Home of the British Grand Prix, Silverstone was first opened as a World War Two airfield in 1943. But in 1948, it became the site for the first Grand Prix we know and love today. Thousands turned up to watch as the chequered flag sent the 23 competing cars around the 3.67-mile course. Victory was claimed by Luigi Villoresi in a Maserati that day. Recording an average speed of 72 mph to claim the first prize of £500.
Since then the circuit has seen numerous changes, and has played host to the world's leading racing drivers. We thought who better to give a spot of advice than two of the UK's best, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
"The older races are always the most special because you're growing up watching the famous drivers who create history on the circuits. You're living the dream because you're taking their place but in today's age," Hamilton said. "The best Grand Prix I've ever done was at Silverstone in 2008."
The best Grand Prix I've ever done was at Silverstone in 2008.
Like all drivers, Lewis Hamilton has his own way of approaching what is often described as one of the most challenging circuits. Here's his advice:
1. The start-and-finish straight is quite a short and narrow section, but you're flying down there. Coming up to Copse, turn one, don't touch the brake – you've got to make sure you're turning at the right time. There's a barrier on the inside, and there is a bit of curve which you can touch, which is nice and flat, but you take it almost flat out, making sure you get a good exit because you've got a long straight just after that down through Maggots and Becketts.
2. The first part is easy. Turn through the left [at Maggots Corner] and then it's flat through the right [at Becketts], which is a very exciting corner, and then you have to lift into the next left. Then you downshift two gears for the right and you've got to make sure you get into full throttle as quickly as possible.
3. Then there is a long straight – you come under the bridge and approach Stowe, turn seven. It's an amazing corner – you come in carrying so much speed. You downshift two gears and the rear of the car just sits in. You're not sure if you're going to lose it, but it just feels really comfortable.
You get in there and 'whoa' – you really do feel the down-force. Then you're down into Club Corner, and you use as much space as you can on the inside into a long right-hander which just gets longer and longer. From here we fly up to Abbey, which is a wicked corner. There's not much grip, but you attack as much you can on the brakes and you try to lob the car in there quickly.
4. Then one of the coolest parts is through Bridge, a right-hander which also goes uphill – get out of there and into Priory using as much curve and grass as possible. You've got to carry a huge amount of speed through there and brake early, and then turn as early as possible down into Brooklands and Woodcote.
At this stage it's all about keeping momentum and not losing too much time on the braking – you've just got to attack it as much as you can, but it's easy to attack it too much and run wide. Then go flat out and try to be as smooth as possible into the finish line.
It's a place where your family come, and your friends.
Unlike Hamilton, Jenson Button has never won his home Grand Prix, but he is always fighting for victory. "It's a very special race because you get so much support from the fans. It's a place where your family come, and your friends. It's a race that's really built up for us," he said.
His key piece of advice is whatever car you have, make sure you get your tyres in their working range.
(24 October 2013)