October 2, 2022


Ahead of a highly anticipated British GP, Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft assesses the main talking points, offers his predictions and explains why he has high hopes of a Mercedes resurgence at Silverstone…

Can anyone stop Verstappen at Silverstone?

Max Verstappen has been in worrying form as he seeks to defend his F1 title this season, winning six of nine races – while his Red Bull team have won six in a row. Are they favorites this weekend?

“Ferrari were stopping Max at the start of the season and were recently able to stop Max Verstappen, but their reliability let them down,” Crofty said.

“Charles Leclerc is probably driving as well as Max right now, but he pulled out of the lead twice through no fault of his own, and he had to start from behind in Canada – where he finished fifth. thought that was a very strong push from him, considering he didn’t quite have the straight-line speed.

Relive Lewis Hamilton's huge crash with title rival Max Verstappen at last year's British Grand Prix

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Relive Lewis Hamilton’s huge crash with title rival Max Verstappen at last year’s British Grand Prix

Relive Lewis Hamilton’s huge crash with title rival Max Verstappen at last year’s British Grand Prix

“What Max did really well was make the most of the opportunities that came his way. He drives extremely well and you can’t blame him. He himself retired twice, and that didn’t happen. It wasn’t his fault either.”

“I think they’re pretty evenly matched, Max and Charles. I don’t think either of them are driving much better than the other. They’re the two fit horses for this weekend, no doubt. .”

Red Bull right to fear Mercedes’ improved pace

Expectations are higher at Mercedes this weekend, with the team making improvements to their car and optimistic that the Silverstone circuit suits them better than the recent street tracks. Can they and drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell deliver?

“It’s a massive weekend for Mercedes.

“We went to Spain and they had the rebounds under control, but then we went to street circuits – Monaco, Baku and Canada – which were a lot bumpier.

Silverstone should be a much smoother track and should reward the characteristics of the car. If the upgrades they made work well, they should be ready for a strong weekend.

Mercedes technical director James Allison gives his thoughts on the team's chances at Silverstone

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Mercedes technical director James Allison gives his thoughts on the team’s chances at Silverstone

Mercedes technical director James Allison gives his thoughts on the team’s chances at Silverstone

Whether that means they will be in contention for victory, we have to wait and see. But, I’m going to make a bold prediction and say that Lewis Hamilton is going to break a record.

Not necessarily the record for the most wins on a single circuit – although that doesn’t mean he can’t – but I expect to see him on the podium, and therefore break the record for the greatest number of podiums in a single event.

“I think Christian Horner is right that Red Bull are wary of those around them, and it’s interesting that they don’t make major post-season updates.

“We could be ready, and hopefully we’re ready for a really good battle in front of not two, but three teams. All of them might not be separated by a huge amount, that’s what a sold- out what the crowd wants to see, the best riders go wheel to wheel.”

Hamilton relishes the challenge of the home race

Hamilton has won an impressive eight British GPs but arrives at Silverstone this year a distant sixth in the championship. But amid a turbulent week – with the local hero condemning Nelson Piquet’s recent comments – Crofty advises Hamilton to take up the challenge at Silverstone again.

“I think Lewis has approached everything this week impeccably. I think his comments were absolutely right and I fully agree with him, it’s time for action and not just words.

Sky Sports' Craig Slater reviews Nelson Piquet's apology to Lewis Hamilton and explains how the Formula 1 paddock will react

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Sky Sports’ Craig Slater reviews Nelson Piquet’s apology to Lewis Hamilton and explains how the Formula 1 paddock will react

Sky Sports’ Craig Slater reviews Nelson Piquet’s apology to Lewis Hamilton and explains how the Formula 1 paddock will react

“Lewis will be no more spurred on by what happened than he has been spurred on by those who doubt his abilities, his dedication and his talent throughout his career. And he also thrives on the adoration he receives from local fans.

“That’s not to say they don’t support all the other house favorites, but they do have something special for Lewis and he does have something special for them. Over the years he’s produced the goods for people who have come to Silverstone and expect to see him perform at the highest level.

“Lewis loves Silverstone, and I’m sure he can’t wait to get into a car with upgrades, which might be a bit more representative of his driving skills, rather than one he’s had to try and get the job out of. best party so far this year.”

Ferrari must not be beaten by Red Bull

Ferrari and Charles Leclerc were early runaway leaders in F1 2022 but were overtaken by Red Bull, not helped by costly reliability breakdowns. Do they need a win this weekend to turn the tide?

“We’re not even halfway through the season, so it’s not a must win for Ferrari – but I think it’s a win not to be beaten by Red Bull! That’s key.

Charles Leclerc was frustrated with his race despite a brilliant comeback to finish fifth at the Canadian Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc was frustrated with his race despite a brilliant comeback to finish fifth at the Canadian Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc was frustrated with his race despite a brilliant comeback to finish fifth at the Canadian Grand Prix

“They can’t afford to let the gap widen much more because they’ve put things back on Red Bull’s plate at times. They just need a strong weekend no matter where they win or lose. the race they didn’t get beaten by Red Bull.

“I think the high and medium speed corners are maybe Red Bull territory, but there are also some slow corners and you need a bit of straight line speed. I don’t think that necessarily favors Ferrari over compared to Red Bull.

“But it’s also a track that Leclerc does very well on, and if the race had been four laps shorter last year, he would have won.”

The other great stories of the British GP bumper

Crofty takes a look at some of the other big talking points from top to bottom of the grid.

“Can Russell maintain this fantastic consistency? In the top five in every race this year – he’s been nothing short of sensational so far.

“McLaren desperately needs a strong weekend for a combination of factors.

“It was miserable for them in Canada, but Lando Norris is the only driver outside of Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes to be on the podium this year. It’s not that he doesn’t have it in him – and he is doing well at Silverstone, as is Russell, his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo also needs to get back into shape.

“Alpine seems to have a very good package and to have some improvements this weekend. Esteban Ocon has scored points as often as Verstappen and Leclerc this year, while Fernando Alonso has also shown Alpine’s pace.

“It’s also a huge weekend for Aston Martin and for Sebastian Vettel. I think Aston could come up with a surprise – if the improvements work on their car I think it will be competitive, just like in Baku.”

F1 2022 heads to Silverstone this weekend for motorsport’s big event of the summer. Join Sky Sports F1 for extensive coverage throughout the British GP weekend – racing starts at 2pm on Sunday 3rd July.