IT'S RACE WEEK: 5 storylines we're excited about ahead of the 2024 British Grand Prix

Special Contributor

Chris Medland
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As if the season wasn’t exciting enough with uncertainty over who is going to win each weekend, controversy involving the top two in the championship was also added to the mix in Austria. With that incident still fresh in the mind and a fourth team have taking a win this season last time out, there’s plenty to look forward to at Silverstone.

The fallout from THAT clash between Verstappen and Norris

After a run of races that had seen Lando Norris challenging Max Verstappen for victory, the battle finally boiled over as the pair made contact fighting for the win in Austria on Sunday.

READ MORE: ‘Too many dubious moves ’ – Jolyon Palmer gives his verdict on Norris and Verstappen’s Austria fight, and what it means for their friendship

The stewards deemed Verstappen to be predominantly at fault for the incident, handing him a 10-second time penalty and two penalty points as they had for other collisions at the same corner. But as you would expect, there were differing opinions from those involved.

2024 Austrian Grand Prix: High drama as Norris and Verstappen collide after titanic battle for the lead

Norris was unhappy at what he felt was Verstappen reacting to his attempts to overtake, while the championship leader insisted he was never moving under braking. The respective team principals each defended their own driver, but McLaren’s Andrea Stella suggested the FIA needs to tighten up the application of its own rules, pointing to incidents involving Verstappen during his title fight with Lewis Hamilton in 2021.

With just a three-day gap between Sunday and the paddock reconvening for media day at Silverstone, Stella’s comments are likely to continue to spark debate among team members and drivers. Whether there have been any discussions between Verstappen and Norris themselves will also be a point of focus, with the pair having previously enjoyed a good relationship off the track.

READ MORE: ‘The entire world knows who is responsible’ – Stella weighs in on Verstappen/Norris Austria clash as he makes 2021 comparison

Mercedes riding high after a win

It’s easy to focus on the controversy between the two drivers who have been fighting for victories in recent weeks, but that should not overshadow the significance of George Russell’s win on Sunday.

Mercedes have been making eye-catching progress in recent rounds and were fully in the mix for a win themselves in Canada, where Russell finished third and team mate Lewis Hamilton fourth. Russell would have been third again in Austria but for the clash between the two leaders, but even that was another strong performance as he kept Oscar Piastri and Carlos Sainz at bay.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 30: Race winner George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes celebrates

Mercedes will look to continue their progression at Silverstone off the back of Russell's victory in Austria

One area that Mercedes have really improved is with their car development, as multiple upgrades have helped close the gap to Red Bull and McLaren, moving them marginally ahead of Ferrari in the last two rounds.

The performance in Barcelona – where Hamilton was third – suggests Mercedes could well be a threat for the podium once again at what is a home race for both of their drivers. And if they bring further upgrades to Silverstone then it’s not completely out of the question that they could repeat their Canada form and threaten another win.

READ MORE: 5 Winners and 5 Losers from Austria – Who took advantage in an action-packed Spielberg blockbuster?

Either way, Mercedes will arrive at the British Grand Prix full of positivity after their first win since Brazil in 2022, and with clear progress being made.

A huge crowd and a home race for most teams

The first triple header of the season is coming to a close this weekend, but it does so with one of the biggest events of the year.

Silverstone often attracts a massive crowd, with 480,000 people attending in 2023 and setting a new record for the race. While the British contingent of Norris, Russell, Hamilton and Thai-British driver Alex Albon receive huge support, they are not the only ones as the impressive crowd regularly features fans of every team on the grid.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 30: Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Williams FW46 Mercedes

The British Grand Prix is a home event for several drivers and teams, including Albon and Williams

That’s in part due to the fact that the majority of the teams are based close to Silverstone, with seven of the 10 on the grid boasting headquarters in the United Kingdom. Ferrari, RB and Sauber are the only three without their main workplace in England, but even RB have a technical facility just a short distance from Silverstone.

If the last few editions of the race are anything to go by, this weekend will provide plenty of on-track excitement and entertainment for a crowd that was able to cheer Norris taking an early lead last year and Hamilton pulling off a brilliant double overtake the year before.

BEYOND THE GRID: Lando Norris on racing Verstappen, his maiden win in Miami and going for glory in Silverstone

Add in the recent competitiveness across the grid – with four teams winning in the past six races – and there’s plenty of reason for optimism whoever you support.

Big FP1 outings for rookies

Not only will the British fans have the full-time drivers to get behind this weekend, but they will also get to see Ollie Bearman in action for Haas once again.

Bearman has been heavily linked with a race seat at Haas in 2025, and will make his latest FP1 appearance for the team on Friday. That’s one of six outings this year that will prepare the 18-year-old for a full-time F1 seat if he is confirmed as joining the grid, but it’s likely to be the most special as he gets to carry out those preparations in front of his home crowd.

IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 17: Oliver Bearman of Great Britain and Haas F1 looks on in the garage during

Bearman is one a several young drivers set to take part in FP1 during the British Grand Prix weekend

That’s not to say he’s the only rookie getting a huge amount of support, with Franco Colapinto set for his first ever FP1 appearance for Williams, and the Argentine already receiving significant backing as he enjoys a strong debut season in Formula 2.

Colapinto is not currently deemed to be in the conversation for a 2025 race seat as Williams pursue other options, but he has moved up to fifth place in the F2 drivers’ standings in recent weeks – and a strong FP1 appearance would do his growing reputation no harm at all.

READ MORE: ‘The level of support is incredible’ – Ollie Bearman on Silverstone’s magic, his latest FP1 chance with Haas and his F1 prospects

Meanwhile, Jack Doohan will be given another run-out for Alpine after his damp FP1 in Montreal, where he managed just a handful of installation laps in the conditions. He’ll be hoping for a bigger opportunity in Silverstone, as he looks to line himself up for the second Alpine seat alongside Pierre Gasly in 2025.

A typically British weather forecast

All three of the drivers above will be hoping FP1 is a dry session so that they can carry out their planned programmes uninterrupted, but the weather forecast is definitely going to be a talking point.

After a short spell of hot and sunny weather a week ago, the weekend looks set to be grey and cool for the majority, with temperatures unlikely to reach 20C. The highest risk of rain at the moment is for Friday afternoon, but with cloudy conditions expected throughout the three days of track running, that comes with a chance of wet weather on both Saturday and Sunday too.

Rain at Silverstone has played a part in some iconic moments and thrilling races, so keep an eye on how the forecast evolves over the coming days, but the British summer might just provide another challenge for the grid come race day.

READ MORE: What is the weather forecast for the 2024 British Grand Prix?


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