Grand Prix 2012 British Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

After a Grand Prix in Valencia which was probably better than all the others put together it shows that F1 2012 is completely mad. For the first time this season there is a driver with 2 wins after Fernando Alonso benefited from a retirement from Vettel and any pressure from behind was gone when Grosjean lost drive not long after Vettel stopped. The big talking point came on the penultimate lap involving Maldonado and Hamilton which resulted in Hamilton being pitched into the wall and Maldonado lost a podium which seemed pretty certain as it was only a matter of time before he passed the McLaren who had fallen off the cliff.

Without the safety car it was likely that Vettel would have won at a canter as he was a long way ahead before the race changing event in the middle of the race, but he pulled up soon after the restart gifting Alonso the lead and he would keep this until the end of the race, and because of Hamilton's issues he inherited the lead of the Championship with Mark Webber's fourth place meaning he jumped up into second place. Perhaps the biggest shock of the weekend was a first podium for Michael Schumacher since his return to the sport in 2010. Both his and Webber's strategy meant they were able to come through the field and claim major points just like Alonso did as all three started outside the top 10.

Fernando Alonso's victory marks a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for Ferrari as he stormed to victory in a car which was barely faster than the midfield cars at the start of the season, but now the car is as consistently fast as the Lotuses and the McLarens, certainly in race trim anyway but not quite up to the level of the Red Bulls as shown in the early race but we've still yet to see a straight fight between Alonso and Vettel which would provide a true reflection of where the teams are at.

Once again Lotus had the pace for a victory and had Grosjean not have retired he could well have possibly claimed a maiden win for him and the team. Kimi Raikkonen spent most of the race stuck behind Hamilton which prevented him from having a shot at Alonso and by the time he got past there were just a few laps remaining and claimed a comfortable second place which he said underwhelmed him, although since when has he ever been anything but that!?

Looking ahead to the British Grand Prix the atmosphere will once again be fever pitch as McLaren could well be in their best position yet to compete for victory with the high speed corners suiting the MP4-27 and knowing the British summer it could well be a cool day which will suit the car even better and both Hamilton and Button will be fighting for the win. Jenson Button has had a horrid record at Silverstone with no podium finishes in the 12 years he has been driving in Formula One. Hamilton has a better record with podiums in 2007 and 2010 and a famous win in the wet in 2008 where he destroyed the competition.

I know that quite a few members from this site are going to the grand prix and I hope that you all have a great weekend, providing McLaren can nail down their pit stops there is a very good chance that a British driver could be at the top step of the podium, or who knows, if Lotus can finally find the sweetspot then perhaps an eighth winner can be on the cards!

For Galahad's brilliant circuit write up -
Getting (more) excited now, only 10 days before we're in the car on the way there. We've got seats in the Becketts grandstand this year, so I should be able to avoid getting soaked in the inevitable downpour :). Since I have a proper camera now I'll get some better pictures than last year - I'll share them after the weekend.

As for the race I have no idea who will win (who does?) - should be a good one though. :)
I wouldn't be surprised to see Hamilton or one of the Red Bulls win, that McLaren took pole position at Catalunya by some margin and they have updates for Silverstone. Although Red Bulls improvements did seem to put them ahead of the field in Valencia, I wouldn't be surprised to see Maldonado in the mix again either... I also hope Caterham's further updates really bring them in contention with the midfield.
I sincerely hope it pisses with rain in the vain hope that Silverstone can provide us with an interesting race (sorry to all those planning to go). There are some great motor racing circuits here in the UK and we are stuck with the lifeless soul that is Silverstone to represent Britain's offering to the pinnacle of motor sport. The saddest thing is that the changes made to the haven't improved it over the circuit used in the 80's, just made it worse.

Ho hum, let's hope for a Valencia like Phoenix arising from the ashes of previous bore fests that Silverstone has offered up.

I have to agree with your assessement of Silverstone. We attended the DTM race at Brand's a few weeks ago, and it reminded us why it has always been one of our favourite circuits. Too bad the British GP doesn't alternate between there and Silverstone.
I think Mercedes could be strong here, it looks as if it will be colder in Silverstone.

Otherwise I cannot pinpoint a team or driver to excel here, as Red Bull seem to do really well when temperatures are high, same with Lotus.

As for McLaren, they are the uncertainty. Ferrari are always there or there abouts.

I think Lotus have lost their chance of victory now, with the Red Bull so strong in the conditions that they are good in, then I don't think there's much of a chance.

Bouillier must rue their missed chances in Bahrain and Spain.
I think Silverstone's brilliant! The fantastic (almost flat) Abbey corner, leading to some great overtaking opportunities, then as we go round the lap we zoom through the wonderfully fast Copse corner, with the superb Maggots/Becketts (where you don't brake) leading out on to the long straight that is hangar, leading to another great overtaking opportunity that is Stowe. All whilst being steeped in tradition.
Rain or shine i think we could have a cracking race! I hope it's wet with Alonso out to bunch up the standings again! And hopefully Caterham can get a point!
One of the things that I used to do on test days was to go and stand where they came out of the bridge. The sound was pretty well masked until they popped out, then you were just hit by the blast as the cars hurtled away.

Almost on a par with being at Spa for FP1, standing at the bus stop and listening to the sound echoing round the hills as all the engines started up. Sheer magic.
I reckon the cars to look out for will be the McLarens, Red Bulls and Maldonado. The McLaren, Williams and Lotus were clearly fastest in the high speed stuff at Barcelona and also in sector 3 at Valencia, although Lotus won't suit the colder conditions and Red Bull with their latest upgrades are now ominously quick. Maldonado could really have a chance of pole though as he was so quick in sector 3 at Valencia.

The big question is tyres - it appears at Valencia the tyres were overheating and not wearing so much and that suited Red Bull, whereas at Canada, it was more a wear style of degradation. At Silverstone, I expect it to also be wear and therefore Red Bull may be in trouble with tyres.

Maldonado needs to make sure he stops throwing away points for Williams. There has been a lot of talk in the press about how Hamilton should have let Maldonado past, but for Williams, after the terrible previous year they had, Maldonado has consistently thrown away valuable points for them this year with stupid / risky moves. Wiliams would have overtaken Sauber in the constructors if Maldonado would have just been more patient and took 3rd in the closing 2 laps. Although we don't know if the radio message did happen - you have to wonder why Williams didn't get on the radio and tell him that they need the points and to be careful overtaking, or maybe they did and he didn't listen.
Odds on Hamilton needing a new gearbox due to the collision with Maldonado?

It's unlikely as it wasn't a rear impact nor a heavy shunt but the possibility is there all the same.
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