British Grand Prix predictions: Home favourites not without hope
A run of six straight wins for Red Bull has seen them take a firm lead in the Formula 1 standings and they will once again be the team to beat at the British Grand Prix.
World champion Max Verstappen's sixth win of the season in Montreal in the previous round saw him increase his lead at the top of the drivers' standings to 46 points.
Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez is the world champion's nearest challenger, while Ferrari's Charles Leclerc is a further three points adrift in third.
Leclerc has seen his challenge fade away thanks to several mechanical mishaps but Ferrari are confident of a strong showing in England after bringing in a series of upgrades.
For Red Bull and the Prancing Horse, this year's edition offers a shot at redemption after both held the lead in last year's race only to be thwarted by the king of Silverstone Sir Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton unmatched at Silverstone
Hamilton knows the Northamptonshire track better than any driver, recording an unprecedented eight victories in front of his home fans.
The seven-time world champion's most recent British Grand Prix win was arguably the greatest drive of his career as he overcame a ten-second penalty for causing a frightening collision with Verstappen to take the chequered flag.
The Mercedes driver worked his way back into contention before reeling in Leclerc's Ferrari — the Monegasque was eight seconds clear with 12 laps to go — to claim victory, much to the delight of the majority of the 140,000 spectators in attendance.
Speedy Silverstone a firm favourite
Hamilton's win concluded one of the most exciting races witnessed at the former aerodrome, which has been the on-off home to the British Grand Prix since 1950.
Despite the layout changing several times over the years, Silverstone remembers its historical roots with drivers navigating the infamous Copse, Maggotts, Becketts and Abbey corners over the course of 52 laps.
It is famously one of the quickest tracks on the F1 calendar with an average speed of 156mph.
Verstappen facing Ferrari fight
Verstappen was driving at slightly above that speed when he was sent into the barriers during last year's race, ruining his hopes of a first win at the British Grand Prix.
The reigning world champion was leading at the time, chasing his second win at Silverstone after victory at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix in 2020 and it will take some drive to stop the Dutchman making good on last year's close call.
Ferrari should have a car capable of putting Verstappen under pressure — especially if their upgrades take hold — and were quick at this race last year.
Leclerc would have won were it not for tyre degradation but it is tough to trust either him or Carlos Sainz given Ferrari's recent issues.
The Italian outfit and Red Bull have both suffered with reliability this year, allowing Mercedes to nab the odd podium but the Silver Arrows could secure a top-three finish on merit this weekend.
Make room for Mercedes
Mercedes expect Silverstone's layout to suit their challenger as they seek to build on a positive showing in Canada which saw Hamilton take third, seven seconds behind winner Verstappen.
An improved Merc makes the Brit a threat as he bids to continue his streak of finishing in the top two in each of the last eight races at his home GP.
Hamilton has serious podium hopes, but so does team-mate George Russell, who is the only driver to finish in the top five in every race so far this season.
He has pipped Hamilton in all but two outings this year and had out-qualified him in three consecutive Grands Prix before Canada.
Russell gives Mercedes a strong two-pronged attack and either could take a result on home soil.