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My British Grand Prix predictions

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Jonathan Legard | 08:49 UK time, Saturday, 20 June 2009

Is this the weekend Jenson Button and Brawn Grand Prix are finally made to do the chasing? They made fools of plenty of us in Turkey when it appeared this season's front-runners had met their match in the shape of Red Bull, who had put Sebastian Vettel on pole.

The German didn't help himself by sliding off the track on the first lap in Istanbul and allowing Button through into the lead.

But it was still a brilliant win for Button and the team reckon it was their best victory yet because they were not expecting it but still took the chequered flag with a car Button described as a "monster" and an outrageous drive by the English world championship leader.

So will it be Red Bull or Brawn who rule supreme in Britain? With no degree of certainty, here are my predictions for the top eight finishers in Silverstone:

1. Mark Webber (Red Bull)
2. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
3. Jenson Button (Brawn)
4. Rubens Barrichello (Brawn)
5. Jarno Trulli (Toyota)
6. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber)
7. Fernando Alonso (Renault)
8. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

I'm going for Mark Webber to claim his first Grand Prix win because the Australian is on a roll right now. He's thoroughly enjoying his duel with Vettel. He feels having a team-mate that everyone rates so highly is bringing the best out of him and he's working very hard.

Although Webber's track record at Silverstone isn't very good, it's a track he loves and he is so keen to land his first victory here.

Mark Webber at Silverstone

One of the criticisms levelled at Webber is that he was always very strong in qualifying but he did not convert that potential into something greater on race day.

Now, I think the 32-year-old is racing stronger than ever and that's why I'm predicting him to finish ahead of Vettel on Sunday.

Both Red Bulls will be strong and the team say they have found an extra 0.2 seconds in pace per lap. There are plenty of updates to their car - a new nose, engine cover, upgraded diffuser and revised weight distribution, so they have pushed the boat out.

Having said that you simply cannot write off the Brawns and after Turkey I really felt they could match Ferrari's dominance of 2004 when they won 15 grands prix.

Brawn GP are still the force to be reckoned with in 2009 and if they fail to win here, make no mistake, it will be a disappointment for them.

Having said that, Button has been at pains to stress that whatever happens at Silverstone he will still lead the world championship by at least 16 points.

In some ways, the pressure is off and the team don't need to take risks or push too hard. The key is to keep the momentum going and to not crash or make a reckless mistake.

Looking down from the top four, I've selected a bit of a mixed bag to sweep up the points.

Jarno Trulli was solid enough in Turkey, finishing fourth, and I expect Toyota to deliver another decent performance on British soil.

BMW Sauber put together some good long runs in practice on Friday and Robert Kubica managed to pick up his first points of the season in Turkey so the voracious Pole will be looking to push on this weekend.

As an aside, one thing I've noticed about the BMWs is the noise they make on the track, it's a low grunt, completely unique compared to the other cars.

Once again, I'm selecting Renault's Fernando Alonso to collect some points in seventh.
The Spaniard has won here before - in his second world championship year in 2006.

It appears that Ferrari are still struggling as they did not perform as well as expected in Istanbul. The Italian team know they do not have the levels of downforce they need for Silverstone but Kimi Raikkonen knows his way around here and might just nick a point.

One thing to bear in mind is that rain is forecast for qualifying and so it will be fascinating to see, if and when the downpours come, how the grid shapes up.

If you were worried the drivers may be distracted by the political row over the future of the sport that has hogged all the headlines this weekend, well don't be.

There's a car to drive, a race to win and that's what each of them has to get on with.

This is probably Silverstone's last Grand Prix for now and the one thing I'm hoping is that the drivers serve up a classic race to befit a classic circuit.


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