F1 British Grand Prix: Top 5 races of all time at Silverstone
Nestled in history and untouched by the changing vagaries of time, Silverstone is pure gold for its sheer significance to F1 racing.
This is a signature F1 event where the fighting instincts unveiled at the track pay homage to the sweltering heat and bustle of World War- II.
Back then, the track was but an airfield used by the giants serving Britain in one of the most tectonic events of the world. Victory and prevalence of the brave are therefore sacrosanct in the DNA of this belter of a track, spread over 5.8 kilometres, sprinkled by 18 turns and ignited often by humid and sometimes wet weather conditions.
Today, the motor-racing circuit is bejewelled by feisty achievements claimed by legendary names in the annals of Formula 1.
First opened way back in 1947, a time in the history where some nations hadn’t yet been formed while some hadn’t yet claimed independence, the Silverstone is a track that unites motor-racing lovers like few other tracks can.
In an age where F1 has spread it’s global feathers in wider destinations such as Central Asia and dived in the midst of Europe, Silverstone sits calmly in the heart of the sport as a destination one can’t turn a blind eye to. One that can’t be ignored for the sheer thrill it offers- where speed matters just as much as high-speed corners determining team strategies.
You could call it the Ulysses seeped in the heart of this great sport of ours that respects tradition and serves surprises through a template that’s constantly embracing technology.
Hamilton has ruled here. And so have Senna, Mansell and even, Johnny Herbert.
But which are 5 of the best Grands Prix held at Silverstone, since 1948 onward?
#5 The 1995 British Grand Prix: Herbert clinches a surprise Grand Prix
If there were a Grand Prix that enabled the triumph of surprise over stoicism then perhaps, it would have to be Silverstone’s 1995 run that saw Johnny Herbert collect his finest racing moment.
It’s not always that drivers of the class and élan of a Schumacher, Alesi and Hakkinen are thumped on the grid.
One of the more dramatic races in Silverstone’s decades of history, at no stage, till the final dying moments did it seem that the McLaren and Ferraris of Mika and Jean Alesi would despair in front of the winning Benetton of Herbert, perhaps making the 1995 British Grand Prix, even more surprising.
A race where the team that kept pressure amid suddenly changing tides to win saw the track position changing hands from the onset of Lap 37, going from the grasp of Hill to Alesi and then briefly to Michael Schumacher before things would change even further.
At one stage, where it seemed pole-sitter Hill was destined to win, having maintained a near-unassailable lead of over 6 seconds at the front saw his race compromised thanks to a botched up stop of his Williams in Lap 41.
From thereon, as Hill would play catch up to Schumacher, then in contention for a podium, fans would see a two-way fight between a fast Benetton and an able Williams in the run to the checkered flag.
This is when things would turn on their head by Lap 46.
Hill would try to pass Michael, forcing his way this time having failed once at Stowe and right then a defensive hold-off from Michael would lead to a collision.
With both drivers now at the gravel, the race was left wide open for the other takers. Coulthard, Hill’s teammate, who’d then taken the lead would soon undergo a stop-go penalty having speeded up in the pits.
This would bring in Johnny Herbert into contention. He would mount a staunch chase to the checkered flag and would defend brilliantly from Alesi who tried to counter attack for the track position.
Alas, a terminal woe in the form of an oil leak in his engine would exacerbate Alesi’s woes as Herbert held on bravely to claim one among his three race wins and seven Grand Prix finishes on the podium.
Was this also his best, you bet?