By Rebecca Hawksworth

This weekend sees the battle for the Formula One Championship head to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix, with home favourite Lewis Hamilton looking to close the gap on title rival Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel currently leads the Drivers’ Championship by 20 points ahead of Hamilton in second, who this season is vying for his fourth World Championship. The 5.89km circuit in Northamptonshire saw Hamilton storm to victory in 2016 and the Brit will be hoping for a similar result this year if he is to keep his Championship dreams alive.

However, the race has been overshadowed by the news that Silverstone has triggered a break clause in their contract with Formula One owners Liberty, meaning that unless a new agreement can be reached, 2019 will be the last year that the British Grand Prix takes place at the famous circuit.

Asked for his thoughts on the potential loss of the British Grand Prix and what it means for the future of F1 on Britain, UCFB Wembley lecturer Tim Collings, who has covered Formula One around the world for the national press, said: “The loss of Silverstone as the venue for the British Grand Prix is no surprise, the British Government does not back the event. This offers another different opportunity; probably for a state-of-the-art street race somewhere with big hotels and access to a major city.”

With the Silverstone race track being all about power on the straights, Mercedes will no doubt be the favourites going into the weekend. However, with Vettel’s incredible form so far this season, only a fool would rule him out of a fourth race victory of 2017. This weekend’s Grand Prix is likely to be another Hamilton/Vettel battle in both qualifying and the race.

Adding how he thinks the race will play out this weekend, Tim added: “I would make Hamilton my favourite to win with the usual suspects – Bottas, Vettel, Raikkonen and the two Red Bulls – in tow. Verstappen is due a bit of luck and he has the metal for a big Silverstone lap. The weather will be a factor and Hamilton has won dazzlingly in the rain at Silverstone before.”

UCFB students also put forward their predictions for this weekend’s race:

“I’m predicting Hamilton to win the race this weekend. It’s a must win for him otherwise he will see the title start to slip away.” – Ethan Marshall, BA (Hons) Football Business and Marketing.

“I can see Hamilton and Vettel battling right to the line for the victory this weekend.” – Matt Dyke, BA (Hons) Football Business and Media.

“I think because it’s on his home turf Lewis Hamilton could pull something out of the bag like he usually does at Silverstone, but Vettel knows how close the gap is in the Championship and he’ll be keen to put up a fight!” – Ella Perry, BA (Hons) Football Business and Media.