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Can Anyone Stop Max…… – ercedes and Lewis Hamilton’s renewed hope but can anyone stop Max Verstappen?

Formula 1 is coming home this weekend with the famous British Grand Prix set to provide a sporting spectacle live on Sky Sports, as an in-form Max Verstappen, home favourites including Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, and a bumper crowd descend on Silverstone for more drama.

Silverstone – the home of British motorsport and a cornerstone of F1 since its 1950 debut – hosts the 10th round of an encapsulating 2022 season, and Sky Sports has you covered from Thursday through to Sunday’s race.

Verstappen holds a 46-point lead in the championship after making huge strides towards defending his F1 crown in recent weeks, although Red Bull claim Ferrari are still quickest and also fear Mercedes’ pace.

It’s set up for a Silverstone cracker, so get ready for a must-watch weekend – all live on Sky Sports F1…

Can anyone stop Verstappen?
Verstappen is returning to the scene of a hugely contentious moment in last season’s title battle – with the Dutchman having been sent into the barriers via a Hamilton crash in July 2021 – but he arrives for this weekend’s British GP in a serene mood, and in sublime form.

Verstappen has won six out of nine races so far this year and two of his ‘defeats’ came via car failures from Red Bull.

Relive Lewis Hamilton’s huge crash with title rival Max Verstappen at last year’s British Grand Prix.
With Charles Leclerc and Ferrari hitting their own reliability issues in recent weeks, Verstappen won both the Azerbaijan and Canadian GPs to open up a commanding title lead, with team-mate Sergio Perez his closest rival.

While Ferrari are optimistic of better pace with a new engine and challenged Verstappen in Canada, his form makes the Dutchman the favourite for the British GP, as well as the 2022 title.

Not that the reigning champion – ever the realist – is looking at it that way.

“It’s still a very long way and I know the gap of course is quite big, but I also know that it can switch around very quickly,” said Verstappen after his superb Canada win, from a wet pole to holding off Carlos Sainz.

“I mean, race three I was 46 behind! So we just need to stay calm, we need to focus, we need to improve, because [in Canada] we were not the quickest.”

Verstappen has never won a British GP – only claiming victory at Silverstone for a 70th Anniversary GP amid a 2020 double-header – but he looks well set this weekend. Can he be stopped?

Will Mercedes and Hamilton be a factor?
Red Bull have won all of the last seven races but were quick to highlight Ferrari’s speed after Canada, with Christian Horner claiming the “high-speed” Silverstone “would swing perhaps back towards Ferrari’s domain” and that the previous tracks “favoured” Red Bull.

Notably, the team boss also called out Mercedes for praise after an encouraging weekend.

“Mercedes’ pace in the race was competitive,” he said. “With a smooth circuit [at Silverstone], they could be a factor.”

Mercedes were indeed more competitive in the race than they were in practice and qualifying, when it looked like the Silver Arrows may be following up their Monaco and Azerbaijan nightmares with another.

But they finished with Hamilton third and Russell fourth, and seem to have solved their porpoising issues by lowering their car to the floor – which should be even more helpful at a less bumpy Silverstone.

“If we are able to run the car low then we can be competitive,” Toto Wolff admitted. “But after [the Spanish GP] we were cheering that we were back in the championship fight… so let’s see.”

Indeed, the reality is that Mercedes may be closer to Ferrari and Red Bull in Silverstone, but they still have a lot of ground to make up with their pace and in the title fight – they’re 116 points behind Red Bull while Russell and Hamilton are 64 and 98 points off Verstappen respectively in the drivers’ standings.

Ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, we look back at some of the most memorable moments from previous races at Silverstone.
Still, renewed hope is just what the team, and Hamilton needed amid a disappointing season. F1’s most successful driver returns to the happiest of hunting grounds this weekend – even though a record-breaking ninth win at Silverstone may be a long shot.

“I think we’re better in medium and high-speed corners probably, than we are in the low-speed corners,” said Hamilton after Canada. “But we have bouncing, so I don’t know how it’s going to be through Copse and all those places.”

He added: “I think there’s lots of learnings from this weekend, and improvements that we can make moving forwards.

“I really hope, moving to Silverstone… it’s such an important race for us and for me and so I really hope that… I just want to be in a battle [with Red Bull and Ferrari].”

Hamilton and Russell, who has been in inspired form in his rookie season at Mercedes, aren’t the only home favourites this weekend, with Lando Norris also continuing to impress for McLaren.

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