This weekend is a good start for the British Grand Prix domestic crowd favorite Lewis Hamilton. He thrilled an 86,000-strong crowd at Silverstone Circuit on Friday as he took on the pole position of the hard-fought Spirit Race on Saturday.
The British Grand Prix is introducing an experimentally new qualifying format this year, with the three-part qualifying taking place on Friday instead of Saturday. The early Friday session sets the grid for Saturday’s 30-minute sprint race, which in turn sets the starting grid for its main Sunday time slot for the Central Grand Prix.
Hamilton took his Mercedes to the line just 0.075 rushing from the red bill of championship leader Max Werstapen, and the crowd cheered. The defending world champion will lead the pack for the first time in the F1 sprint race as he goes straight around Silverstone for 17 laps on a straight charge.
The Mercedes team brought the latest information this weekend, and they clearly managed to close the gap on the Red Bull, which has dominated the last five races. Voltaire Botas took the second Mercedes car to the third position, while Charlie Leclerc of Fary came in strong fourth position.
Sergio Perez’s second Red Bull was only fifth, with Macaulay’s Lindo Norris disappointing sixth in his first-row match in Austria. His partner, Daniel Ricardo, finally qualified behind him.
Meanwhile, a new hometown hero was born after George Russell placed his Williams in eighth position. The crowd was enthralled by the young Bert Trump, Ferrari’s Carlos Sons and Austin Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, who finished with the last ten positions.
Mercedes will have a good race weekend, and an opportunity to break the pace of the Red Bull. Hamilton needs to get his championship campaign back on track, or Verstappin risks expanding that gap.
The Dutchman is closer to winning his first World Championship title, and Hamilton will have to fight hard to win a record eighth title. The new Spirit Race format shakes things up a bit, but the two title contenders are still neck and neck. Either way, this race will be a treat for fans, with bonus races available to watch on Saturdays. It remains to be seen how this will affect the weather as a whole.