The race is over.
First place: Lewis Hamilton.
Formula 1 seemed in a moment of crisis after the French Grand Prix. Rarely is a race so mundane, so predictable that it brings into question the entire structures of the sport. Then, at one of its lowest ebbs, came the extraordinary scenes we witnessed in Austria.
With 32 laps gone, there looked to be no hope of Max Verstappen’s unlikely triumph. It helped the 21-year-old, of course, that circumstances – and the kerb – conspired against Lewis Hamilton, who had been running away with the title after eight races.
As long as the British driver avoids any mishaps this time around, the expectation is that normal service will be resumed and he will be the hot favourite to widen the gap at the top of the Championship standings again at the British GP.
Hamilton has enjoyed plenty of success at Silverstone in the past, winning his home Grand Prix five times since that first momentous occasion in 2008. It’s worth remembering, nonetheless, that it was rival Sebastian Vettel who conquered the track in 2018.
The tenth round of the season has the potential to throw up a few more surprises. Mercedes would be hard-pressed not to enjoy an upturn in fortunes, only Valtteri Bottas making the podium last time out as Ferrari’s superior horsepower was evident again.
In Austria, the heat was a major factor in Mercedes’ difficulties, the structure of their car meaning the bodywork needed to open up to allow cooling. As it stands, the UK is not predicted to reach those kind of temperatures but in mid-July, that could change.
A year ago, Hamilton made it known he was unhappy with the notoriously bumpy surface in Northamptonshire. The track is forcing several teams to give extra thought to their tyre choices – Renault, for example, are turning to softer tyres – but the surface has in fact been redone for the second consecutive year to make it a slightly smoother ride. The new track is also better equipped to deal with rain.
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Hamilton to win
Most fans will be predicting Hamilton’s return to the top and that’s what the bookmakers think too.
Verstappen to make it two in a row
A slightly more outlandish punt is on Verstappen, but the Red Bull man must be doing something right to attract links with Mercedes in recent days.
Leclerc to finish 1-3 again
Leclerc has now made the podium twice and given the patchy form of some of his rivals – not least his teammate, Vettel, there is no reason why the youngster shouldn’t be in the reckoning again. A title tilt still looks beyond him, but there is value to be had in backing him in the top three each time around.
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John Abrams is a passionate sports fanatic who follows NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAAF, NCAAB and Formula 1. A former sports trader, John has an unquestioned thirst for sports knowledge and often fills his time playing fantasy or placing wagers online.
All Predictions by John Abrams