On of the eve of the British Grand Prix, we take a look at the performances of the English drivers so far this season.
LEWIS HAMILTON (Mercedes)
Results in 2019: 2-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-5
Head-to-head in 2019: Hamilton 6, Bottas 3
The five-time world champion has started the season in scintillating fashion, sealing victories in six of the first nine races as he goes in search of a sixth world championship that would move him within one of Michael Schumacher’s record haul.
The 34-year-old holds a commanding 31-point lead over Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with the Silver Arrow dominating the new campaign with eight victories.
The Briton has out-qualified Bottas six to three and, aside from fifth place in Austria, has looked a class apart this season.
It’s hard to pick the stand out performance of the year – any of his six could be – but the French Grand Prix in itself was a masterclass of driving. Fastest during qualifying, Hamilton dominated the race from start to finish, managing his tyres and pace to perfection around Circuit Paul Ricard.
Gearing up for his favourite race of the year in Silverstone, Hamilton has set his sights on a record sixth British GP title. And based on his recent form, it’s hard to see anybody stopping him.
LANDO NORRIS (McLaren)
Results in 2019: 12-6-Ret-8-Ret-11-Ret-9-6
Head-to-head in 2019: Norris 3, Sainz 6
McLaren showed their confidence in Norris by announcing a three-year extension to his contract on the eve of the British Grand Prix.
The 19-year-old, in his rookie season, sits eighth in the drivers’ standings after clinching points in four of the nine races.
Norris has out-qualified his team-mate Sainz six to three so far this season and has shown maturity and supreme race-craft in an improving car.
The Bristol man has been composed after two retirements in Spain and Canada due to mechanical issues, and has not been fazed either when going to wheel to wheel with seasoned campaigners Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton in Austria.
His starring displays were two sixth-place finishes in Bahrain and Austria. The Bahrain result, in particular, catches the eye as Norris had a slow start but showed real determination to forge his way back to sixth, thanks in part to a late Renault double retirement.
Another step in the right direction as Norris and McLaren continue to cement their best of the rest status ahead of Haas and Racing Point.
GEORGE RUSSELL (Williams)
Results in 2019: 16-15-16-15-17-15-16-19-18
Head-to-head in 2019: Russell 9, Kubica 0
The Englishman may be sitting at the foot of the championship in 19th place, one place above team-mate Robert Kubica, but that doesn’t reflect his overall talents as a driver.
Racing in a woefully uncompetitive Williams car, Russell has left Kubica firmly in his shade this season, with a perfect 9-0 record in qualifying and races.
Although the Norfolk man has exited at Q1 each event, it is more to do with Williams’ shocking pace rather than his own driving abilities.
So poor is the Williams that the 21-year-old’s sole objective is to beat Kubica – a goal he has met with serious ease so far.
If Russell can continue his flawless record over the Pole, then there is a high chance of securing a seat at a more competitive outfit next season. A move that would really bring out his tenacity and finesse.
Lewis Hamilton is gearing up for his favourite weekend of the year as he sets his sights on a record sixth British Grand Prix victory.
Hamilton will move one triumph clear of Jim Clark and Alain Prost if he masters Formula One’s oldest race and wins for the sixth time in front of what is expected to be a record 140,000-strong crowd at Silverstone on Sunday.
The five-time world champion has started the year in impressive fashion, winning six of the opening nine rounds as he chases the championship that would move him to within one of Michael Schumacher’s record haul.
Indeed, the Briton holds a 31-point lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas with Mercedes bossing the new campaign, although the team endured a rare off weekend last time out in Austria as their cars struggled in the extreme heat.
But with cooler temperatures forecast for this weekend, and Hamilton winning four of the last five grands prix staged at Silverstone, the 34-year-old will start as the favourite to take the chequered flag again.
“Having the support from your country and seeing it there, all concentrated into one weekend event, really makes for the most incredible few days that you get in the whole year,” said Hamilton, who has spent the build-up to his home race in Los Angeles.
“It is difficult to put a number on what you gain from the positivity. Everyone’s energy is priceless.
“I approach it the same as every other weekend, but I put more emphasis on the grand prix, knowing how important it is to everyone. I do come with more energy as it feels more important because there is so much great support.”
Hamilton has wiped the floor with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel over the past two-and-a-half seasons.
It is approaching a year since Vettel last won a race, and the German is already a staggering 76 points behind Hamilton in the championship.
Despite Ferrari’s impressive pre-season form, it was Max Verstappen who delivered the first non-Mercedes victory of the campaign with a remarkable comeback drive at the Red Bull Ring.
The 21-year-old has arguably been the leading performer this season, with his win in Austria moving him above Vettel in the championship.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the Dutchman is a better driver than Hamilton.
“As the driver in the form of his life, arguably over the past 12 months, Max has been the best in the world,” said Horner.
“How do I substantiate that? He’s not in the best car. But when you look at the results he has got out of that car since Montreal last year, he has made virtually zero mistakes.
“Lewis has got the benefit of experience. He’s still extremely quick, he’s in the best car, in a very well-oiled machine. But Max is the coming man. This sport is crying out for more drivers like Max Verstappen.”
The future of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone is set to be rubber-stamped before this weekend’s action.
Hamilton concluded: “This is a grand prix we can never lose. If Formula One loses this race, it loses so much of its essence.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
British teenager Lando Norris has been rewarded for the fine start to his Formula One career with a long-term McLaren deal.
McLaren have activated a clause in Norris’ rookie contract which is understood to see the 19-year-old remain with them for at least a further three years.
It is believed Norris will not get a pay hike on his current wage, worth up to £400,000-a-season, for next year.
“It’s good to see McLaren have faith in me, and back up what they’ve said in that I have been doing a good job so far,” Norris told PA.
“I wasn’t pushing for it. I wasn’t saying I want the deal done by Silverstone. It was out of the blue last week. It doesn’t change too much because I wasn’t thinking about it, or worried about it, but it gives me a bit more confidence.
“As for the dollar, the kerching, I can’t even remember what I have got in my contract. It is not something I am worried about. It is under control.”
McLaren made the announcement on the eve of Norris’ home race at Silverstone on Sunday following their driver’s impressive displays, and to deter interest from rival teams.
Indeed, Britain’s youngest F1 driver ever has not been fazed by the grand prix circus. He has finished in the points in four of his opening nine races, and heads to the British Grand Prix following a career-best sixth in Austria last time out.
The Somerset teenager, who admits to still taking his clothes home to be washed by his mother, Cisca, has been a match for his more experienced team-mate, too – the Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who has 90 races under his belt.
Norris added: “I don’t want to sound arrogant and say my results speak for themselves, but for what McLaren say – and that’s the best way for me to know what I am doing given the people they have seen come and go over the years – they feel I am doing a good job.
“The only thing that kind of annoys me, is that I walked into my local shop recently, and finally the guy figured out who I was. But that was mainly because I parked my McLaren road car outside.
“I like how it is at the moment, or how it has been. I don’t want it to change. I don’t want people to be friendly to me because of what I do rather than who I am.”
Norris has recorded the best results by a British debutant since Lewis Hamilton starred for McLaren a dozen years ago.
Hamilton, whose latest deal is worth £40million-a-year, challenged for the championship in his remarkable rookie campaign.
Although McLaren are enjoying a resurgence this season after years of turmoil, they remain some way off the sport’s big three of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
“Lando is in a good place, so as he gets more successful, and we get more successful, we all win together,” said McLaren’s chief executive Zak Brown.
“Given how well Lando and Carlos are doing, it was in our best interest that as silly season ramps up, we have our head down, we know what we’re doing next year, and this announcement is to end speculation or potential activity.”
Provided by Press Association Sport