Silverstone Formula 1 Grandstand

Formula 1 – British Grand Prix Preview – Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will again be centre stage at this Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

A big crowd can be expected to converge on the circuit, most cheering on their hero Hamilton.

But will the pair be allowed the full cut and thrust of racing following the huge row which erupted in the wake of their bump in Austria?

Executive director of Mercedes, Toto Wolff, condemned them as “brainless” following the last-lap coming-together at the Red Bull Ring.

It was the third time they have collided in just five races.

And he conceded he had been “naïve” to think Hamilton and Rosberg would not crash again after they took each other out of the Spanish Grand Prix at the start of May.

The question now is – will Mercedes re-introduce team orders, something that is anathema to the fans?

It would be hugely controversial and potentially a PR disaster for Formula One.

For most experts, Rosberg was at fault. The stewards gave him a 10-second time penalty but this did not affect his finishing position of fourth, having led from Hamilton until the final lap.

Wolff said: “It takes two to tango. We will make a decision irrespective of what they say. It could go in either direction. We need to avoid contact between the two cars. Everything’s on the table.

“Our mind set has always been to let them race, let them get on with it. All of us remember days of strategy calls and they make it boring.

“But one option is to freeze the order at a certain stage of the race. It’s unpopular, makes me puke because I like to see them race, but if the racing is not possible without contact that’s the consequence. Collision of team-mates is a no-go for every team.”

With Rosberg on 153 points, 11 ahead of Hamilton the stakes are high.

Hamilton said: “I hope it doesn’t change and we’re allowed to continue to race and that’s my honest opinion from a love of the sport.

‘Firstly for myself because that would take the joy of racing out and second because it will rob the fans of what they pay so much for. They save up all year to go to Silverstone. Team orders is not something that should deprive them.

“I’ve been in that position before and it goes against all my racing values and the foundation of what racing is about. But ultimately I race for this team and I do want the best for the team. I’m the three-time world champion and my job is to do what they say. As a team boss there’s a lot of pressure to bring in the money, keep the sponsors happy and we need one-twos.”

With the Ferraris of Sebastien Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen way back – they both have 96 points – it is hard to see past Hamilton and Rosberg.

Whatever happens the fans will savour the experience.

Hopefully Wolff will calm down, emotions will subside … all are looking forward to what should be a great spectacle.