The British Grand Prix at Silverstone: F1 records and the finest moments

No preview of Silverstone would be complete without a stat attack. Here’s a definitive selection of track records and finest moments, with some insider information thrown in

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History of the British GP

The story of the British Grand Prix goes way beyond Formula 1 with its first race being held in 1926 at Brooklands as part of the AIACR World Manufacturers’ Championship.

It wasn’t until 1948 that the event came to Silverstone and two years later, it hosted the inaugural Formula 1 World Championship grand prix. Giuseppe Farina won that day in his Alfa Romeo and the British GP has not been dropped from the calendar ever since.

Its venue has alternated with Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Aintree all having their fare share, before the Northamptonshire circuit became the permanent home in 1987.

Since then, memorable moments have taken place with Nigel Mansell breaking the lap record 11 times in 1987, Johnny Herbert’s victory in 1995, but of them all, Lewis Hamilton remains king with eight wins.

Hamilton-Verstappen 2021

Last year’s race will forever be known for the shenanigans that took place on the opening lap. Max Verstappen arrived on Sunday with a 33-point lead in the championship, so Lewis Hamilton was on the back foot. The two lined up on the front row of the grid, but only one saw the end of the first lap.

At Copse, Hamilton’s front-left tyre touched Verstappen’s rear-right, which sent the Dutchman flying into the wall at a force of 51g. Hamilton was penalised with a 10sec penalty but, despite that, he produced an excellent recovery drive to overtake Charles Leclerc for the win with three laps to go. It reduced his title deficit to eight points but the fallout from that collision was huge, with the title protagonists subsequently colliding at several points during their battle in 2021.


BEST OF BRITISH

1955 British Grand Prix The race that started it all for Stirling Moss, who pipped Juan Manuel Fangio by less than a car’s length (0.2sec) to collect his maiden Formula 1 World Championship win.

1991 British Grand Prix On the final lap Ayrton Senna had ran out of fuel so Nigel Mansell, who won that day, stopped to pick up his rival and drive him back to the pits – despite the marshal’s best efforts to stop it.

1992 British Grand Prix This is when ‘Mansell Mania’ took to the track as fans ran on at Copse to celebrate the victory of the home crowd favourite. By now Nigel was well on his way to the F1 title.

2008 British Grand Prix The first of eight British GP victories for Lewis Hamilton, in his second season at McLaren, who won by more than a minute in damp driving conditions.

2020 British Grand Prix What looked to be a smooth victory for Hamilton turned into a frantic last lap with a front-left puncture on the Mercedes. His 30sec lead melted to 6sec by the finish.


KEY CORNER/TRACK CHARACTER

The Becketts complex is perhaps the most well-known part of the circuit. Approached at pace, the sequence starts with Maggotts as the driver navigates through a left-rightleft bend before tackling the right at Becketts at approximately 115mph. The complex then finishes at Turn 14 with a left kink at Chapel which is usually taken at around 150mph before going onto Hangar Straight. It is the fastest section of the track and popular with drivers. Lewis Hamilton, has previously stated that it’s his favourite sequence of corners on the entire calendar.


INSIDER INFO

Best place to watch for atmosphere  – Hamilton Straight (formerly International Pits Straight)
Where better to soak up the buzz of Silverstone than at the start/finish line to see your favourite driver cross the line to win the British Grand Prix.

Best place to watch for overtaking – Brooklands
With the potential of DRS down the fast Wellington Straight, this makes the left-handed Brooklands corner a great spot to overtake ahead of the right turn at Luffield. The view from the grandstand there is terrific and you can see the action unfold at a number of different corners.

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Ariel shot of Silverstone


TIMETABLE

Friday, 1 July Free practice 1: 1pm Free practice 2: 4pm Sky Sports F1 and Channel 4
Saturday, 2 July Free practice 3: 12 noon Qualifying: 3pm Sky Sports F1 and Channel 4
Sunday, 3 July Race: 3pm Sky Sports F1 and Channel 4


PAST FIVE BRITISH GP WINNERS

2021 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes

2020 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes

2019 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes

2018 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari

2017 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes


SILVERSTONE IN NUMBERS

1948 – First British Grand Prix

58 – Number of Grands Prix

3.67 – Circuit length (miles)

190.263 – Race distance (miles)

20 – Winners from pole

52 – Number of laps

1.27.097 – Lap record (Max Verstappen, 2020)

151 – Average speed (mph)

70% – Percentage of lap on full throttle