As someone who is yet to go to a race at Silverstone, I haven’t experienced a race that I can call my favourite. This made coming up with a list of my favourite moments difficult as there are so many memories and events to choose from, some even before I was born. In addition, with so many races in a season, it’s hard to remember an exciting moment from some British Grand Prix because other more important races overshadowed them. Even so, I have thought about this a lot and here are some of my favourite moments in the (recent) history of the British GP.
1992 – Mansell wins at Silverstone for the last time
Nigel Mansell winning the 1992 British Grand Prix is, of course, not something I saw first-hand, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be included. After watching so many videos of that moment, you truly feel like you were there experiencing it for yourself. There were crowds of spectators around him as he crossed the line and took his final Silverstone win ahead of retiring at the end of the season. Of course, this wouldn’t be allowed anymore as it is so unsafe, but it signifies how important this race is to the British fans, even today. Every time Lewis Hamilton has won this race in more recent years, the fans still react with that same excitement, and hopefully, in the future, this will be the same for Lando Norris or George Russell. This win in 1992 shows how passionate British fans are at their home race, and I hope that never changes.
2008 – Lewis Hamilton wins his first British GP
Having qualified on pole the previous year, the British fans had already been treated to a masterclass, but he only finished third in the end in the 2007 race. He, therefore, had a lot to prove coming into the 2008 race weekend. Lewis only qualified 4th, but he overtook Webber and Räikkönen on the start as they struggled for grip at the wet circuit, as did Kovalainen, but he was able to retake the lead quickly. By Lap 5, though, Lewis was able to overtake him to take the lead, and he kept it throughout while everyone around him struggled and many drivers spun in the wet conditions. He eventually won the race by over a minute, which is a truly extraordinary achievement and so exciting on home soil in only his second season. We knew then that Lewis was a special driver, and he continues to be to this day.
2013 – Nico Rosberg wins after dramatic tyre blowouts
After Hamilton qualified on pole and led the early laps, the British driver got a puncture that quickly ruled him out of podium contention. Then two laps later, Massa had the same problem, and it became clear this was not going to be an ordinary race. With Vergne next to fall foul to a puncture, Pirelli’s day kept getting worse. With Vettel then out with reliability issues, Rosberg seemed to take control following the safety car. Perez was the final driver with a puncture, adding even more drama to an already exhilarating race. Nico kept Webber at bay, with the Australian driver fighting back to take the win, mixing up the title fight hugely following a thrilling British race.
2020 – Lewis Hamilton wins on 3 wheels
The final memory that had to be included in this list was the first of the two 2020 races. Once again, tyre issues were the main narrative, with last-minute dramas for both Mercedes drivers. Bottas had a puncture with two laps to go, giving Verstappen the chance to take a free pit stop onto softs to take the fastest lap and fly past the stricken Mercedes. Everyone was shocked, but it didn’t end there. As he started his final lap, his tyre also blew, and he was effectively driving on just 3 wheels. Max was flying behind him, and it became clear that this race wasn’t over with just a few corners still to go. Impressively Lewis was able to finish the race first, despite Verstappen’s best effort, and the Brit continued his winning streak at home, which he had won every year since 2014 apart from 2018 when Vettel won for Ferrari. This was a very thrilling and stressful end to the race and one I will never forget.
2021 – What’s to come?
It seems strange to include a race that hasn’t occurred yet in this list, but even the build-up to this year’s race has been exciting. Knowing that a full capacity crowd will be back after over so many races with little to no fans is so exciting. So many rumours circulated regarding whether Silverstone would close their doors once again this year with constant rule changes, it is amazing to know that so many people will get their first race experience, and the Brits will be reunited in support of our drivers, as well as the rest of the field. With a dramatic start to the season, this weekend will be no different, and I, for one, cannot wait for it.