British GP Preview: David Croft on Max Verstappen vs Charles Leclerc and why Lewis Hamilton could star


Ahead of a much-anticipated British GP, Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft assesses the main talking points, offers his predictions and explains why he has high hopes of a Mercedes resurgence at Silverstone…

Can anyone stop Verstappen at Silverstone?

Max Verstappen has been in ominous form as he looks to defend his F1 title this season, winning six of nine races while his Red Bull team have won six in a row. Are they favorites this weekend?

“Ferrari stopped Max at the start of the season and have been in a position recently to stop Max Verstappen, but their reliability has let them down,” says Crofty.

“Charles Leclerc is probably driving as well as Max at the moment, but he dropped out of the lead twice through no fault of his own, and had to start from the back in Canada, where he finished fifth. I thought it was a very strong drive from him, since it did not have the speed in a straight line.

Relive Lewis Hamilton's big crash with title rival Max Verstappen at last year's British Grand Prix.

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Relive Lewis Hamilton’s big crash with title rival Max Verstappen at last year’s British Grand Prix.

Relive Lewis Hamilton’s big crash with title rival Max Verstappen at last year’s British Grand Prix.

“What Max has done very well is making the most of the opportunities that have come his way. He’s driving very well and you can’t blame him. He’s retired twice, and it wasn’t his fault either.”

“I think they’re pretty even, Max and Charles. I don’t think one or the other is driving much better than the other. They’re both fit horses for this weekend, for sure.”

Red Bull have the right to fear Mercedes’ improved pace

Expectations are higher at Mercedes this weekend, with the team bringing upgrades to their car and optimistic that the Silverstone circuit suits them better than recent street tracks. Can they and drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell deliver?

“This is a great weekend for Mercedes.

“We went to Spain and they had control over the rebounds, but then we went to the street circuits, Monaco, Baku and Canada, which were much more bumpy.

Silverstone should be a much smoother track and it should reward the characteristics of the car. If the updates you brought work well, you should be in for a good weekend.

Mercedes technical director James Allison gives his thoughts on the team's chances at Silverstone.

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Mercedes technical director James Allison gives his thoughts on the team’s chances at Silverstone.

Mercedes technical director James Allison gives his thoughts on the team’s chances at Silverstone.

Whether that means they’ll be in contention for the win, we have to wait and see. But I will make a bold prediction and say that Lewis Hamilton is going to break a record.

Not necessarily the record for most wins at a single circuit, though that’s not to say I can’t, but I hope to see him on the podium and therefore break the record for most podium finishes at a single event.

“I think Christian Horner is right to say that Red Bull is wary of those around them, and it’s interesting that they don’t bring any major improvements to the updates after the summer break.

“We could be ready, and I hope we’re ready for a really good battle up front between not two, but three teams. All of which may not be separated by a huge amount, which is what runs out.” crowd wants to see, the best drivers go wheel to wheel.

Hamilton will enjoy the challenge of the race at home

Hamilton has won a staggering eight British GPs but comes to Silverstone this year a distant sixth in the championship. But in the midst of a turbulent week, with the local hero condemning Nelson Piquet’s recent comments, Crofty suggests to Hamilton that he once again rise to the challenge of Silverstone.

“I think Lewis has tackled everything this week flawlessly. I think his comments were absolutely spot on and I totally agree with him, it’s time for action and not just words.”

Sky Sports' Craig Slater reviews Nelson Piquet's apology to Lewis Hamilton and explains how the Formula One paddock will react.

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Sky Sports’ Craig Slater reviews Nelson Piquet’s apology to Lewis Hamilton and explains how the Formula One paddock will react.

Sky Sports’ Craig Slater reviews Nelson Piquet’s apology to Lewis Hamilton and explains how the Formula One paddock will react.

“Lewis isn’t going to be spurred on by what happened any more than he has been spurred on by those who doubt his skill, dedication and talent throughout his career. And he’s also fueled by the adoration he receives from the hometown fans.

“That’s not to say they don’t support all the other local favorites, but they have something special in store for Lewis and he has something special in store for them. Over the years he has produced the products for the people who have come to Silverstone and expect see him perform at the highest level.

“Lewis loves Silverstone, and I’m sure he’s keen to go out in an upgraded car, which might be a bit more a reflection of his driving talents, rather than one that he’s had to try and get the best of. until now”. this year.”

Ferrari must not be beaten by Red Bull

Ferrari and Charles Leclerc were early runaway leaders in F1 2022, but Red Bull held them back, not helped by costly reliability lapses. Do they need a win this weekend to reverse the slide?

“We’re not even halfway through the season, so it’s not a must-win for Ferrari, but I think Red Bull shouldn’t beat it! That’s the key.”

Charles Leclerc was frustrated with his race despite a brilliant recovery to finish fifth at the Canadian Grand Prix.

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Charles Leclerc was frustrated with his race despite a brilliant recovery to finish fifth at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc was frustrated with his race despite a brilliant recovery to finish fifth at the Canadian Grand Prix.

“They can’t afford to let the gap get much bigger, because sometimes they’ve given Red Bull things on a plate. They just need a solid weekend, where either they win or lose the race , not Not to be beaten by Red Bull.

“I think the high and medium speed corners can be Red Bull territory, but there are also some slow corners and you need a bit of straight line speed. I don’t necessarily think it favors Ferrari over Red Bull. .

“But this is also a track where Leclerc does very well, and if the race had been four laps shorter last year, he would have won.”

The other great stories from the spectacular British GP

Crofty takes a look at some of the other great talking points from top to bottom of the grid.

“Can Russell maintain this fantastic consistency? Ranking in the top five in every race this year, he has been nothing short of sensational so far.”

“McLaren is in desperate need of a good weekend due to a combination of factors.

“It was terrible for them in Canada, but Lando Norris is the only driver outside of Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes to get on the podium this year. Not that he doesn’t have it in him, and he’s doing well at Silverstone, as is Russell. , his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, also needs to find form.

“Alpine seem to have a really good package and they have improvements this weekend. Esteban Ocon has scored points as often as Verstappen and Leclerc this year, while Fernando Alonso has also been showing Alpine pace.

“It’s also a great weekend for Aston Martin and for Sebastian Vettel. I think Aston could pull a surprise: if the upgrades work on his car, I think he will be competitive, like he was in Baku.”

F1 2022 heads to Silverstone this weekend for motorsport’s biggest event of the summer. Join Sky Sports F1 for extensive coverage throughout the British GP weekend – the race starts at 2pm on Sunday 3rd July.

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