The British Grand Prix 2016, Silverstone

The British Grand Prix at Silverstone is as much of a British institution as strawberries and cream, fish and chips, the Red Arrows, unpredictable weather and queuing. So *obviously* I was excited to once again go to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit, especially as a huge Formula One fan.

I attended Saturday for qualifying and had enjoyed a tense battle for pole position, with Lewis Hamilton snatching pole position from rival Nico Rosberg after a tense qualifying session and was eagerly awaiting to see the Sunday, which promised to be an epic race.

The Red Arrows at Silverstone 2016
The Red Arrows at Silverstone 2016

After a morning exploring all of the exhibitions, watching the various support races (GP2) in the morning, enjoying a beer and burger over the Red Arrows display and watching the F1 driver track parade (featuring awkward-as-ever interviews from Johnny Herbert), it was time to watch the race..

 

F1 driver parade at Silverstone
F1 driver parade at Silverstone

British Grand Prix: F1 Race Report, Saturday 10th July

Just as we took to our grandstand seats at the end of the start-finish line by turn one around fifteen minutes before the race start, the unpredictable British weather hit, torrential rain soaking everything and everyone in sight. However, a mere ten minutes later the rain was once again replaced with glorious sunshine (standard British summertime, then), although the track remained wet which gave spectators the chance to witness the F1 grid line-up on full wet tyres to start the race.

Silverstone Grand Prix Grandstand
Silverstone Grand Prix Grandstand

Despite being robbed of an unassisted start, the British Grand Prix started under Safety Car conditions, with all cars tiptoeing and twitching their way around the changing (and slowly drying) circuit searching for grip. The race properly began on lap 5 as the Safety Car retired to the pits to the delight of fans, with Lewis Hamilton tearing away, closely followed by Nico Rosberg and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. By lap 8 where he pitted for a set of intermediate tyres owing to a slightly dryer circuit, Hamilton had already secured himself a five second lead over second-place man Rosberg.

Silverstone 2016 British Grand Prix F1 Red Bull car
Max Verstappen at Silverstone

By lap 16, Verstappen had found his rhythm on the ever-improving circuit and performed a spectacular pass on the outside of Rosberg through the high-speed section; perhaps unsurprisingly, the crowd, backing a Hamilton win and hoping for a major points haul over Rosberg, loved it.

After some exciting incidents on circuit, including Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein aquaplaning off the circuit and a big spin from Sebastian Vettel, both Hamilton and Verstappen hit a damp patch off the racing line just after the start-finish straight, coming off at Turn 1. A serious heart-in-mouth moment! Fortunately Hamilton was able to quickly get back onto the circuit and set about rebuilding his advantage to over eight seconds, with Verstappen and Rosberg duelling for second place someway behind him to his favour. Rosberg finally caught Verstappen and made the overtake stick on lap 38, reclaiming second.

Plenty of on-track incidents continued to surprise and delight the crowd, with drivers repeatedly skidding off the circuit in the changeable conditions, namely drivers such as Alonso, Grosjean and Bottas.

Williams cars
Williams cars

With the race progressing, both Mercedes cars maintained the gap and were showing signs of an easy 1-2, when Nico jumped on the radio indicating a gearbox problem on lap 47. Rosberg’s engineer advised him to “avoid seventh gear”, telling him to “shift through it” to avoid the threat of a retirement.

Hamilton raced to an easy victory, his fourth at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, with a 6.9 second advantage over Rosberg. Verstappen finished third, with Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez following. Sadly British drivers other than Hamilton had a poor day, with McLaren’s Button finishing just ahead his teammate in twelfth and Jolyon Palmer retiring due to mechanical issues. With a home-win, Silverstone erupted as you’d perhaps expect.

BUT THEN. Just as the crowd were making their way out of Silverstone, the race stewards announced that Nico Rosberg would receive a ten second penalty for use of team radio, relating to his gearbox woes, which was in breach of the sporting regulations. As such, Verstappen was promoted to second place which brought Hamilton’s first within one championship point of Rosberg’s lead in the World Driver Championship standings. Boom. A great win for Hamilton fans.

Soaking up the Silverstone atmosphere

Silverstone 2016 British Grand Prix F1 Big Wheel

With Hamilton winning the British Grand Prix, naturally the atmosphere was electric and the crowd were clearly in the mood for some celebration over a beer or two; this year’s closing gig put on by Silverstone was headlined this year by 2008 indie chart-toppers The Feeling, the Saturday night previous Mike and The Mechanics. Just an FYI, Tinie Tempah / Beyoncé typically headline events such as Dubai and Singapore Grand Prix… but that’s a very minor point. I’m not bitter. Silverstone, take note.

Kicking the party off was ‘The Dolls’, who I later found out to be actually called the ‘Sexed Pissed Dolls’, proudly opening their set with “Hello London!”. Facepalm.

After some *interesting* covers from The Dolls, a succession of drivers such as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg brought on stage to much fanfare between sets, The Feeling took to the stage to close the weekend. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed their set, especially beer in hand whilst listening to hits such as “Sewn” and “Feel My Little World”.

Silverstone British F1 Grand Prix

So there you have it. What a great weekend. What a race.

It isn’t cheap to attend the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, with my weekend ticket costing over £350; the weather is also unpredictable and the facilities at the circuit are often at over-capacity owing to the sheer amount of visitors at the circuit. However, there is something really special about watching the F1 at Silverstone, soaking up the atmosphere around the circuit and watching the on-track action unfolding right in front of you. If you’ve got a hint of interest in motorsport, I would absolutely recommend you save up and make a visit to the 2017 British Grand Prix at Silverstone next year.

A fantastic weekend and a home-win for Lewis Hamilton too. Magic.

7 thoughts on “The British Grand Prix 2016, Silverstone

  1. The Feeling? Oh, I can never get enough of them! With decades of international success under their belts and their string of top 10 hits such as Love It When You Call, and…umm…wait, that’s the only one isn’t it. Still, totally worth the £350 though, I mean, everyone only really goes for the ambiance right?

    Liked by 1 person

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