Saturday, July 10, 2010

2010 British GP Preview: Red Bull and McLaren fight it out at Battle of Britain

Red Bull heads into the British GP as the favourites with Vettel going in carrying some very good form after winning a stunning European GP. His teammate should be happy to just walk leave alone racing after a horrid crash which saw him airborne for some time. Webber will be using Vettel’s old chassis but despite that he has shown some solid pace the practice. Red Bull has done well at Silverstone and they are all set to continue to dominate this year’s British GP which will mark the debut of the new Silverstone circuit which has seen some changes which will make it a very high speed circuit.

McLaren at their home race will be looking for the win but they do have not yet seem to have got the grip of the new track while Button will be desperate to win his home race as he is not only yet to win this race but also needed this win to go over his teammate Hamilton as he has been outpaced by his younger teammate for the last few races. Hamilton despite all the controversy during the European GP will be looking for a podium place here. Winning could be tough here but then given his recent form a podium seems a certainty unless Ferrari has managed to catch up with McLaren.

Alonso and Ferrari had a shot at the podium at the European GP but the safety car ruined everything for them but they will go into this grand prix determined as they still have a good shot at challenging both the championships. Alonso will be desperate for a win here as he has not won a race since the Bahrain GP while Massa despite a contract extension will be under immense pressure as his performance when compared to the previous 2 seasons has been very poor and he is yet to challenge for a win this season.

Mercedes has had a disastrous start to the season and despite their claims that they would be challenging for the titles the reigning champions have gone from bad to worse since the start of the season. Both Rosberg and Schumacher have not consistently challenged the front runners and Schumacher at times during the season have been beaten by the likes of Force India, Williams and Toro Rosso. Recent news of Haug’s meeting with Kimi does not bode well for the 7 time champion but then Mercedes should show patience as this was the same team which came up with dog of a car during its time as BAR/Honda.

Renault is the most improved team since the start of the season and with Kubica signing for the next year as well, the team looks at catching up with Mercedes during this weekend. Kubica has been the driver of the year so far and has been very consistent and despite an inferior car has put up a fight with the likes of Ferrari as well. Vitaly Petrov may have been the best rookie of the year but despite his good performance he will remain in the team as long as he can bring in the sponsors. If the rumoured MasterCard deal goes ahead, Petrov will be looking for a new team for the 2011 season.
Force India has been the most improved team since the last season and despite the fact that the team has not been challenging for podiums, it has done extremely well and the team is looking like the Jordan team of the late 90’s where the team was a solid mid-field team. Team owner Vijay Mallya has the resources to make the team better and if the team continue its impressive progress, it can be challenging for podiums regularly by the next season.

Williams has had some major announcement with Frank Williams stepping as the Chairman of the team due to age issues. Williams the most dominant team during the 90’s are struggling and fighting it out with the likes of Toro Rosso and Sauber. Already Force India is way ahead of them while both STR and Sauber have beaten them this season. Williams showed some improvement during the last race and the main aim for the team will be to finish ahead of STR and Sauber while also trying to catch up with Force India by the time the season ends.

Toro Rosso has been decent so far this season and this is the team’s best season since the 2008 season when Vettel had a magical season for the team which also won its 1st race at Monza. The team during its previous Minardi days struggled but now the team with 2 very solid young drivers are always looking to score points and so far this season apart from scoring a few points have also done well to beat Sauber and Williams regularly and even during the odd occasion the team has also outpaced Force India.

Sauber after a disastrous start have finally started scoring points and the team has improved by leaps and bounds since the 1st race. The team has always had the pace but reliability has been the issue and if the team does manages to solve that with a driver like Kamui Kobayashi the team can score a lot more points.

Lotus, Virgin and HRT so far are only making up the numbers while despite the claims by Lotus that they are catching up with the likes of Sauber and STR, the team has just managed to perform better than Virgin and HRT but then the team has a long way to go if it has to even make it to Q2. The biggest news of the weekend has been the axing of Senna for the British GP by HRT. Sakon Yamamoto has hardly set the F1 world on fire by his previous drives for Super Aguri and Spyker but the Japanese driver will be doing a decent job if he manages to stay out of trouble.

The British GP at the new Silverstone circuit should be special and also we can always include the possibility of rains which will make it even better. Red Bull looks the favourite but if anyone can challenge them then it has to be either McLaren or Ferrari but Renault could be the dark horse for the race.

British GP Top 10 Predictions

1. Sebastien Vettel

2. Mark Webber

3. Robert Kubica

4. Fernando Alonso

5. Lewis Hamilton

6. Adrian Sutil

7. Felipe Massa

8. Nico Rosberg

9. Jenson Button

10. Vitantonio Liuzzi

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