F1 Power Rankings: British Grand Prix

The ninth round of the 2012 Formula One World Championship brings the series home to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. With eight teams having factories located in England, this race is the de facto home race for not just most of the teams but essentially the whole series. If you were to rank the races by prestige, this race would definitely be on the podium so everyone will be gunning for the win this weekend.

#1 Fernando Alonso (Last Race #1)
It’s a fairly safe assertion to call Alonso the best driver on the grid right now. He’s taken a car once referred to as Clifford the Big Red Dog and taken a commanding 20 point lead in the World Drivers’ Championship. While Ferrari has come a ways in developing the car, it’s clear that Alonso is getting more out of the car than Felipe Massa. Yes, Felipe, Fernando is faster than you.

#2 Sebastian Vettel (LR #2)
BIG NEWS: Sebastian Vettel is going to Ferrari for three years starting in 2014. That means that the Scuderia will paid Alonso and Vettel from 2014 – 2016 for the most legendary driver lineup since Senna and Prost. BIGGER NEWS: Red Bull boss Christian Horner says that Vettel hasn’t signed or talked to Ferrari and won’t be joining the Scuderia in 2014. BIGGEST NEWS: Nobody has a clue in hell what’s going on. Until Ferrari or Vettel says something official, we all know nothing.

#3 Lewis Hamilton (LR #3)
Old Louise Hamilton takes the high road when talking about his collision with Maldonado. That’s a good idea considering it was his fault: “Sometimes you have to accept when things don’t go your way in racing. Obviously it was frustrating to lose out so close to the finish, but that’s motor racing: you put it behind you and move on to the next race – which, happily for me, is at my home circuit of Silverstone.”

#4 Mark Webber (LR #5)
Pirelli boss Paul Hembrey talks about the importance of keeping the tyres alive on the high-speed Silverstone Circuit: “Silverstone is one of the most iconic circuits on the Formula One calendar, precisely because it is so demanding for the drivers, cars and tyres… Silverstone is a very high-energy circuit that can see some unpredictable weather conditions, so a strong performance from the tyres and an effective strategy are vital ingredients in a successful race outcome.”

#5 Romain Grosjean (LR #4)
Grosjean discusses last race’s alternator failure which forced him to retire from 2nd place: “There was a warning on the steering wheel and I kept asking Ayao [Komatsu] “What is it? What is it? Can I do anything?” and he told me not to worry about the alarm. Next I lost some information on the dashboard, and it wasn’t easy to drive, then I started to feel that there was a problem with the car and something was going wrong. This was about a lap and a half before we stopped, then suddenly everything cut; I couldn’t even use the radio!”

#6 Nico Rosberg (LR #6)
Nico doesn’t know how good his car will be this weekend but he knows it’ll be good. Yes, he does contradict himself in his quotage: ” My best result on this exciting track was third place so, of course, I will be hoping to top that but it’s so hard to make any predictions of performance this season. It’s a demanding track with a lot of high-speed corners dominating the layout, especially from Copse through Becketts to Stowe. It’s difficult to know how good we will be but I’m hopeful that we can achieve a good result.”

#7 Kimi Raikkonen (LR #7)
The Iceman wants to win so the team can have a massive party: “When you win in Silverstone, it gives such a good feeling. You have to get everything exactly right. I won there in Formula Renault and then with Ferrari in 2007. It would be fantastic to win again there, especially with the factory just down the road. I’m sure we would have some fantastic celebrations.”

#8 Paul di Resta (LR #8)
Dario’s cousin talks about how special his home race is to him: “For me, it’s the biggest event we go to, especially in terms of support from the British fans, which is always amazing. You feel it as soon as you arrive on the Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon because the fans are already there camping. The atmosphere is electric and I remember last year the drivers’ parade was one of the highlights of the year – it really sent a shiver through me because of the reaction we received and the fact that there wasn’t a seat left in the place.”

#9 Michael Schumacher (LR #10)
Mercedes GP should probably concerned that Seven-Time doesn’t know how this weekend will turn out: “On a personal level, I have many contrasting memories of this circuit; good, not so good and some that are even a little strange… as for how things will go this year, I’d prefer to wait and see. We have already seen plenty of races this year that turned out differently to the expectations before the weekend. Of course, we want to take the momentum from our result in Valencia and put on a good show in Silverstone, especially because this is one of our home races.”

#10 Jenson Button (LR #11)
Jenson wants to talk about the history of Silverstone. Well, he hasn’t been running up front for a while so both he and the track are relying on history right now: “We all had to adjust last year to starting in a different place on the circuit, which is a very odd thing when you’ve spent your entire racing career treating Copse as Turn One! Formula 1 is all about evolution, about looking to the future, and Silverstone has demonstrated its adaptability all through the years. It’s part of the fabric of F1, and still one of the world’s greatest motor racing circuits.”

#11 Sergio Perez (LR #14)
Checo might be the only person who thinks that Silverstone is less passing friendly than Valencia: “In my view in Silverstone it is even more difficult to overtake than it was in Valencia, therefore qualifying is high priority on the job list. I need a better grid position than recently. I like the fast and fluid corners a lot, so this is a very enjoyable part of the track. The race in Silverstone is a special Grand Prix – because of the fans and the atmosphere and also for me personally. I lived in Oxford for three years and I have quite a few friends in England.”

#12 Felipe Massa (LR #12)
Old Phil Massa says he has no idea things will go this weekend: “It’s difficult to have a clear picture of how competitive we should be,” said Massa on Ferrari’s website on Wednesday. Especially this year, we have seen results in the races that we could never have expected. Silverstone is a very different track to the last few, so we need to be ready for everything and arrive as well prepared as possible. Who knows, maybe Silverstone can be even better than expected for us.”

#13 Nico Hulkenberg (LR #13)
The Hulk was quite pleased with his top five last race. Don’t mention the attrition: “I think it was a result we needed in order to stay in touch with Williams and Sauber in the championship. It’s a boost for me, of course, but I think it was the sort of result we have been expecting for a while now. We thought we could do something similar in Canada, but things didn’t work out, so it was good to get some solid points in the bag in Valencia and start showing our real potential. It’s true that some cars dropped out of the race, but you still have to do the job, and that’s what we did.”

#14 Pastor Maldonado (LR #16)
Why can’t Maldonado just call Hamilton an idiot for the last race: “The British Grand Prix is always very special for the whole team and the support we get here is amazing with some of the most knowledgeable fans in the world. I think the track will suit our car because it’s similar to Barcelona and it’s also very fun to drive with sections like Maggots and Becketts which really test you as a driver. The pace of the car in Valencia was very promising and we have a number of updates expected for this race as well so hopefully we can give the home fans a good result.”

#15 Kamui Kobayashi (LR #9)
Kobayashi Maru has a good feeling about this weekend. Of course he should. It’s a fast and passing friendly circuit: “I’m really looking forward to this race, and my expectations are quite high. Silverstone is one of my favourite circuits. Our cars were always good in medium and high speed corners, but with the Sauber C31 we have also improved the performance in slow corners, which means we should have no problems with the new part of the track, which was introduced in 2010. Despite the fact I have to cope with a penalty, which will send me five places down the grid, I’m optimistic for this race.”

#16 Bruno Senna (LR #15)
Senna complains about not getting the desired result but he did get a point. He should actually be happy: “Silverstone is one of my favourite tracks because it’s high speed and flows really well. Our car has good pace at the high down force tracks and is good on high speed corners as well so it should suit Silverstone. Whilst we didn’t get the result we were hoping for in Valencia we showed that our car can be very competitive and with more updates planned for this race I’m optimistic about what we can achieve.”

#17 Daniel Ricciardo (LR #17)

#18 Jean-Eric Vergne (LR #18)

#19 Heikki Kovalainen (LR #19)
Heikki is hoping that last weekend’s Q2 performance wasn’t a fluke: “Honestly, I can’t wait to get back in the car and see what we can do at this year’s British Grand Prix. At the last race in Valencia we clearly made improvements, enough to help me put the car into Q2 on merit and we have more upgrades coming for Silverstone. For this race it’s important that we carry our qualifying speed and good reliability through into Sunday as issues like the KERS problem I had in Valencia impact all the hard work the team is doing at the factory and in the wind tunnel to get us where we want to be.”

#20 Vitaly Petrov (LR #20)
You know how wrestlers pander to the crowd to get cheers? I think Petrov did the same here: “The British Grand Prix is one of the best races of the calendar for several reasons. It’s a fantastic place to race at because of the exciting atmosphere and the special love the British fans have for motorsport. As the UK is home to a lot of the teams, including Caterham F1 Team, the whole place is always full of fans, whether it’s raining or the sun is burning everybody! They are some of the most knowledgeable, passionate fans in the world and they give the whole place a special atmosphere all weekend.”

#21 Timo Glock (LR #21)
Tim O’Glock is geeked to get back into the car this weekend: ” Silverstone is a track I really enjoy; one of my favourites. It still has a lot of high speed corners and it is a completely different challenge to the last two tracks we have raced at. Normally it can be very interesting with the weather; not just the sunshine or rain, but it can often be quite windy, which can upset the car quite a lot from day to day and from session to session. Overall, I can’t wait to get back in the car and work with the team towards a smooth home race for the fantastic British fans, the partners and all our guests on what will be a very busy weekend.”

#22 Charles Pic (LR #22)
By the way, Marussia is going to unveil their first wind tunnel developed aero upgrade this weekend: “I am now eager to see the new aero package results on the track. It is quite a comprehensive step for the team and the result of a really collaborative effort. Having turned the corner a little bit in the race in Valencia, I hope we can continue this way and that the package will have a positive contribution. I am optimistic for a good weekend because this is the only time the guys who always work back at our team base in Banbury will get to the see the cars in action; it will be nice to give them a happy reward for their relentless hard work as this is ‘their race’!”

#23 Pedro de la Rosa (LR #23)
Pedro, nothing is the most favourable circuit for you guys: “It’s a quick, high downforce track with a lot of quick corners linked together. It’s very demanding on the tyres, so the logical thing is to go for three stops. Strategies will play a big part. It’s not the most favourable circuit for us so we’re going to have to grind our teeth because, apart from that, it’s also one of the toughest tracks for a driver. We’re going to try and continue the good work from the last grands prix, finish this race and improve on our result in Valencia.”

#24 Narain Karthikeyan (LR #24)
In all seriousness, why do his sponsors give him enough money to run F1: “”I’ve got very good memories of Silverstone as I’ve raced a lot there in the past in junior categories, it’s one of my favourite tracks on the calendar and a place I expect to do well… After a positive weekend in Valencia, with a good performance in qualifying, I’m hoping to continue from there and build on it in Great Britain.”

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