Drivers are expecting a big increase in cornering speeds at Silverstone this weekend because of the wider, grippier Pirelli tyres and the revised aerodynamic regulations introduced at the beginning of the 2017 season.
Between 2015 and 2016 Lewis Hamilton’s pole-winning laps dropped from 1m 32.248s to 1m 29.287s, and a similar decrease is more than possible this year, especially as Pirelli’s supersoft tyre is making its debut here. That, and the extra downforce, will make a huge difference in really quick corners such as Copse, Maggotts, Becketts, Chapel, Stowe and Woodcote.
“I think Copse is going to be flat this year,” Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton suggests. “I would imagine quite easy, yeah. I would imagine probably eighth, you should get to eighth by then. It’s going to be rapid. I don’t think any of us are prepared for how quick Silverstone is going to be compared to previous years. It was awesome in the last race. Maggotts and Becketts, again, are going to be the same.
“It’s going to be a physical race for us, being that it is mostly medium and high-speed corners. The G that we are going to be pulling is definitely going to be one up, maybe two, who knows, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo agrees. “Ha! It’s going to be fun. I love high-speed corners. From Turn 9 to 15, Copse to Stowe, it’s some of the coolest sequences… probably the best mile of race track we go on all year. We got a taste of it [on our car] in Austria. The second, third sector we were carrying some serious speed, so it’s a sign of what this weekend is going to be like I think.”
It’s been suggested that the whole run, from Copse to Stowe, could actually be flat out this year…
"By the time they arrive at Maggotts, they won't have lifted - and the amount of full-throttle time there is longer than Azerbaijan," said Red Bull boss Christian Horner, putting things into interesting perspective. "It’s going to be mighty impressive."