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Land of hope and glory? The British trio vying for home success 04 Jul 2012

(L to R): British drivers Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren; Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren in the FIA Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Preparations, Silverstone, England, Thursday, 7 July 2011 Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 6 July 2008 Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23 crosses the line to win.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 6 July 2008 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 10 June 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/26 retired from the race at the pit lane exit with a loose wheel.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 10 July 2011 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 10 May 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 10 July 2011

Like sister blue-ribbon circuits Spa, Monza and Monte-Carlo, Silverstone is so deeply etched into the history of Formula One racing that all drivers like to do well there. But there are three members of the grid who are more ardently targeting the perfect British Grand Prix. For the grid’s home contingent, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Paul di Resta, the lure of giving the packed grandstands something to really cheer about is potent indeed. We take a look at how each may fare…

Lewis Hamilton
Drivers’ standings: 3rd
Points: 88
Best Silverstone result: 1st, 2008

Last year’s occasionally reckless, do-or-die Hamilton has been supplanted by an unflappable 27 year-old, bent on a second title. But there are issues. There have been more lows than highs in Hamilton’s 2012 season recently, with his retirement at the hands of Pastor Maldonado in Valencia just the latest misfortune to have befallen the Briton. Mistakes have been made by McLaren too, most visibly several pit-stop calamities but also, occasionally, with strategy. The car too has let him down. It may have started the season as the frontrunner, but it’s been quickly losing ground in the face of stiff competition, though at least Hamilton’s performance in Canada proved that he can win in the MP4-27. He’s also still within 23 points of the lead of the drivers’ standings, which is testament to the renewed sense of purpose with which he is tackling this season. The angst and frustration of 2011 have undeniably been replaced by a steely, points-focused determination. What’s certain is that Hamilton responds well to home support. He won at Silverstone back in his title year of 2008 and came second in 2010, though there have too been British races to forget, not least last year’s event which saw the team run him too light on fuel.

What he says: “We're going to give it everything we've got, put on a great show. This is an incredible summer of sport for Britain and I want to play my small part in bringing some joy to fans. I will be doing everything possible to get a win for my country on home soil.”

What we say: Hamilton will be hungry to put the disappointment of Valencia behind him. Whether his car allows him to do that is another question.

Jenson Button
Drivers’ standings: 8th
Points: 49
Best Silverstone result: 4th, 2004 & 2010

The fact that his McLaren team mate is widely tipped as the Briton most likely to do well at Silverstone won’t be lost on Button. Stuck in the quagmire of a bitterly disappointing lull in form, it’s easy to forget that Button won the Australian season opener back in March. It’s been downhill ever since for the Briton. Struggling with tyres, strategy and set-up, the 32 year-old hasn’t been in such an unproductive pickle since his last campaign for Honda back in 2008. Six points from the last five races does not a champion make and he is currently a massive 62 behind standings’ leader Alonso. Though hopeful he’s turned a corner, the last round in Valencia did very little to assuage the fears of his fans. He’d love to reverse his fortunes at Silverstone, but history for one is not on his side. In 12 race appearances at the former airfield, Button has failed to win - or even finish on the podium - once. Ouch.

What he says: “I always enjoy racing at home because the atmosphere is unbeatable, and while the race itself hasn’t always been too kind to me, I come here every year knowing I can count on the support of the many thousands of fans.”

What we say: Winning (or at least doing well) at Silverstone is vital. Not just if he is to end his jinx at the track but, more importantly, if he is to revive his near-catatonic championship chances.

Paul di Resta
Drivers’ standings: 11th
Points: 27
Best Silverstone result: 15th, 2011

The youngest and least experienced of the British trio, Di Resta is arguably shouldering the least amount of pressure in the build-up to Silverstone, even though his team’s factory is just a stone’s throw away from the track. Fresh from his seventh-placed finish in Valencia, the Scot is clearly enjoying driving the VJM05 and is just 22 points shy of Button in the drivers’ standings. Unlike the McLaren duo, the possibility of victory at the British track for the 26 year-old is relatively remote. But with Force India ardently targeting a podium finish, the possibility of a top-three placing can’t be dismissed completely. Circumstance will have to play into their hands, but with the weather forecast poor, you shouldn’t rule it out. Di Resta is a veteran of just one Silverstone F1 outing, and his race last year didn’t quite go to plan when he lost out on a point-scoring finish due to a pit-stop blunder. But up until the tyre mix-up with his then team mate Adrian Sutil, he had been relishing his home outing and had even been matching Button on pace on the intermediate compound.

What he says: “The atmosphere is electric and I remember last year the drivers’ parade was one of the highlights of the year - it really sent a shiver through me because of the reaction we received and the fact that there wasn’t a seat left in the place.”

What we say: With the McLaren duo no doubt bearing the brunt of the PR burden - and the pressure to do well - in the build-up to the race, Di Resta is this weekend’s dark horse. Rule him out at your peril.

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