Lewis Hamilton eyes win on Silverstone British GP milestone

Silverstone hosts its 50th British Grand Prix this weekend - what a time for Lewis Hamilton to rediscover his winning form.

On race day, it will be exactly six years since Hamilton gave the home crowd the chance to salute a British winner.

With Nico Rosberg, last year's winner, taking victory in Austria last time out to extend his advantage at the top of the drivers' championship, Hamilton can ill afford any slip-ups between now and the end of the season.

It is a special weekend for the circuit, but will it be a special one for Hamilton?

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

Lewis Hamilton drove from ninth to second at the Austrian Grand Prix, which was won by Nico Rosberg

Reasons to watch the British Grand Prix

Analysis

"This year marks the 50th time the British Grand Prix has been held at Silverstone - and the 64th anniversary of the track's hosting of the opening race in the first Formula 1 world championship.

"Partly because of that history, partly because it has adapted itself to the future while not losing sight of its past, Silverstone remains a high-water mark on the F1 calendar.

"It is debatable whether the new track layout introduced in 2011 is an improvement on the previous one, or whether the new 'Wing' pit building is all it could have been.

"But the section of track from Copse, through the Becketts complex of sweepers and into Stowe stands comparison with any in the world, and has the drivers salivating to a man.

"Silverstone, as a former World War Two airfield situated on the wind-blasted Northamptonshire plateau, will always have an elemental air.

"And to stand at Becketts watching the mind-blowing capabilities of a modern F1 car, harnessed by the surpassing skills of its driver, is to be reminded of the true essence of a sport."

After a sixth one-two finish of the season in Austria, Mercedes continue their domination of Formula 1, but the battle between the team's two drivers is as intriguing as ever.

Rosberg's win at the Red Bull Ring moved him 29 points clear of Hamilton, who finished second, meaning Rosberg can even afford to not finish a race and still hold the championship lead.

Therefore, Hamilton will have even more incentive to go for victory at Silverstone.

Rosberg, though, will fancy his chances of a fourth win of the season.

Meanwhile, Williams will look to continue their recent impressive form after Valtteri Bottas finished on the podium for the first time in his career in Austria, while Felipe Massa claimed a season's-best fourth.

Jenson Button will be hoping for a promising display in his home race to provide a welcome distraction from what has been a frustrating season for McLaren.

The team, second only to Ferrari in terms of British GP wins (14), have not had a driver on the podium since taking second and third in the Australia opener.

British Grand Prix track

What makes the British Grand Prix different?

A mile of sausages and other Silverstone facts and stats

Sausages
  • Luigi Villoresi won the first Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1948
  • There have been 16 British winners of the GP at Silverstone since 1950
  • Last year, 294,000 spectators attended the race weekend - 80,000 on the Friday, 94,000 on the Saturday and 120,000 on the Sunday
  • It takes 1,032 trained volunteers to make the British Grand Prix possible
  • The total number of sausages eaten over the Grand Prix weekend would measure 1.08 miles - the equivalent of a lap around Silverstone's Stowe circuit - if they were all lined up

Silverstone - known as "the home of British motorsport" - is steeped in the sport's history.

Surrounded by quintessentially English countryside, the Northamptonshire air has been filled with celebratory cheers for wins by Giuseppe Farina, Sir Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and many other F1 greats over the years.

The circuit also features some of the most iconic, and unusually named, corners in F1 - Copse, Maggots, Becketts and Chapel among them.

Given its long history, Silverstone had started to look rough around the edges in the early part of this century, seemingly putting its place on the calendar under threat, but a multi-million pound redevelopment in recent years brought it up to date, with the distinctive Silverstone 'Wing' having replaced the ageing pit building.

With so many races now in far-flung destinations, for many of the teams this is considered a "home" circuit - eight are based less than a two-hour drive away.

A classic British Grand Prix

That has to be one of the best moments of my career. I loved raising that gold trophy in front of the home crowd and I'm determined to get my hands on it again this year

Lewis Hamilton British GP winner in 2008

Lewis Hamilton's first and only British Grand Prix victory in 2008 was arguably the best race of his career until that point.

The Briton had arrived at Silverstone with his title challenge faltering, having failed to score points in the previous two races.

Watch Lewis Hamilton win the 2008 British Grand Prix

Mistakes on his qualifying laps saw him line up fourth on the grid but typically British weather enabled him to showcase his talent in wet conditions.

Hamilton made a superb start to quickly climb up to second, before moving into the lead on lap five.

His title rival, Kimi Raikkonen, started to eat into Hamilton's lead, but the crucial turning point came on lap 21, when both came in for their first fuel and tyre stops.

McLaren changed Hamilton's intermediate wet-weather tyres for fresh ones, while Ferrari - gambling it would stay dry - left Raikkonen's used set on.

The rain soon began to fall again and Raikkonen struggled with a lack of grip, while Hamilton went on to win with ease, much to the delight of the home crowd.