The 2014 Formula One season is nearing the midway point, with the British Grand Prix at the legendary Silverstone Circuit next on the schedule. Mercedes have dominated the racing season so far, and Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will resume their rivalry for the world title on Sunday.
All but one of the grands prix so far has been won by someone not driving a Mercedes (Daniel Ricciardo took advantage of mechanical failures for both Rosberg and Hamilton in Canada), and the superior power of the German cars will once again shine on Silverstone's lightning-fast track.
Hamilton trails his teammate by 29 points in the overall standings, and he needs a strong result in front of a home crowd in order to keep the title chase exciting heading into the second part of the season.
Date: Sunday, July 6
Start time: The race will start at 1 p.m. BST (8 a.m. ET), with the finish expected to be around 2.40 BST.
TV Schedule: BBC Two will start its broadcast at noon BST (for UK viewers) while CNBC (for US viewers) will do the same at 7:30 a.m. ET. Mobile coverage will be available via the BBC iPlayer and CNBC Live.
These are the 22 drivers who will start the 2014 British Grand Prix:
|Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari|
|Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Romain Grosjean||Lotus|
|Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso|
|Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso|
|Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||Jules Bianchi||Marussia|
|Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||Adrian Sutil||Sauber|
|Valtteri Bottas||Williams||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham|
|Jenson Button||McLaren||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus|
|Felipe Massa||Williams||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber|
|Kevin Magnussen||McLaren||Max Chilton||Marussia|
|Sergio Perez||Force India||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham|
Silverstone Circuit is a very fast track that favours the more powerful engines in the field, with Mercedes the heavy favourites heading into the race and Williams not too far behind.
The corners aren't particularly technical—keeping a steady pace throughout the corners is crucial. The grip on the track is good, save for the final sector, and with Britain's unpredictable weather patterns, the final sector can become very slippery in heavy rains, making for some spectacular crashes.
As reported by Bleacher Report's tracker of the event, Rosberg and Hamilton predictably dominated the early practice sessions, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso never coming within half a second of the duo.
Alonso's form so far has been impressive, and his Ferrari has looked noticeably faster since the Canadian Grand Prix. The same can be said for the two Red Bulls, who finished both practice sessions among the top six.
In contrast, Williams' racing weekend got off to a disastrous start. Susie Wolff became the first female driver to take part in a F1 racing weekend, only to drop out of the first practice session due to engine failure. Speaking to BBC Sport, she kept her cool following the bad luck:
It was a really tough day but that's Formula 1 sometimes. We had an oil pressure problem which cut the engines - the guys are looking at getting it fixed for free practice two.
I want to say a huge thank you for all the support - it means a lot and really helps. It was wonderful. Going out there was the best feeling and although there's been a lot of media around this run, once I had put the helmet on that was the best feeling, and as soon as I had left the pit lane, everything felt good. Unfortunately it was a short run but I'm going to look forward to Hockenheim.
Felipe Massa spun his Williams and hit a wall in the process, and he lost precious time during the second practice session while his car was being repaired.
Hamilton impressed during the second session, but he had to end his practice run prematurely due to an engine failure of his own. F1 insider Sarah Holt wonders how his Mercedes will hold up on the fast Silverstone track:
Lewis Hamilton is still top of the tree but is Mercedes engine vulnerable around the fast and flowing Silverstone track? Come back tomorrow!— Sarah Holt (@sarahholtf1) July 4, 2014
Both Hamilton and Rosberg had issues in Canada, a similarly fast track that can weigh on an engine, and Friday's problems during the practice session are a bad omen for the team's chances at Silverstone.
The Mercedes cars are simply too fast for the rest of the pack, and if all goes to plan, there's no reason to believe anyone could challenge the duo of Rosberg and Hamilton. The Englishman seems to have a slight edge racing at home, but Rosberg's form has been impeccable of late.