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F1 Tracks: Silverstone - British Grand Prix

Grand Prix racing began in France more than 100 years ago, but it wasn't until 1950 that the Formula 1 World Championship was born.

The circuit chosen to hold the inaugural event was a converted World War Two bomber base on the border between Northampton and Buckinghamshire, between the village of Silverstone and Stowe School.

Silverstone circuit has hosted all bar 17 editions of the British Grand Prix, which has itself been an ever-present on the calendar, with Aintree and Brands Hatch the other tracks used.

The layout has changed quite a bit over the years, but the circuit retains its fast, flowing character and is a favourite among drivers and fans.

Where is Silverstone?

The rural surroundings of Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire villages and farmland conceal a fearsome racing circuit with tons of history.

Milton Keynes, home to the Red Bull F1 team, is a 20-minute drive to the east when there's no race traffic, and in the other direction you'll find the Brackley base of their rivals Mercedes. Meanwhile, opposite the gates of the circuit itself is Aston Martin's F1 headquarters.

When was Silverstone first built?

The WWII bomber station RAF Silverstone was closed in 1946 and by September 1947 a local group of friends began using the deserted site as a race track.

The following year the RAC leased the airfield and marked out a circuit using the runways, but by 1950 they had switched to using the perimeter roads.

The layout remained largely unchanged until 1991, when a major redesign saw several new corners added. Though radical, the changes were met with general approval.

The circuit underwent another significant renovation for the 2010 race and the following year the opening of the new pit complex saw the start/finish line shifted halfway around the track from its previous location.

Once again, although much changed, the character of the circuit was retained and the new layout proved popular, as well as producing some excellent racing.

How long is Silverstone?

In its current guise the circuit measures 5,891km with 18 corners, several of which are very fast, though not quite flat out, making Silverstone a tough track on tyres.

The Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel sequence of corners are key to a good lap time. Entered at full throttle, the turns get gradually tighter, but a fast exit is necessary to maximise speed down the following Hangar straight.

When did Silverstone first host an F1 race?

F1 racing at Silverstone pre-dates the World Championship, with the first event being held in 1948 and won by Italian Luigi Villoresi.

The 1950 race was the opening round of the inaugural F1 World Championship and was a great social occasion attended by 200,000 spectators including King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

The race was won by Giuseppe Farina, who went on to claim the 1950 drivers' championship. The Italian completed the 70 laps in a time of 2hrs 13min 23.6sec, while his Alfa Romeo teammates Luigi Fagioli and Britain's Reg Parnell completed the podium.

A fourth Alfa, driven by the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio, had been lying third in the race but retired with eight laps remaining due to a fractured oil pipe.

Who has won the most F1 races at Silverstone?

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has won at Silverstone on eight occasions. That is the joint-most wins by a single driver at any circuit, tied with Hamilton's record at Hungaroring and Michael Schumacher's eight victories at Magny Cours in France.

Hamilton scored his first home win in atrocious weather conditions in 2008 for McLaren, before adding seven more in the nine Silverstone races between 2014 and 2021 with Mercedes (there were two in 2020).

What is the F1 lap record at Silverstone?

Double world champion Max Verstappen holds the current race lap record at Silverstone of a 1min 27.097sec on the 52nd and last lap of the 2020 race.

Hamilton set the fastest ever lap of the circuit in its current layout in qualifying for that race, a 1min 24.303sec effort at an average speed of 156.3mph.

Does Silverstone host any other events?

Silverstone can be raced in several shorter configurations than the full Grand Prix circuit, and these are widely used by various club racing series.

The track is also host to the British round of the MotoGP world championship as well as the Silverstone Classic - the world's biggest historic racing festival.

In the past, Silverstone has also played host to drifting competitions and the UK's only 24-hour sports car race.

What is the weather like at Silverstone?

As unpredictable as in the rest of Britain!

The race is usually held in July to minimise the risk of rain, but the 2000 event took place in April. Heavy rain rendered the public carparks unusable and caused traffic chaos across the weekend.

Even in the height of summer, sunshine can't be guaranteed, and last year Carlos Sainz claimed pole position on a wet track, although the race remained dry.

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