What are the chances of a British winner at Silverstone?

British grand prix
British grand prix

Verstappen is the clear favourite, but his rivals are (finally) closing in

Seven wins from the first 10 races in 2024. That sure sounds like the usual story of Max Verstappen domination in Formula 1, doesn’t it? Except this time it has been closer than it sounds.

Yes, the Dutchman is well on course to win a fourth consecutive world championship, but at least now he’s having to work harder for his success – which is why those wins have proven extra sweet, judging by his reaction to each in recent weeks. The opposition, in the form of McLaren, Mercedes-AMG and Ferrari, are getting closer.

So might we be cheering a home winner at the British Grand Prix on Sunday? That’s not an unrealistic prospect – with a fair wind against Verstappen and Red Bull. George Russell, Lewis Hamilton and especially Lando Norris should all arrive at Silverstone in a positive frame of mind.


Their home race is the last of a triple-header run of consecutive weekend races, which isn’t the ideal preparation for one of the biggest and busiest events of the year, but still, motivation won’t be a problem in front of a packed and unashamedly partisan crowd who would love nothing more than to cheer a home win.

Lando Norris

He is fast becoming the most popular driver in F1, and judging from our experience last year, he is now the firm fan favourite at Silverstone. Yes, they still love Lewis, but Lando is number one for a vocal crowd that creates one of the best F1 atmospheres.

That Norris was downcast at finishing second to Verstappen at the recent Spanish GP is a sure sign of where the 24-year-old’s head is at right now. Podiums are no longer enough: he expects to win, such is the rise in expectation following McLaren’s impressive gains. Norris removed the monkey from his back in Miami in May by claiming his first win.

Yes, luck was involved with the timing of a safety car, but he was also the quickest driver at key moments and drove away from Verstappen once out front – so it was a ‘proper’ win. Then in Barcelona, he stuck his McLaren on pole position, only to fluff the start. Hence the disappointment.

Norris was convinced he should have won, had he beaten Verstappen into Turn 1 and hadn’t allowed Russell to jump them both.

Last year at Silverstone, Norris made the most of a newly rejuvenated McLaren to lead the early stages of the British GP, before Verstappen asserted his authority. This time, there will be a genuine belief that Norris can go the distance.

Lewis Hamilton

He is already an eight-time winner of the British GP – but Lewis Hamilton’s last F1 victory came way back in 2021, in Saudi Arabia. His Mercedes team has endured a long and painful fall from grace since then, badly losing its way under the current technical regulations that were introduced at the start of 2022.

But in recent weeks there have been genuine green shoots for Mercedes. The switch in concept away from the ‘zero-pod’ design with which it persevered for too long didn’t initially garner the expected uplift in form, but since Monaco, where the team introduced a technical upgrade, it has shown a fresh turn of pace.

Russell scored a surprise pole position in Canada, but of more significance was probably the showing in Spain, where the two Mercedes showed a clean pair of heels to Ferrari. Yes, Verstappen and Norris were just out of range, but Hamilton scored his first podium of the season.

This will, of course, be Hamilton’s last British GP for Mercedes before he makes that sensational switch to Ferrari. At 39 and for the first time, there have been murmurs of a fade in the seven-time champion’s superpowers.

By Spain, Hamilton lagged 8-2 in the internal qualifying battle with team-mate Russell and he was highly critical of his own performance in Canada. But critics should be wary of writing off one of F1’s greatest drivers just yet. Salacious conspiracy emails of internal sabotage against Hamilton seem far-fetched.

Instead, a script in which Hamilton breaks his win drought in front of his beloved home crowd would be pure Hollywood. A long shot, perhaps – but it’s far less fanciful now than it was six weeks ago.

George Russell

He was crestfallen by the trio of errors at the Canadian GP that knocked him out of contention for the win.

But in Spain, Russell’s dynamite start that shot him past Hamilton and then around the outside of the squabbling Norris and Verstappen into the lead was a direct reminder of the driver that created such a buzz of excitement the first time he raced a Mercedes in Bahrain in 2020, as a sub for a Covid-struck Hamilton.

It must be galling (to put it mildly) that since he stepped up as Hamilton’s full-time team-mate in 2022, his promotion to what was F1’s finest and most successful team coincided with Mercedes’ humiliating fall from grace. He has landed just one F1 win so far (Brazil in 2022), but Russell has largely acquitted himself well against one of the all-time greats.

He will assume the role of team leader next year as Hamilton heads to Ferrari, probably paired with a rookie team-mate in highly rated but unproven Andrea Kimi Antonelli. But is Russell a world champion-in-waiting or merely a very good grand prix driver? While the consensus on his friend Norris leans towards the former, the jury remains out on Russell.

A statement performance as the lead British driver on home ground this weekend would be well timed – but relies heavily on Mercedes taking another step in the right direction. Norris remains our best hope for a home win this time around.