2022 British GP Preview and Betting Tips – JP
2022 British GP Preview and Tips
The 2022 British GP is one of the highlights of the sporting Summer. Silverstone, Wimbledon and St. Andrews will all be the centre of attention in the coming weeks, but this weekend it is the Formula 1 action from Silverstone, and the start of the traditional European season, with seven races on traditional, purpose built racing circuits. No more bumpy street circuits until we return to Singapore in early October.
Silverstone is a real old school track, despite many modifications down the years, it remains a real test for thoroughbred racing machines. It is one of the fastest tracks on the calendar and braking is not a big issue here, as much of the lap is taken flat out. There are four straights, seven slow corners, ten medium to fast corners and it has a nice, fast and flowing feel to it. The drivers love it and while the facilities may not be the best on the calendar, it is one of the great F1 tracks.
The driver on pole position here since 2014 has won four of the nine races (there were two races in 2020), with three coming from second on the grid. The attrition rate in the same period is 3.44 per race with a high of six and a low of one. The last three races have an average of just 1.67 DNFs per race.
2022 British GP: The Weather
The weather forecast is always worth paying attention to for this race. The forecast is the usual British Summer tease. A mixture of sunshine and showers is in the mix. There will be plenty of clouds around for the weekend and we have a forecast for a few light showers Friday, something very similar for the Saturday, but race day looks more likely to be dry.
Temperatures will be moderate, peaking at 18-20 degrees or not far off that all weekend. It will be breezy all three days and any showers are likely to be pass quickly. We may see some rain, but it does not look like being a defining factor.
2022 British GP: Driver Records
Silverstone has been a Mercedes fortress in the turbo hybrid era. They have won seven of the eight British GPs since 2014, but the circuit hosted two races in 2020, The British GP, won by Hamilton, and the 70th Anniversary GP the following weekend, won by Verstappen. Mercedes have won eight of the last ten GPs held here and Lewis Hamilton has eight wins in total. His last two however have been a little fortunate.
His 2020 British GP win was achieved with three wheels on his wagon. He got a late puncture and crossed the line with only three wheels touching the track and Verstappen closing in at a rapid rate. Last year saw an ambitious overtaking move by Hamilton on the first lap, which led to Verstappen crashing out. Hamilton was judged to have been at fault but his 10 second penalty wasn’t enough to prevent him taking the race win.
Decent Record For Leclerc
Charles Leclerc has finished 3/3/4/2 in his four races with Ferrari here. Teammate Sainz hasn’t enjoyed much luck here with two 6th places his best but also three DNFs and he has failed to score on five occasions.
Max Verstappen has been handicapped by a lack of power on this track, but he has two 2nd places and a win to his credit. Sergio Perez has had a best finish of 6th.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon has always enjoyed himself at Silverstone, scoring points in each race with finishes of 8/7/6/8/9, and Alonso has finished 8th and 7th in his last two here.
Lando Norris has scored in his last three Silverstone races with a 5th and 4th his best results. Daniel Ricciardo has six top 5 finishes from his last nine races here.
Lance Stroll has finished in the top nine in his last three races here, Sebastian Vettel has won twice but scored just one point in his last four.
Who will the 2022 British GP track suit?
With Red Bull having won the last six races in a row, and Max Verstappen five of the last six, it doesn’t take a genius to work out who will start as favourite. With the Honda power units finally giving Red Bull the required power in the last year or two, Verstappen has been much more competitive here and could quite easily have won the last three. Red Bull are talking down their chances for this weekend, or rather highlighting their rivals’ chances.
This is a proper racetrack and as such it has a smoother track surface. That may help reduce the amount of bouncing by those cars more prone to it. Mercedes will certainly hope so as they are bringing a package of upgrades for one of their ‘home’ races. This may be their last chance to attempt to join the party in 2022. If this upgrade doesn’t work, I suspect all efforts will be targeted in 2023.
Mercedes as Contenders?
You will hear a lot about Mercedes’ chances of winning this weekend, so is it just talk to get the many Hamilton fans to tune in, or is there any credence to the stories? They finished 3rd and 4th in Canada last time out, the fourth time they have done so this season. Surely that puts them in the frame for this weekend? Not really.
They were helped by the fact that Perez qualified just 13th, that he was a DNF and that Leclerc had to start from the back from the grid. On the other three occasions Mercedes scored a 3-4 finish, it coincided with two Red Bulls retiring in Bahrain, Verstappen and Sainz DNFs in Melbourne and both Ferraris retiring in Baku. Mercedes’ very good reliability has helped them pick up the crumbs from the top table if either or both the top team’s stumble.
Race Pace Good
Of more interest was the fact that Lewis Hamilton was only 7 seconds behind Verstappen at the end of the race in Canada. In general, their race pace has been better than qualifying pace and they do tend to make progress on Sundays. However, even in the ground effect era, it is one thing to catch the car in front, another to pass it.
The wet qualifying session in Montreal, followed by a dry race, gave us a very unusual grid, compounded by Leclerc taking his big grid penalty for an all new PU. The race had two virtual safety cars and one actual safety car to bunch the field, and it was an atypical race. That Mercedes finished the closest to the race winner as they have all season, is not a sign that their car was truly competitive, but a result of the circumstances of an unusual weekend.
Mercedes supporters will point to Spain as an indicator of their potential for Silverstone. A new floor was introduced to help with performance and Russell got his 3rd place there ‘on merit’, apart from Leclerc retiring from the lead on lap 27. Russell was still 0.416 slower than Leclerc in qualifying and finished 32 seconds off the winner’s time, albeit he had to lift and coast in the dying laps as his car was overheating.
It is likely that this will be another Red Bull vs. Ferrari battle, so long as Ferrari can find better reliability. That said, Red Bull suffered another DNF themselves in Canada last time out and it is the two teams’ poor reliability which is allowing Mercedes to harbour hopes that they might still be able to have an outside chance of a title if they can find the key to unlocking their cars performance. Mercedes believe that Silverstone will suit their car better than most, but being realistic, they do realise they have a big gap to close in terms of performance.
They may get closer, but to compete for the win, they need to find the kind of silver bullet that may not exist. If they can stop the car porpoising, especially in the high-speed corners, we will see a more competitive performance, but there have been a few false dawns at Mercedes and it might just be that the car is a wrong ‘un.
Red Bull vs. Ferrari
The track is power sensitive and fast, but it doesn’t feature any really long straights which gave Red Bull an advantage in Montreal and Baku. This should bring Ferrari back into the picture. It is less likely that they will be getting caught, or not being able to close in on the Red Bulls, at the end of the straights, which has been a weakness. Leclerc has driven well here, and he must be considered as a much more likely winner here than in recent races.
Carlos Sainz got to within a second of Verstappen in Montreal, but he never really looked like being able to make a pass. The Red Bull was just that bit quicker down the long straight, even with Sainz using DRS. The shorter straights here should level the playing field, with Ferrari quick at the start of straights, Red Bull at the end of them. The shorter the straight, the less advantage to Red Bull.
It looks like we should see a more competitive Ferrari this weekend. While attention is on the Mercedes upgrade this weekend, Ferrari will be looking for a mid-summer relaunch. They have gone six races without a win, scuppered by unreliability in Spain and poor race execution in Monaco, two races they should have one.
They still have a fast car, as witnessed by six pole positions for Leclerc. Sainz was close to his first win in Montreal last time out and this is not a car with any fundamental flaws, but poor reliability has limited its scoring power. It goes well on all sorts of tracks and with a relatively new power unit, Leclerc should enjoy more power, and hopefully, better reliability.
Rear Wing Adjustments
Ferrari have worked hard on their rear wings to reduce drag which has closed the gap in terms of straight-line speed and both drivers will have the latest version this weekend. The biggest potential threat for Ferrari is tyre wear. Silverstone has been famous for causing serious tyre wear problems and Ferrari have had problems in that department. Pirelli will bring the three hardest tyres in their range for this weekend and with the weather set to be no more than warm, that will help with degradation to some extent.
Leclerc remains the best qualifier on the grid and while pole position isn’t vital at Silverstone, being on the front row tends to be where the winner will be found. Red Bull and Verstappen are the better combination over a race distance and Max is the deserved favourite. His best odds of 2.00 are only to be expected, perhaps a touch generous, but I am just about swayed by Leclerc’s odds of 3.25.
A bigger stake would have been in order but for concerns about tyre wear. Such worries are not an issue for qualifying and having scored six poles from the eight qualifying sessions he has fully taken part in, even money is a decent price.
2022 British GP Tip: 2 points Charles Leclerc to be the fastest qualifier @ 2.00 with SpreadEx, Betfred
2022 British GP Tip: 1 point Charles Leclerc to win the British GP @ 3.25 generally available
Best of the Rest at the 2022 British GP
Mercedes is best of the rest, occupying the zone behind the top two, but ahead of the midfield. They should qualify on the third row and finish 5th and 6th if it all goes to the script. If the big two have problems, and there have been plenty in 2022, another podium would be no surprise. Both Hamilton and Russell are 3.25 shots to have a podium finish and the value looks very marginal.
As usual, the real puzzle is who will be the fourth best team. In Montreal it was arguably Alpine. Alonso qualified on the front row in a wet session but faded badly in the race and it was teammate Esteban Ocon who got the team’s best finish, coming home in seventh place.
It was Alpine’s third double points finish in the last four races, so they are making some progress, even if it looks a bit chaotic at times. Their car will feature upgrades this weekend as they try and make further inroads to overtaking McLaren for 4th place.
Alpine have been bringing new parts for the car on a regular basis, but this weekend will see a ‘substantial’ upgrade. Ocon has ‘big hopes’ for the weekend. He is happy that the upgrades so far have all worked and that helps the belief that this new package will also work. Outscoring McLaren is the objective and Ocon is realistic enough to know that Mercedes is still out of reach, for now.
Ocon is flying a bit under the radar. Alonso gets the headlines at Alpine, but in terms of points scored, it is Ocon on 39, Alonso 18. Ocon has two top six finishes, and three seventh places and he has a good record at Silverstone, always finishing in the points (8/7/6/8/9). His qualifying pace isn’t great, only making Q3 four times in 2022, but he has only failed to score points twice.
2022 British GP: Ante Post Minefield
There are two threats to ante post betting this weekend. The first is the possibility of the FIA starting to make regulation changes relating to the porpoising problem. The process was started in Montreal, but only as a data gathering exercise. No decision has been made yet as to any steps which may be taken.
It is unsatisfactory that we don’t know what the rules will be, just a day before the race weekend. Will all the teams face a mandatory rule that ride heights must be raised to a prescribed level, or will it be dependent on how badly each car is bouncing? If it is the latter, then its good news for Red Bull who are not suffering to anywhere near the same degree. We shall just have to wait and see but it is not a good look if the FIA are indecisive.
Power Unit Penalties
The second ante post threat is that we have reached that point in the season where drivers are taking grid penalties for taking new power units, or elements of them. Often decisions are made after Friday’s practice sessions and taking ante post prices carry a bigger degree of risk than earlier in the season. Charles Leclerc and Yuki Tsunoda have already taken a big hit in Montreal, so both should be penalty free this weekend, but there are plenty of others who are on the cusp.
Ocon is one of them and while odds of 5.00 for him to have a top 6 finish are tempting, it may be worth holding fire until Sunday. That would get rid of the risk of an unwanted grid penalty, and the fact that qualifying is not his strong point, his odds may drift, penalty or not. Teammate Alonso took a grid penalty as far back as Spain for a new power unit.
Top 6 Battle
Other drivers outside of the big three teams to have top 6 finishes include Norris (3) and Bottas (2). However, their odds for a top 6 finish this weekend are 2.50 and 2.75 respectively, way shorter than Ocon’s. That’s despite Alpine’s good recent form and significant upgrades coming this weekend.
We may come back to Ocon on Sunday, but I will take the chance that he will be penalty free this weekend. With the team introducing a big upgrade, you would think that they will be looking for a good result. Rather than look for a riskier top 6 finish, Ocon looks a good price for points finish.
Seven from nine is a good strike rate, bettered only by four drivers, but there are 10 drivers shorter than him in the betting for a top 10 finish. I was considering a very strong bet for this one, but the threat of a grid penalty means some caution should be exercised. However, the odds are too good to pass by without a decent stake.
2022 British GP Tip: 3 points Esteban Ocon to finish in the points @ 1.80 with Betfred
Bottas is having a good season in the Alfa Romeo. It may not be the most reliable of cars over the weekend, but come Sunday, he has got home in the points in seven of the nine races so far. He has failed to make Q3 in the last three races but still had two points finishes and just missed out in Baku (11th).
He may be helped this weekend by the news that the team have finally built up enough spare parts to be able to run both cars with the latest parts and for the whole weekend. They have been running with old parts on Friday, just in case they had a crash and broke the limited supply of new parts. This weekend will see no need to be chopping and changing from Friday to Saturday.
The Alfa Romeo team are being quite bullish about their chances in the upcoming races as a result. They expect to be able to run at the top of the midfield unless other teams come with effective upgrades. More points and a double points finish is the target. They achieved that in Canada, but Zhou has suffered three DNFs in the last five races. That said, he had a very good weekend in Canada and will know this weekend’s track better than most. He had a pole position and two podium finishes here in F2.
Other midfielders of interest are Aston Martin. Rejuvenated after their Red Bull make over, they have got a car into the points in the last three races but they are not at the level of Alpine or Alfa Romeo. Lance Stroll has finished in the top 10 here for the last three years and on the back of his tenth place in Canada he will be a little more confident, but he is still not as comfortable with the car as Vettel.
The team say they will have a ‘substantial’ upgrade for this weekend. They are trying to butter up Vettel and get him to sign a new contract, but he will need to see further performance gains if his retirement is to be delayed.
At The Back
At the back of the grid, Williams is due to introduce their rather overdue upgrade. It will be run only on Albon’s car which suggests spares are low and they do not want to risk Latifi depleting them even more. Albon will have a new floor and revised bodywork to improve the downforce.
I don’t expect a huge improvement and the team are saying that they are using the weekend to understand how these upgrades perform rather than hoping to add to their modest points tally. That said, with tyre wear likely to be an issue for these big, heavy cars on a fast-flowing circuit, Albon’s remarkable long run in Melbourne gives them some hope if degradation becomes a big issue.
One team who will not be sporting an upgrade is McLaren. The team’s performance has stalled, and they are blaming the cost cap. They have already eaten into their budget to the extent that they expect an overspend, which will incur some sort of sanction down the line. They finished 4th and 5th here last year but they are behind the big three this year and Alpine have been reeling them in in recent races.