This is a circuit that the drivers universally like, a circuit that allows cars to pass each other (even without the DRS), and a Grand Prix where it is likely to rain at some point. After all, it is in England, and they cannot possible go three days on the trot without a good drenching from above!
The new “arena” part of the circuit goes from Abbey to Brooklands corners, moving infield and adding an extra 760m to the track length. You will be heartened to read that Herr Tilke was not involved. Interestingly, this modification was actually built for the Moto GP series, but now incorporated in the F1 series after Bernie, the patron of King Midas Enterprises, gave it his blessing. Yes, that is the same Bernie who has masterminded such yawnfest new circuits as Valencia, Bahrain and Singapore. But don’t start me.
Hamilton will be trying for the win with his new dozer blade on the front; Button will be desperate to win another and shove it up his team mate; Boy Vunder Vettel wants to raise the one finger again and Mark Webber will try to repeat his result from last year (“Not bad for a number two driver!”), while the Savvy Spaniard will complain about something, nothing or everything! However, unless something diabolical happens to “The Finger” he is just running away with the 2011 World Driver’s Championship. Mathematically he can be caught, but I wouldn’t expect a cliff-hanger such as we had last year with Alonso actually leading heading into the final GP.
The Qualifying is at 7 p.m. on Saturday 9 and the race is 7 p.m. on Sunday 10 July. We watch the racing on the new super-big screen in Jameson’s Irish Pub, Soi AR, next to Nova Park. We get there around 6 p.m. and have something to eat (the Sunday specials are great value) and a small drink or two before the start. Why don’t you come and join us.