WHEN TO WATCH All times local (GMT +1)
Friday Free Practice: 12:55 – 13:40 Qualifying: 17:00 – 17:30 Press conference: 18:15
Saturday Feature race: 15:45 (29 laps) Press conference: 17:05
Sunday Sprint race: 10:10 (21 laps) Press conference: 11:15
THE STORY SO FAR
An enthralling 2020 season has given us five different race winners in the opening three rounds. Last time out in Budapest, rapid Russian rookie Robert Shwartzman earned his second victory this campaign, before Luca Ghiotto showed all his experience to take his first win of the year.
Wet weather in Hungary had the paddock scratching their heads on Friday as strategies were planned and re-planned. Half the grid opted not to set lap times during Free Practice, which saw BWT HWA RACELAB’s Giuliano Alesi go fastest in tricky conditions. Callum Ilott then revelled in the rain during Qualifying to take pole position for UNI-Virtuosi.
Tactics and tyre deg were crucial during Saturday’s action-packed Feature Race. Shwartzman started superbly from P11, opting for the alternate strategy that saw him carve through the field to build an incredible lead by the time he crossed the line. His PREMA teammate Mick Schumacher, on the opposite strategy, fought valiantly to come home third after some late drama. Between them, in second place, was Hitech’s Nikita Mazepin after an amazing surge secured a first F2 podium for both driver and team.
Degradation also proved critical on Sunday. The Sprint Race has no mandatory pitstop but, as most drivers stopped for new tyres, Ghiotto was one of only two racers to stay out. The Italian did just enough to prevent Ilott, who was 5s per lap quicker on fresh rubber, from passing him on the final lap to claim victory. Schumacher made it back-to-back podiums in third.
Consecutive Feature Race victories for Shwartzman (81 pts) extends his lead in the Drivers’ Championship. Ilott (63) has moved up into second place, while Christian Lundgaard (43) occupies third. Schumacher (39) is four points further back in fourth, with Dan Ticktum (38) in fifth.
58-points from the Hungaroring sees PREMA Racing (120) climb to first in the Teams’ Championship. UNI-Virtuosi (94) are in second place, with ART Grand Prix (77) dropping into third. Hitech Grand Prix (54) and DAMS (41) sit fourth and fifth, respectively.
Teams will compete using a combination of Pirelli’s hard and medium compounds for the first time this season at Silverstone. A popular ‘Drivers’ circuit’, requiring a good mix of pace and precision, the track is one of the fastest on the calendar. If what we’ve seen so far this season is anything to go by, it promises to be yet another exciting F2 weekend.
FROM THE GRID – JACK AITKEN (CAMPOS RACING)
“Silverstone is one of the fastest tracks on the calendar. I love the sweeping sections of Maggots and Becketts, Brooklands into Luffield, and Stowe. They're classic corners. It's a place I know well and feels a bit like home. Winning the Sprint Race last year by pulling off a couple of really cool overtakes, and seeing the crowd getting so into it was awesome.
“It's a high-speed track which usually demands a high-downforce setup, but you've also got some long straights, so for overtaking chances you need to trim out some of that downforce and maximise your straight-line speed. As a driver, it's about getting a car you're comfortable with and can throw around into those corners.
“Tyre management is important. Last year I had to hold back before starting to turn the screw and increase the pace towards the end. That was because we were limited by tyre wear. It’s usually on the front left, so you have to watch that.
“Turn 3 is a good overtaking spot, especially if you get a run coming out of the last corner. It's wide, so you can choose lots of different lines, and it goes immediately into another tight corner in Turn 4. Turn 6 comes after a DRS zone. It's where I pulled off my move last year to win the race. Likewise, you can go inside or outside. Finally, there's the end of the straight going into Stowe - another DRS zone. You have to be quick through Maggots and Becketts though. It's quite hard to follow a car through that section.
“I hope we can make a step forward as a team. We're going to have changes in place, and I'm hoping to put on a good show for my home crowd, even if they're not physically at the circuit.”
TYRE TALK – MARIO ISOLA (PIRELLI’S HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING)
“It’s been a very interesting start to the season in Formula 2, especially thanks to the performance of the new 18-inch tyres and the impact they have had on strategy. Moving onto another double-header, we have again looked to mix up the tyre nominations for each weekend in F2 to add an extra element of unpredictability. We have to keep the hard choice during both weekends for F2, but we do have some flexibility with the softer tyre – moving from medium at the first race to soft at the second race. This presents a different challenge for the drivers in terms of lap preparation and higher ultimate performance.”