British GP
July 6 - 8, 2018
Silverstone Circuit
Race Winner
Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari
1:27:29.784
2 Pits
British GP
SESSIONSRESULTTIME
Free Practice 1
HAM
1:27.487
Free Practice 2
VET
1:27.552
Free Practice 3
HAM
1:26.722
Qualifying
HAM
1:25.892
Race
VET
1:27:29.784

British Grand Prix preview: Can Max Verstappen join the championship fight?

A catastrophic weekend for Mercedes in Austria opened the door for Red Bull's Max Verstappen who claimed his first win of the season ahead of the Ferraris.

Focus on... Is Max a genuine championship threat?

A month ago Max Verstappen was the villain of the Formula One world. No matter how hard the young Dutchman tried, he just couldn't seem to string a weekend together without some sort of mistake or collision with another driver.

From the opening race in Australia to round six in Monaco, Verstappen threw away more points than anyone else on the grid - including potential wins in Shanghai and Monte Carlo. In fact after the Monaco Grand Prix, Verstappen found himself 75 points behind at-the-time championship leader Lewis Hamilton and 37 adrift of teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

However, ditching his entourage for last month's Canadian Grand Prix paid immediate dividends with a more measured Verstappen driving to a third place finish in Montreal before going one better in France. Last week's win in Austria saw him close the championship gap to 53 points as F1 prepares for the British Grand Prix -- the final race of an unprecedented back-to-back-to-back.

Since joining Red Bull in 2016, Verstappen is averaging a third place finish at Silverstone and another podium this year could see him catapulted back into the championship conversation. Red Bull may not have the quickest car in 2018 but the 20-year-old is convinced their best circuits are yet to come.

"We are back in the game," Verstappen said after his win in Austria. "The tracks we've had so far were not our best, except for Monaco, but we have a few good ones coming up." 

Whether you're a fan of Verstappen or not, the thought of him being a part of the championship fight is surely enough to get you excited.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing and The Netherlands  during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring.
Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing and The Netherlands during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring.
Peter Fox/Getty Images

In need of a win? Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel can consider himself very fortunate to be leading the world championship after the Austrian Grand Prix.

Mercedes looked set for a dominant one-two after comfortably locking out the front row at the Red Bull Ring but a rare strategy error followed by a double mechanical failure saw Vettel turn a potential 27 point deficit into a one point advantage.

Despite regaining the lead in both championships its becoming clear that Ferrari has fallen behind Mercedes in terms of raw pace. Since Vettel's win in Canada, the Silver Arrows have introduced both an engine and aerodynamic update which appears to have given them a significant advantage.

The Scuderia is not exactly on the back foot but a return to the top step of the podium could be important from a mental standpoint as Vettel and Lewis Hamilton continue to duel for glory.

If there was ever a time to put an end to Hamilton's home dominance it's this weekend for Ferrari.

In need of points? Stoffel Vandoorne

McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne scored points in three of the first four races this season but hasn't been able to add to his tally in the past five outings with the Belgian's best result since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix a P12 at Paul Ricard two weeks ago. 

Teammate Fernando Alonso had rough Sundays in Monaco, Canada and France but hit back with an eighth place finish at the Red Bull Ring to take his season's points haul to 36, a figure which is currently dwarfing Vandoorne's eight.

With so much talk that Alonso could be set for an exit at the end of the season, now is the for Vandoorne to show McLaren what he's capable of or risk the team looking for a complete driver overhaul in 2019.

Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium and McLaren F1 talks with his engineer Tom Stallard on the grid before the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria.
Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium and McLaren F1 talks with his engineer Tom Stallard on the grid before the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria.
Charles Coates/Getty Images

Tyre talk

Available compounds: Hard, Medium and Soft

Pirelli's pointers:

  • Silverstone is one of the most demanding circuits of the year when it comes to tyres, mainly because of the series of long and fast corners that puts plenty of energy through them.
  • The track has been completely resurfaced this year, resulting in faster asphalt with high grip but low degradation.
  • Despite the softest tyre selection made to date at Silverstone last year, Hamilton still won the race using a one-stop strategy.
  • The track is quite heavily used during the year, so it tends to rubber in reasonably quickly.

Minimum starting pressures: Front 24psi, rear 22psi

Weather forecast

It's set to be uncharacteristically warm all week in central England with temperatures expected to reach 29C from Thursday through to Sunday.

While it will be overcast, the chance of rain at any point over the race weekend is just four percent. Having said that, would anyone really be surprised if it bucketed down!?

Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes claimed the 2017 British Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes claimed the 2017 British Grand Prix.
Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images

Betting

All the money is for Hamilton with punters expecting the Brit to make it five consecutive wins on home soil. A Hamilton win is paying 10/11 while a Vettel victory is 3/1 -- the longest odds the German has had since the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Fresh from his win in Austria, Verstappen has shortened in to 5/1 much more fancied for the win than teammate Ricciardo at 10/1.

Haas enjoyed its best weekend in Formula One last time out in Austria. If you think either Romain Grosjean or Kevin Magnussen can score another top six finish, 15/8 can be made.

ESPN's prediction

His recent home record is simply sublime so expect Hamilton to bounce back quickly from his Austrian heartache.

Winner: Lewis Hamilton

Bonus prediction: Sebastian Vettel to miss the podium