Hi folks...

Formula 1 heads to the Nurburgring this coming weekend, but before we focus on that, I just want to say I thought the event at Silverstone two weeks ago was great.

There was a sensational turn-out and the British public really supported all the British drivers - and a lot of that was, of course, led by Lewis Hamilton, dubbed 'Hamilton mania' by the press.

Overall it was a very good race too and it was a pleasure to see Silverstone at capacity.

Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen obviously come out top there - much to Lewis' disappointment and the home crowd - and the question now is can they make it three wins in succession at the 'ring?

The Scuderia definitely had the strongest package throughout the whole weekend at Silverstone.

Felipe Massa may have taken the win though had he not had to start from the pit-lane, because his pace in traffic was outstanding. I am not sure that it will be three in a row for Raikkonen this Sunday then - but I would not be surprised to see it be three in a row for Ferrari.

The Maranello-based outfit have definitely stepped forward in the last two events and the progress made is evident for everyone to see. Ferrari will need to pick up on that now though and try and see if they can make some in-roads into the championships.

McLaren will also want to try and respond to try and get back on a level-pegging. Ron Dennis' team have to pick up some more pace because it was plain the performance of the MP2-22 has been lacking.

It was interesting to hear Lewis Hamilton say after the British GP that he needs to up his game - or words to those affect.

He understands that he is still very limited in experience and he is getting to the point now where the biggest race for him will have just come and gone with Silverstone. That should take a bit of pressure off his shoulders.

But he now understands and realises what is needed to try and get into a championship winning situation. He is in the middle of it and he has just had the first blip - although it was a blip by his standards, which are very, very high.

He probably didn't have the best opportunity to use the car throughout the last grand prix weekend, because he hadn't tested at Silverstone before the event and maybe that accounted for some of the inconsistency. I wouldn't be too worried though. He is a tough guy and he will work even harder as he has said.

McLaren will also be up for this event, not least because it a home event for Mercedes.

It is the same for BMW too and even without Michael Schumacher, the home fans will have plenty of things to cheer about.

They will also have four drivers to support too, including BMW's Nick Heidfeld and with Germany only holding one F1 race this year I am convinced there will be a good turn-out.

BMW have been going very well - even leading up to this event at the recent Spa test they have been very competitive, so Nick should do something.

Can BMW challenge the top two though? Well that is a very difficult step to make. They have made a huge amount of progress so far this season and the next step is the last one which will put them in a position to battle for grand prix wins.

That is the hardest one however and it won't happen overnight but we have seen a steady rate of progress made.

Maybe now that we are halfway through the season things might start to change slightly. We will have to see if BMW maximise the potential of their latest developments for the F1.07.

After BMW, Renault is coming back. Heikki Kovalainen has now got 'his feet under the table' and is a bit more confident and stable within that team. Maybe there are some strengths coming from that. The team are a bit more harmonious.

They seem to be making some technical progress too and that all bodes well for Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella.

It's a shame we can't say the same about Honda because it was disappointment all round for them at the British GP. Following Magny Cours they seemed to think they had found a little something but that didn't seem to manifest itself at Silverstone.

They are still trying to understand where they go next, although saying that some changes are already being made, some new technical staff have been brought in - and hopefully that will start to have some impact, although it probably won't be felt until next year.

Of the rest, Red Bull Racing, Williams and Toyota also didn't do much last time out either.

Toyota did do well in qualifying and got both cars in the top ten but we have seen that time and time again over the last few seasons, namely that they can turn in a good time over one lap. It just seems that the car is lot weaker when it comes to the race. We have come to expect that.

The Williams car is still doing a reasonably good job and the pace in the race was pretty good.

Alex Wurz seems to be having a bit of a struggle behind the wheel though - especially in qualifying.

As for Red Bull, I expected more and it hasn't quite come together. They seem to be having some reliability problems as well and that must be frustrating for David Coulthard, Mark Webber and all concerned.

There's never usually much to say about the bottom three teams, although Spyker have made some headlines after dispensing with the services of Christijan Albers.

The reason given was due to 'commercial difficulties', but I am sure his performance - or lack of it at times - was at the forefront of their minds as well. Maybe they felt it should have been better. Obviously the financial situation will have had an affect too. Ultimately they have done what they have done and they now need to replace him.

Whether that will turn out to be a good move depends on who they put in the car. If they put somebody in the car that has been out of an F1 car for a season or so and has not been testing an F1 car then it will probably hinder them. If they put somebody in that is current and up to speed with the current cars though then it should be advantageous, especially if they have got experience of driving a different grand prix car or a few different grand prix cars.

In short then, the way to go forward would be to put someone in the car that has a depth of experience - something that you can draw from.

We will have to see what decision making process they go through to bring in their driver of choice. Christian Klien and Narain Karthikeyan have both been mentioned. If it was me I would go with Klien - if that was the two choices available - because he has got a lot more experience available to him.

So to my prediction for the event and as you have probably guessed I am edging towards Ferrari - and while Kimi will probably take the pole, I am going to go for Massa for the win with the 'iceman' having to settle for the runners-up spot ahead of Hamilton. After that I'll pluck for Alonso, Kovalainen and Kubica.

Enjoy the race...

MB

STOP PRESS - STOP PRESS.

I have been asked a lot about the spy row in recent weeks - and days, and it is clear it is getting more and more complicated as each day goes by.

The complexities of it are a little bit bewildering because it seems as if there are more and more people involved - and more and more things keep coming out of the woodwork.

We are going to get down to fine line detailing when it comes to the sequence of events, dates, the people involved and that is going to take a period of time to establish.

It is a bit like a movie. We are watching it unfold and every scene seems to be getting a bit more interesting - and a bit more intense.

I hope it is all resolved soon, preferably at the World Motor Sport Council meeting following this weekend's European GP. Fingers crossed it doesn't have any bearing on the battle for the championships - I want that to be decided on the track.

 

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