2017 Formula 1 Rolex British Grand Prix – Silverstone

Like most people, I have a list of things that I want to experience in my lifetime so this was a weekend I had been looking forward to for months. The Formula 1 British Grand Prix is a highlight on the international sport calendar. It is an event that is famed for its action, remarkable engineering, glamour and celebrity.

By the end of the qualifying sessions on Saturday, it was already heading towards being a triumphant weekend for Lewis Hamilton who, having achieved a lap time of 1:26.600, secured pole position leaving Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel in 2nd and 3rd places.

It was an early start on Sunday with us joining the queue for the park and ride bus at 7.30 a.m. Fortunately, our accommodation was only two minutes from the car park. One disadvantage of such a major event is that you will find yourself paying inflated prices for basic rooms but it was a necessary expense to avoid travelling to Silverstone through heavy congestion.

Everything seemed to be in place for Lewis Hamilton to accomplish a historic victory, equalling Jim Clark’s and Alain Prost’s records for five wins at Silverstone.

By 8 o’clock, we were through security and heading for a bacon roll and cup of tea while the race programme was getting underway. It was a packed schedule to keep the spectators entertained including the GP3 Series, F2 and the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.

The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup

We watched the action from Becketts. This location was ideal as it was possible to see the cars approaching from a distance, meandering around the track and accelerating out of the corner.

Diagram taken from: https://www.formula1.com/en/championship/races/2017/Great_Britain.html

The real excitement for the main race began at 11.30 a.m. with the Drivers’ Track Parade.

There was a genuine roar from the home crowd as Lewis Hamilton passed by. There could be little doubt who the favourite was.

The Drivers’ Track Parade

At this point, the incredible atmosphere was building. People were taking their positions and the tension was increasing to nervous and enthusiastic anticipation. Would the home crowd hero deliver?

As the drivers retreated from view to focus on their final preparations, the RAF Red Arrows performed a stunning display against a dramatic backdrop of gathering clouds.

The RAF Red Arrows
The RAF Red Arrows

There is nothing quite like singing the National Anthem amongst a huge crowd of people to send shivers down the spine. The formation lap started and the Red Arrows completed a magnificent red, white and blue flypast.

And then it was time! A hush fell over the spectators as the lights changed and Hamilton pulled away, maintaining his pole position.  From that point onwards, it never looked like anyone was going to challenge him. Watching it on television does not do justice to the sights, sounds and smells of the engines. The speed is terrific and it is impossible to comprehend how they can travel so fast without taking off.

The safety car was out after the first few laps following a collision between Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz from the Toro Rosso Team. This resulted in the end of the race for Carlos Sainz, who still managed to wave to the applauding crowd as he got out safely and walked off to the trackside looking defeated.

The collision between Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz from the Toro Rosso Team
Carlos Sainz
The aftermath of the collision

Despite the fantastic, thrilling experience of actually being at a prestigious and glamorous event, the rest of the race was a simple procession with Lewis Hamilton demonstrating his dominance from start to finish. His triumph was never in doubt.

The final drama came courtesy of Vettel’s Ferrari blowing a tyre and sending sparks like a firework trailing behind him as he struggled to bring his car home and finish the race.

Lewis Hamilton received the chequered flag to an eruption of cheering and the feeling that we had all just witnessed a piece of sporting history.

The result:
1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
2. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes
3. Kimi Räikkönen – Ferrari
4. Max Verstappen – Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer
5. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer

Lewis Hamilton’s Victory Lap

The British Grand Prix is an experience I will always remember and I thoroughly recommend it, whether you are a motor racing fan or not. The awesome nature of the drivers’ skills combined with the cutting-edge engineering and technology really does push the limits of the impossible. It was an exhausting day with a lot of waiting between individual events but it was well worth it.

Would I go again? Absolutely!