was almost a complete reversal.

Kimi Raikkonen really seemed to be back on form - and, boy, did he need that win. The 'ice-man' really seemed to gel with the F2007 last weekend and that could prove to be bad news for McLaren - and, of course, those hoping that Lewis will win his home race first time out.

Felipe Massa was also impressive in the sister Ferrari and only lost out to Kimi due to a combination of the fact the Finn was superior on his out-laps and because, at least according to Massa, back-markers cost him time.

Don't underestimate Felipe though, because he has shown already this year that he is very much a contender - and it is great to see Ferrari allowing there two drivers' to fight. We didn't see much of that when Michael Schumacher was around, did we?

All in all though, Ferrari definitely seems to found something and although the margin to McLaren may not be as big as it seemed - as the strategy Ron Dennis' squad adopted wasn't especially successful - there is no doubt the tifosi will be a lot happier.

Further down the field, I was impressed again by BMW Sauber - and Robert Kubica definitely made Lewis work for that final spot on the podium.

As I predicted last time, Kubica wasn't affected at all by his monster crash in Canada, and for the Pole to lead home a four-five finish for BMW, ahead of team-mate Nick Heidfeld, showed just that.

BMW continues to make progress and get good points and, if McLaren or Ferrari slips up, will be there to punish them.

That's just what happened to Alonso in France as, after gearbox problems in Q3 left him tenth on the grid, he struggled to make any headway in the race. While he did make some - and entertained us all with that great fight with Heidfeld - in the end he had to settle for seventh and two points, which will be far less than he will have wanted.

The fact he also finished behind former Renault team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella won't have made it any easier to bear and, with Lewis third, he lost further ground to the Brit, who increased the gap in the drivers' championship to 14 points.

I should also mention Jenson, as it was great to see him and Honda finally bring it home and get off the mark.

I really hope now that Honda can build on that and that it will give everyone at Brackley a boost. Thus far, the team has had a truly awful season and this may be the sign things are on the up.

As for the others, Heikki Kovalainen may well have done well, but we will never know, as Jarno Trulli and he had there little coming together on the first lap, effectively ending both of their races. Trulli said it was his fault and I'd have to agree with the Italian on that one - sorry Jarno!

Both could score points this coming weekend, however, assuming they don't have problems again at the start.

Probably the most bizarre incident I have seen for a while though was Christijan Albers heading down the pit-lane with the fuel hose still attached to his Spyker. Thankfully no-one was injured, but I'm sure it left Albers a bit sheepish. He will want to make amends this time out.

So, to my prediction. While my head tells me that it is too close to call, I'd probably still opt for Kimi or Felipe to take the victory, based on France. However, that's just one race and, besides, in my heart, I'd like to see Lewis do it and take win number three.

Whatever happens, Hamilton will leave as championship leader and, now that we are passing the half-way point, that is truly remarkable.

Enjoy the race - nearly nine down, eight to go... and don't forget to fly those Union Jacks.

MB

 

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