Bottas on the move and four other key talking points ahead of British Grand Prix

A look at the key talking points ahead of the British Grand Prix.

Sport360 staff
by Sport360 staff
13th July 2017

article:13th July 2017

Lewis Hamilton will arrive at the British Grand Prix 20 points behind Sebastian Vettel in the race for this year’s championship.

Hamilton, 32, will be bidding to become the first driver to win at Silverstone on four consecutive occasions.


Here, Press Association Sport takes a closer look at the title battle, and the other major talking points ahead of the ninth round of the campaign.

HAMILTON ON HOLIDAY

Hamilton lost further ground to Vettel after he finished only fourth at last Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, and the Briton took the rather peculiar step of going on a two-day holiday in between the Spielberg race and his home grand prix on Sunday.

Hamilton will also be the only current driver absent from the London demonstration on Wednesday night – a move which has irked the sport’s new owners.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team claim the Englishman is entitled to a break, but one wonders whether there is more to it.

His timing certainly seems curious, given the British Grand Prix takes place on Sunday, and he will have time for a break next month when the sport heads for its traditional summer shutdown.

If he is not on the pace in front of his home crowd, further questions will be asked.

Hamilton spend two days on holidays in Greece this week.

Hamilton spent two days on holidays in Greece this week.

BRITISH GP CAST INTO DOUBT

The British Grand Prix faces being chalked off the calendar beyond 2019 after Silverstone’s owners delivered the sport’s worst-kept secret by activating a break clause in its contract.

The British Racing Drivers’ Club, which owns the Northamptonshire circuit, are hopeful they will be able to renegotiate a more financially-viable deal with Liberty Media, Formula One’s new American owners.

It is a risky strategy, and one which could backfire if Liberty refuse to play ball.

Yet, Liberty will not want to lose the longest-serving grand prix on the calendar during the formative months of their reign.

Surely, it will be a case of when, and not if, a new contract is announced.

2019 will be the last year of the race unless a new deal is brokered with Liberty Media.

BOTTAS ON THE MOVE

Valtteri Bottas’ victory in Austria has forced Hamilton to look over his shoulder after the Finn moved to within 15 points of his Mercedes team-mate.

Hamilton was expected to be the de facto number one at Mercedes this season following Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement – but Bottas has recorded two victories, just one fewer than Hamilton, and out-qualified the Briton on a number of occasions, too.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said the team will determine whether to keep Bottas beyond this season after he signed only a one-year deal.

For the moment at least, it would appear a no-brainer.

Valtteri Bottas.

Valtteri Bottas.

ALONSO AIMING TO BOUNCE BACK

Fernando Alonso is hopeful he will bounce back from another torrid weekend in Austria.

The double world champion was punted out of the Spielberg race on the first lap following an over-exuberant move by Daniil Kvyat at turn one.

Alonso, who will determine his future during the summer break, has failed to finish six of the eight races he has competed in this year.

“I really enjoy the challenge of this Silverstone circuit, and a good result there always feels like it’s well-deserved, because it’s a tricky track and a tough race,” Alonso said.

“I hope we will have more luck at our home race than we did last weekend in Austria. It was an unfortunate incident and I hope we can bounce back.”

Fernando Alonso.

Fernando Alonso.

CHANGES AT SAUBER

Former Renault chief Frederic Vasseur has been handed the reins at Sauber after he was announced as Monisha Kaltenborn’s replacement on Wednesday.

Frenchman Vasseur parted company with Renault after just one lacklustre season, but has been deemed as the right person to turn Sauber’s fortunes around.

The Swiss outfit are last but one in the constructors’ championship having scored only five points this season. Vasseur will officially start his new role on Monday.

Can Sauber change their fortunes under a new leader?

Can Sauber change their fortunes under a new leader?


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