Races started: 917 224 208 233 6454.5 15
Wins: Poles: Fastest laps: Points: Drivers’ titles: Constructors’ titles:
here’s no doubting it has been a dramatic GP2 season so far. There have been crazy results, large crashes and even a driver being banned – and the series hasn’t even reached its midpoint yet.
The exciting nature of the opening rounds – including the chaotic races at Baku last month – mean that no-one has stamped their authority and taken the early advantage. So we can expect more unpredictable races this weekend.
Contrast this to last season when Mclaren reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne dominated the category and was only off the podium once in the four weekends before the Silverstone races. This year, the most a driver has visited the rostrum is just three times.
Therefore it’s no surprise that the top six in the standings are very close. But some of the drivers in that top six are surprising. Take Artem Markelov. The Russian Time racer is fourth in the points, despite a lowly 13th last year, his tally boosted by a fortuitous win in Monaco when excellently-timed virtual safety cars and a late pitstop propelled him from 15th on the grid to victory. Raffaele Marciello, Mitch Evans and Norman Nato currently lead the way.
The three British drivers in the field will go into their home race boosted by locking out the podium in Austria last weekend. Jordan King led home Oliver Rowland and Alex Lynn for a British 1-2-3 in the second race at the Red Bull Ring. This means that Lynn – despite being one of the pre-season title favourites – is no longer top Brit in the standings. Rowland now has that honour and is fifth with Lynn two places further back, but he is still only 15 points off leader Marciello.
One of 2015’s Silverstone winners will be looking for a repeat this year to get his title challenge back on track. Sergey Sirotkin languishes 10th in the points after a string of retirements this season, but led throughout the feature race in Britain last year. The other drivers on the podium were Alexander Rossi – now in Indycar – and Vandoorne, who had a rare off-weekend in Britain.
Manor’s F1 driver Rio Haryanto won the other race last season, from Marciello and Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly.
Other drivers with a good record at Silverstone include Aussie Evans, who was a winner in 2014 and is creeping up the points table this year, while Honda protege Nobuharu Matsushita will be seeking to make a strong return after being banned for one race for causing chaos on the safety car restarts in Baku.
A British driver had not won a Formula 1 grand prix since James Hunt in 1977. John Watson (Mclaren-cosworth MP4) was the only Briton on the grid at Silverstone in 1980. At the end of lap three, Gilles Villeneuve – running fifth in his Ferrari 126CK – clipped the kerb in the Woodcote Chicane and took himself out. Alan Jones (Williams-cosworth FW07C), and almost Wattie who locked up, just avoided the catch fencing and pressed on. The Renault RE30 Turbos of Alain Prost and Rene Arnoux led Nelson Piquet’s BrabhamBT49C until the Brazilian’s left-front tyre disintegrated and he went off at Becketts. Then Prost’s engine failed and Arnoux’s motor wilted. Wattie, roared on by the crowd, reeled in the fading French car, and took the lead with eight laps left to score the most popular of victories. Of the 11 finishers, every car was of a different make.