The throaty roar of an inline-four, the swish of a chequered flag, the camaraderie of riding together, and the legends and their greatest hits.

Sweet Silverstone, Hello!

There’s a reason why we love Silverstone. It is much more than a circuit. It’s where history is made, says Nikki Grubb-Clarke

Oh I love the smell of Woodcote in the morning. Silverstone. A beautiful grey ribbon nestled in the Northamptonshire countryside. The birthplace of Formula 1 where in 1950, Giuseppe Farina won the first ever F1 race in his Alfa Romeo. The spiritual home of British Motorsport which has produced wins for no less than 12 home drivers. Amongst them Heroes, nae Legends of our sport – Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, to name but a few.  The circuit only once tamed by Ayrton Senna, but masterfully controlled by Alain Prost. And my home race.

Silverstone, 1979: Clay Regazzoni (Williams FW07 Ford) 1st position, action. This was Williams Grand Prix Engineering's maiden Grand Prix victory. World Copyright - LAT Photographic; Image courtesy Williams F1 Team (for editorial use only)

Silverstone, 1979: Clay Regazzoni (Williams FW07 Ford) 1st position, action. This was Williams Grand Prix Engineering’s maiden Grand Prix victory. World Copyright – LAT Photographic; Image courtesy Williams F1 Team (for editorial use only)

This race is special. Why? Because no matter what, come rain or more rain the ‘Keep Calm and Pop Your Wellies On’ attitude of the seasoned British Motorsport Fan, alongside the ‘Pass Me a Beer To Warm Me Up’ and ‘Look, if I jump from high enough I can cover myself AND everyone else in mud’ outlook of the Silverstone Camper, shows the dedication and determination to first and foremost make the weekend fun. Add to that the fact that a huge number of teams have their HQs local to the circuit, and you have a party atmosphere that few races can match.

So what of this year? Last year we had the Alonso / Webber tussle. An awesome scrap that led to Mark Webber taking the win for the 2nd time – much to the delight of a Silverstone crowd who, if they couldn’t have a British winner, were super happy with a chiselled Australian one. Will the tyres allow another tussle the like of which we haven’t seen this year?

British chances of a win, I think it’s fair to say, rest on the shoulders of Lovely Lew-Lew. Our very own gritty, determined hero, whose driving is a nod to the influence of our Beautiful Ayrton. Can the Mercedes tyres hold out long and FINALLY allow him to convert his blistering quali pace into a first, thoroughly deserved, win of 2013?

Silverstone, 1994: Damon Hill flies the Union Flag from his cockpit after victory in his home race. Photo: LAT Photographic/Williams F1. Image courtesy Williams F1 Team (for editorial use only)

Silverstone, 1994: Damon Hill flies the Union Flag from his cockpit after victory in his home race. LAT Photographic/Williams F1. Image courtesy Williams F1 Team (editorial use only)

And what of the other British prospects? How can I so cruelly dismiss JB? Well let’s be honest. Unless the return of ‘Tooned’ to Sky F1 this weekend brings with it a much-improved car, his chances of even attaining a podium seem pretty slim. A sorry state of affairs for a McLaren team so thoroughly well-supported at home no matter what. Paul Di Resta has had a shocking run of Qualifying form recently – not of his own doing, to be fair – but gave an AMAZING race performance last time out. If he can get out of Q1, he might be an outside bet for a podium, if you’re feeling brave! Max Chilton…Momma always told me if you can’t say anything nice, then say nothing. To be fair I’ve never listened. He’ll be there, rolling around at the back, not really getting the most out of the Marussia, and being shown up by Jules Bianchi. There. I said it. And I don’t feel even a little bad.

One thing I would ask is that anyone who reads this who has tickets that include paddock access, if you could sneak in to the RBR garage and smear jam on Finger Boy’s engine just before the race so his car won’t start, that would be super. I say jam…but any sticky condiment would do the job, I’m sure. Thanks, in advance.

My tip? The RBR is on fire at the moment, and Mark Webber LOVES this track. I think we’ll see the Mercedes in fine qualifying form, as has become the norm, but Mark Webber will come through to take a 3rd Silverstone Victory, a victory that will be his last at the track as an F1 driver, as the announcement has come that he’s going to be playing out with Porsche in the FIA WEC next season. A brilliant move for Mark, although he should have held out for Aston Martin. Mark, Bruno Senna and Fred Mako. Oh my goodness, what a team THAT would have made!!

Silverstone, 1991: Nigel Mansell gives Ayrton Senna a lift back to the pits. World Copyright: LAT Photographic; Image courtesy Williams F1 team (for editorial use only)

Silverstone, 1991: Nigel Mansell gives Ayrton Senna a lift back to the pits. World Copyright: LAT Photographic; Image courtesy Williams F1 team (for editorial use only)

But one thing that is never assured is the Great British Weather. Throw in some rain, and anything could happen. Remember Johnny Herbert’s 1995 victory?

As I write this, I sit in Scotland thoroughly envious of the ‘On my way to Silverstone’ or ‘Ooo I’m at the camp site at Silverstone’ tweets I see on my Timeline. Alas, I shall not be joining you all, but my heart, my spirit and my glass of gin most certainly are. *Clink* Cheers!

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