After a well-deserved week off following three consecutive race weekends, Formula 1 is back at Silverstone ahead of back-to-back British Grands Prix.

Home favourite Lewis Hamilton has won both of the last two races, in Austria and Hungary respectively, and heads into Sunday’s race with a five-point advantage in the Drivers’ World Championship standings.

The grid shake-up

For years F1 fans have been asking for greater parity between the smaller and larger teams and for more exciting racing, and so far this season we’ve had it in abundance. The first three races saw McLaren take their second podium in five races after a barren run, and Racing Point finish fourth in Hungary.

While Carlos Sainz rightfully took many of the plaudits in McLaren’s resurgence last season, earning himself a move to Ferrari in 2021, Britain’s Lando Norris has learnt a lot from his rookie season and now looks set to impose himself on the sport. As well as his podium in the first race of the season, he overtook three cars in the last two laps in the second race in Austria to finish fifth and sits fourth in the drivers’ standings going into his home race. Norris is 6/5 to finish in the top six on Sunday.

Racing Point have made significant progress so far this season, qualifying third in Hungary with Lance Stroll before finishing in fourth, as high as the team has finished in F1 – although they have now done it twice. If any of the Mercedes or Red Bulls have issues this weekend, they could be on hand to take advantage, with Stroll 9/2 to finish on the podium.

Ferrari’s failures

McLaren and Racing Point’s progress is encouraging for fans, although it seems to have come at the expense of Ferrari, who have been off the pace so far. They currently sit fifth in the Constructors’ Standings, behind both the aforementioned Racing Point and McLaren as well as Red Bull and Mercedes.

It’s a position they’re not used to, but they may be there longer than they might have hoped. Ferrari chairman John Elkann admitted this week that the Scuderia’s best chance of becoming competitive again now lies in new rule changes, which are set to be implemented in 2022.

Although Charles Leclerc managed to finish second in the first race of the season, Ferrari look short of pace in qualifying as well as on race day. They’ll need a similar drive this weekend, taking any opportunities that arise and executing a good strategy if they’re to challenge the podium again. Leclerc to finish on the podium is priced at 9/1 with team-mate Sebastian Vettel to finish in the top six at 11/10.

More Mercedes magic

Among all of this, what remains constant, though, is Mercedes’ dominance. They’ve taken the first three races of the season, with Hamilton winning the last two. Hamilton is also prolific at Silverstone, having won five of the last six races there, so will fancy his chances of another triumph here.

Valtteri Bottas, meanwhile, will be hoping back-to-back races at a track suited to the set-up of his W11 will give him an ideal opportunity to get his title challenge on track. He won the opening race in Austria and is currently five points behind team-mate Hamilton in the drivers’ standings. Hamilton is the 4/9 favourite for victory on Sunday with Bottas next in line at 13/5.

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