The “home Grand Prix” has in recent years been reduced by the preponderance of new Formula One races occurring outside of Europe.
With the British and German Grands Prix coming up in the next two weeks, eight of the 22 drivers on the grid will have their chance to race in front of their home fans. Three Englishmen and a Scot have the honor this weekend at Silverstone (Sunday, 7:30 a.m. ET, CNBC and live streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra), while four Germans will race at the Nurburgring on July 7.
We’ll take a look at the English drivers in their home races first, then the Germans next week.
PAUL DI RESTA AND MAX CHILTON: FIRST REAL CHANCE TO MAKE THEIR MARK ON HOME SOIL
Lewis Hamilton’s a former winner and Jenson Button notorious for his hard luck in the British Grand Prix. The other two home drivers – Scotland’s Paul di Resta (Force India) and England’s Max Chilton (Marussia) – will attempt to write their first chapter of memorable history at the race this weekend.
Di Resta’s raced at Silverstone twice previously but was only 15th in his first start in 2011, and retired a year ago. Chilton has a less-than-distinguished GP2 record at Silverstone, with only two top-10 finishes in six races.
Car-wise, Di Resta’s Force India has been good in the races but he needs a solid qualifying effort after consecutive races being bounced out in Q1. The best Chilton can expect to do, as ever, is shade teammate Jules Bianchi and perhaps get ahead of one of the two Caterhams.
Brendon Hartley says scoring a point on his Formula 1 debut would be “a dream” after being resigned to last place on the grid for the United States Grand Prix following an engine penalty.
Porsche factory driver Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso to replace Pierre Gasly for the USGP when the Frenchman was ruled out due to clashing commitments in Super Formula.
Despite having not driven an F1 car since 2012, Hartley came within one-tenth of a second of making it through to Q2 on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas, ultimately qualifying 18th.
“Obviously I’d love to be quicker but we knew we were starting at the back, so we put a lot of focus on long runs, getting the peak performance out of this Pirelli tire I didn’t get today,” Hartley told NBCSN after the race.
“In FP3 I had a good feeling. There’s a lot of quirky things to manage with these tires. Honestly I should be happy with how the weekend’s gone so far.”
The New Zealander will start last due to a 25-place grid penalty for changes made to his power unit ahead of practice on Friday, and is daring to dream of making the top 10 in his first race out of a sports car for more than five years.
“I don’t do the 24 hours completely alone!” Hartley joked. “It’s quick. It’s physical to drive. I’ll be happy to be done after an hour and a half.
“A point would be a dream starting from the back. If I can move forward and put a race together, I’ll be happy.”
The United States Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.