Three British drivers will gun for glory this year at Silverstone but while one has a pretty good record here, it’s largely been as miserable as the weather for the other two…
This will be Jenson Button’s 13th crack at the British Grand Prix and his 13th attempt at getting on the podium. While it’s not exactly a bogey circuit for the McLaren driver, he’s never finished higher than fourth here (though admittedly one of those was from 14th on the grid in 2010, which is pretty handy). He has also had four DNFs (2002, ’06, ’08 and last year) and has only finished in the top five on four occasions.
Even when at the wheel of a car massively superior to everything else on the grid – 2009’s Brawn BGP001 – he tightened and finished sixth, after starting in the same position.
It wasn’t always that way. In his very first British Grand Prix in 2000, he started sixth for Williams and finished fifth. The previous year in British F3 he even went so far as to get on the podium here – twice. Driving for Promatecme, he finished the first of three Silverstone outings in sixth place and followed that up with a second place and a win later in the year.
So what is Button’s bogey circuit? Luckily for him it’s not one in use by F1 anymore – Indianapolis. From eight race weekends there he recorded four DNFs and one failure to start (the Michelin compromised 2005 edition) In the races he did finish his best result was eighth. The other two were a ninth and a 12th.
Button's team-mate Lewis Hamilton's record at the British Grand Prix is just a bit better. From five starts, the McLaren driver has only finished outside the top five once – in 2009. On that occasion though, Hamilton had a mountain to climb after qualifying as he was forced to start from 19th spot when his last flying run in Q1 was disrupted when Adrian Sutil crashed at Abbey.
Lewis had made his British Grand Prix debut the year before and notched a particular landmark. His third-place finish in the race was his ninth podium position in nine starts, equalling a record set by the great Jim Clark in 1963, though Clark did manage to finish on the podium in all but one of that year’s 10-race championship (he was eighth at the opening round in Monaco). It all went wrong for Hamilton at his next race in Germany. He crashed out in qualifying, started the race from 10th and finished ninth.
Paul Di Resta has, of course, started just the one British Grand Prix, last year. It’s probably a race the Scot would rather forget, however. A good showing in qualifying put him sixth on the grid, five places ahead of team-mate Adrian Sutil. All good, or maybe not.
He was on course for seventh place when he came in for a pit stop and his Force India crew team managed to bring out tyres for Sutil. Then, later on, Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Buemi ran over his front wing, forcing Di Resta to stop for a new nosecone. It all added up to a 15th-place finish.
Still it wasn’t too bad for a driver who’d never clapped eyes on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit in the flesh. Bizarrely for a racer from Britain, the closest Paul had come had been a round of Formula Renault on the Silverstone National Circuit in 2004.
He is, however, a bit of a Brands Hatch specialist. In DTM he won there in 2009 and the following year on his way to the championship title. In 2008 he finished second there and as far back as 2006 he won a round of the F3 Euroseries at the Kent circuit.