British Grand Prix STAT SPECIAL - By Sean Kelly
If it’s July then it must be Silverstone, right?
- The venue for the inaugural Formula 1 World Championship event in 1950 plays host to the British Grand Prix for the 50th time this year, becoming only the third racetrack to reach that total, after Monza (65) and Monte-Carlo (63).
- Of the previous 49 races, only five of them did not take place in July, and ironically the 1950 race was one of those exceptions, as the flag dropped on May 13. After that, Silverstone only ever hosted in July until the 21st Century, since when it has shifted around occasionally to April (2000) and June (2006, 2009, 2013).
- Since the major re-profiling of the circuit for the 2010 race, drivers are now racing on the longest-ever iteration of Silverstone in championship history, at 3.660 miles (5.891km). While not as quick as it once was – Keke Rosberg took pole on the 1985 layout at an average speed of 160.925mph – Lewis Hamilton’s pole record on the current layout from 2013 still weighed in at a fearsome 147.062mph average.
- It is fitting that the Formula 1 circus arrives in Great Britain a week after Lewis Hamilton won the 250th Grand Prix for British drivers. It leads the all-time table by a long way, with Germany a distant second on 164. On a related note, Britain also rules the roost in championships, with 10 different British drivers winning a total of 16 world titles.
- To put that into context, of all the other nations to race in F1, only Italy (15) and France (12) have produced more than 10 drivers that have even won a Grand Prix, let alone a championship. Germany have only seven winning drivers in their history, with no prizes for spotting that 133 of their 164 wins belong to just two drivers (Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel).
- For Britain’s incumbent world champion Lewis Hamilton, this weekend could be considered crucial, as he has only ever won the championship in years in which he has won the British Grand Prix (2008. 2014, 2015). If he wins this race, he will be the first man to achieve a hat-trick of British Grand Prix victories since Jimmy Clark won four in a row from 1962 to 1966.
- The sheer dominance of Clark on home ground can’t be overstated. Beginning at the start of the 1962 race, Clark led 314 out of a possible 317 laps between then and the end of the 1965 race, ultimately winning the British Grand Prix five times, tied with Alain Prost.
- Clark’s wins were split between three tracks – winning the last F1 race held at Aintree (1962), the first held at Brands Hatch (1964), and the remaining three at Silverstone (1963, 1965, 1967). Conversely, all of Prost’s five wins came at this venue, with four different constructors (Renault in 1983, McLaren in 1985 and 1989, Ferrari in 1990, and Williams in 1993).
- Prost’s 1993 win for Williams on his last F1 appearance in Britain was also the day he became the first man in history to reach 50 Grand Prix victories. He ended his career on 51, which stood as the all-time record until surpassed by Michael Schumacher at the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix.
- There has been no such drought for Ferrari, who are the record 13-time race winners at Silverstone. They won their first six Silverstone races between 1951 and 1958. After that, it took them 40 years to win another two races (1990, 1998), but in this millennium they’ve added five more Silverstone successes, with their 2011 victory by Fernando Alonso being their only triumph of that particular season, something that could be replicated this weekend.
- Oh, and of course the Mercedes drivers are only 11 points apart at present, meaning that if the Austria result is replicated, Lewis Hamilton will leave Silverstone as the championship leader. Everything to play for…