What to watch for: British Grand Prix (CNBC, NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET)

© Getty Images

In the week that has followed the Austrian Grand Prix, much has been made of the brewing rivalry between Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Following their clash on the last lap at the Red Bull Ring, we’ve had stewards decisions, accusations of destroyed dressing rooms, comment retractions and even rules of engagement.

But the simple facts remain unchanged: Rosberg leads the championship by 11 points, Hamilton is on pole for his home grand prix at Silverstone, and the duo are set to fight it out yet again on Sunday from the front row of the grid.

You can watch the British Grand Prix live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET on Sunday. Here’s what to watch for in the race.

2016 British Grand Prix – What to watch for

Can Lewis and Nico behave?

It is the same question we asked in our GP preview on Thursday, but remains the big talking point for Sunday. Hamilton and Rosberg have made the conditions clear following their clash in Austria – yet there is still a title to fight for. Who will be able to push the boundaries and gain the upper hand without going over the limit?

Great British weather to play a part

As we saw in Austria last weekend, rain has a great habit of drawing the field close together. Max Verstappen said after qualifying that it could bring Red Bull into the fight for the win should Silverstone be hit with some seasonally-drab British weather, and after a shower in the GP2 race this morning, all eyes will be on the sky this afternoon.

Ferrari, Red Bull’s battle to continue

The momentum between Ferrari and Red Bull has swung back and forth in recent races, but Silverstone appears to be too close to call. Sebastian Vettel will have to fight back from 11th after a grid penalty, but takes confidence in his race pace, while Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo locked out the second row of the grid.

If it remains dry, Mercedes should sweep to victory. The battle to complete the podium is far harder to predict, though.

Any home joy for Button?

Today marks Jenson Button’s 17th British Grand Prix. In 16 previous attempts, he has never finished on the podium, making Silverstone something of an anomaly throughout his impressive career. Starting P17, he is unlikely to break his top-three drought, but fighting back to score points would undoubtedly feel like a victory to the McLaren driver.

Ericsson set to race following Saturday shunt

Marcus Ericsson and Sauber may rarely feature in our ‘what to watch for’ pieces, but seeing him line up on the grid today will be a big achievement. His frightening shunt in FP3 on Saturday morning left him in need of a hospital check-up and his car requiring a total rebuild. Both man and machine have been declared ready to race, keeping the grid at 22 cars for Sunday.

Pirelli strategy prediction

QUICKEST – Two-stopper: two stints on soft of 12 laps each + one 28-lap stint on medium
SECOND-QUICKEST – Three-stopper: three stints on soft of 12 laps each + one 16-lap stint on medium
THIRD-QUICKEST – Two-stopper: one 12-lap stint on soft + one 14-lap stint on new soft + one 26-lap stint on hard
SLOWEST – Two-stopper: one stint on soft of 12 laps + two 20-lap stints on medium

2016 British Grand Prix – Starting Grid

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Max Verstappen Red Bull
4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
5. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams
7. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso
8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
9. Fernando Alonso McLaren
10. Sergio Perez Force India
11. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari*
12. Felipe Massa Williams
13. Romain Grosjean Haas
14. Esteban Gutierrez Haas
15. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
16. Kevin Magnussen Renault
17. Jenson Button McLaren
18. Jolyon Palmer Renault
19. Rio Haryanto Manor
20. Pascal Wehrlein Manor
21. Felipe Nasr Sauber
PL. Marcus Ericsson Sauber

* Vettel drops five places on the grid after receiving a penalty for a gearbox change
** Ericsson to start from pit lane after Sauber broke parc ferme conditions overnight