2023 British Grand Prix: Hamilton leads British stars heading to Silverstone
Sir Lewis Hamilton is the highest-placed of the four British Formula 1 stars gearing up for the 2023 Aramco Formula 1 British Grand Prix this Sunday (9 July) at Silverstone, the home of British motorsport, ahead of Motorsport UK Academy Team UK alumni George Russell and Lando Norris.
This weekend’s race, the 77th Grand Prix in the United Kingdom, is round 11 of this year’s 24-event championship, being dominated by Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing).
While the Dutchman runs away with the points lead, the racing behind has often been fraught and has involved the likes of Mercedes teammates Hamilton and Russell, Norris (McLaren) and Williams driver Alex Albon.
Seven-time champion Hamilton is the most successful British driver in Formula 1 history and has a record eight wins at Silverstone. His Mercedes team has endured a challenging start to the season but improvements are being made and podiums in Barcelona and Montreal give the local Brackley-based squad reason to believe the anticipated 480,000 weekend crowd may see at least one of their drivers on the podium.
Hamilton currently lies fourth in the standings, with Russell seventh. Russell is a one-time Grand Prix winner, taking his maiden victory in Brazil last year, and is in his second full season with the Silver Arrows.
Russell had an illustrious junior career with multiple karting successes, followed by a championship win in the then BRDC Formula 4 in 2014 before graduating to European Formula 3 and racing against – and often beating – the likes of current Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.
Back-to-back championship titles in GP3 (now FIA Formula 3) and FIA F2 propelled him to a Williams seat in 2019, where he stayed until his full-time switch to Mercedes in 2022. It’s been a difficult start to the year for the 25-year-old, with just one podium to his name in Spain, but there’s optimism for his and Mercedes’ performance heading to Silverstone and it can only be an improvement from last year where he was eliminated in a first-lap collision.
Lando Norris, now in his fifth season with the Woking-based McLaren team, is having a character-building year with the car not as competitive as it has been in recent seasons. He’s currently only 10th in the points table but car upgrades introduced last weekend in Austria helped him to a strong fourth in the race, and more upgrades to the car are expected this weekend.
Norris, like Russell, had a stellar karting career and continued that momentum upon his graduation to car racing in the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2014 before his single-seater debut in MSA Formula (now ROKiT British F4) the following season, where he wrapped up the title for stalwart team Carlin. Championship wins in Eurocup Formula Renault (2016) and the competitive European F3 series in 2017 cemented Norris’ position as one of the top Brits to come up the ranks in recent years.
He finished runner-up to Russell – and ahead of Alex Albon – in the 2018 F2 season before signing with McLaren. Norris always goes well at Silverstone, with sixth place here last year and a best of fourth in 2021. Is a top-five on the cards this weekend?
Williams driver Albon is in his second season with the multiple title-winning team based out of Grove. After a difficult 2022 in which the car struggled to break into the points on many occasions, and a medical scare for Albon midway through the season, 2023 has so far been a more positive experience for both the team and the British-Thai driver. He’s currently 13th in points, with a best result of seventh coming in Canada last month.
Albon is a former Red Bull junior driver and was backed by the energy drinks giant for 10 years, starting from his single-seater debut in Formula Renault in 2012. He made his F1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2019 before being promoted to the main team for the pandemic-hit 2020 and ’21 seasons. Most notably, he took his first podium at the 2020 Tuscan GP and was the first Thai driver to make it onto the rostrum.
The 2023 Formula 1 Aramco British Grand Prix gets underway at 3pm on Sunday, live on Channel 4 and Sky Sports F1 in the UK. Both broadcasters will also be showing practice and qualifying live.
Friday 7 July
Free Practice 1, 12:30-13:30
Free Practice 2, 16:00-17:00
Saturday 8 July
Free Practice 3, 11:30-12:30
Sunday 9 July