History of the British Grand Prix

The British Grand Prix has a long and illustrious history, with some of the greatest F1 moments coming in this race!

Silverstone plays host to something new in Formula 1.

The 2022 Formula One season starts in Bahrain on March 20, but for many the highlight of the season will come on July 3 at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Here we take a look at the history of the oldest race in the Formula One calendar and celebrate some of its most famous winners.

History of the British Grand Prix

The British Grand Prix was first held in 1926 at Brooklands near Weybridge when it was known as the Grand Prix of the Royal Automobile Club, and has been held annually since 1948, becoming part of the inaugural Formula One World Championship two years later.

By then, it had been moved to Silverstone in Northamptonshire and the first race was won by Luigi Villoresi in his Maserati, before Alfa Romeo’s Giuseppe ‘Nino’ Ferina won the first Championship race.

The British race has been the only one alongside the Italian GP to be contested in each year of the championship’s history.

However, while Silverstone is the race’s spiritual home, it has been far from an exclusive venue.

Between 1955 and 1962, the Northants former airfield shared hosting duties with Aintree in Liverpool, while between 1963 and 1986, the race alternated between Silverstone and Kent circuit Brands Hatch, which provided the venue in even-numbered years.

British Grand Prix Winners

Home favourite Lewis Hamilton has dominated the race in recent years, winning seven of the last eight contests following his initial success in 2008. He is three ahead of fellow Brit Jim Clark and former French world champion Alain Prost.

Nigel Mansell was the apple of the Silverstone crowd’s eye in the 1980s and 1990s when he claimed four victories, the last of which came in 1992.

Michael Schumacher, Niki Lauda and Jack Brabham have all won three times while Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart and David Coulthard have all been two-time winners from Britain.

Johnny Herbert, Damon Hill, John Watson and James Hunt all claimed home triumphs since 1970.

As far as the most successful constructors are concerned, Ferrari leads the way with 16 wins but has enjoyed just one victory since 2011.

McLaren have had 14 triumphs, followed by Williams with 10 and Mercedes with nine.

Classic British Grands Prix

Among the list of classic British grands prix performances are Mansell’s victory in 1987 when he had to make a tyre change that left Brazilian Nelson Piquet in complete control.

However, the British driver recovered from being half a minute behind with 30 laps to go and broke the lap record on nine occasions to overtake his rival with two laps remaining.

Hill’s sole triumph came in 1994 when Michael Schumacher was disqualified after the German overtook the winner in a parade lap and ignored a block flag that hit him with a stop-go penalty.

Schumacher was disqualified and banned for two races after finishing second.

Meanwhile, the most dominant performance was probably Hamilton’s first triumph in 2008. He stormed to glory in torrential rain, finishing 70 seconds in front of Nick Heidfeld and lapped everyone up to third.

A vastly experienced journalist, Ian has worked the beat on a number of local newspapers and covers a number of different sports for the Racing Post
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