After crashing out last year, he'll want to win at Silverstone this year.
This weekend we return to the scene of the crime. Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were fierce rivals during the 2021 Grand Prix season, but it turned extremely ugly during the first lap of the British Grand Prix. Hamilton tapped one of Verstappen's rear wheels, sending him straight to a tire wall. The resulting crash's impact was recorded at 51G.
The steward found Hamilton guilty and gave him a ten-second penalty. It didn't matter, however. He was so far ahead that the ten seconds meant nothing, scoring him a victory. In Hamilton's defense, he immediately asked whether Max was okay. Still, many people took offense to how he celebrated after the race while Verstappen was in the hospital.
The two drivers have matured a lot since then. Max Verstappen has stated multiple times that he had no ill feelings about what happened, and Hamilton has been humbled by his teammate several times this season.
The 2022 British Grand Prix has a lot to live up to, so what do we have in store?
Silverstone is one of the best races of the season. The first Grand Prix dates back to 1950, and Max Verstappen holds the fastest lap record with a time of 1:27.097.
It's one of the calendar's fastest tracks and has several challenging corners. There will be two DRS detection zones, though they're hardly necessary. Silverstone provides plenty of overtaking opportunities, but you have to be a fearless driver to find them.
Silverstone is also home to four current drivers. Alex Albon is Thai-British, while Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, and Lando Norris all answer to the authority of the Queen. All of them want to win this race, but only two have a realistic opportunity of doing so. More on that later.
Thanks to all the drama that took place during the 2021 British Grand Prix, it's easy to forget that Charles Leclerc finished second. Ferrari's car wasn't particularly competitive last year, which leads us to believe that Leclerc has a thing for Silverstone. He may be cursed in Monaco, but Silverstone is his stomping ground.
He also has a fresh powertrain, for which he had to pay a grid penalty at the recent Canadian Grand Prix. Now that the penalty is paid, Leclerc can head into the weekend knowing he has a fully operational car and nothing keeping him from putting his car on pole.
Ferrari seems to have fixed its powertrain issue as well. Carlos Sainz drove his Ferrari to the limit to catch Verstappen in those final laps, and the car appeared to be fine.
Mercedes' lobbying of the FIA for a rule change did not work out as expected. Instead, the FIA issued a new threshold for porpoising, which continues to haunt Merc more than any other team.
That being said, Mercedes has made some improvements to the car. It looked more at home on track at the recent Canadian Grand Prix than the Baku Grand Prix before that. Silverstone is as smooth as a pool table, so porpoising will be less of an issue overall.
Mercedes hasn't made any significant upgrades otherwise, but this weekend is the perfect opportunity. It employs two Brits who want to win in front of their home crowd. It would be a first for George Russell and a massive psychological boost for Hamilton. Heck, throw in a Mercedes-AMG One for the winner. Then Lewis will have two.
At the very least, we hope they see the Mercs give Ferrari and Red Bull something to think about.
McLaren is currently in fourth place in the constructor's championship. There is, however, a massive gap between it and Mercedes, who are currently in third place. McLaren has 65 points, and Mercedes has 188. The top three spots are safe and secure, which means fourth is the only realistic target for the rest of the grid.
But McLaren has a colossal problem. It recently revealed that it has burned through its budget and that it is not possible to update the car going forward. That means the vehicle Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo raced with in Canada is the car they'll be dealing with for the rest of the season. That's a bitter pill to swallow, considering both its drivers finished outside of the points in Canada.
It's good news for Alpine and Alfa Romeo. Both teams are within spitting distance, sitting on 57 and 51 points, respectively. If McLaren can't perform, that coveted fourth place in the constructor's championship is well within reach.
Last year the world championship title was awarded at the final race. According to experts like Jensen Button, that likely won't be the case this year. He's on record stating that Red Bull can have this thing wrapped up within three races from the finale.
The odds are also in favor of Red Bull and Max Verstappen. He's won six races so far and isn't showing any signs of slowing down. His main rival for the championship is his teammate, Sergio Perez. His nearest rival from another team remains Charles Leclerc, but Leclerc needs at least two victories to catch up, assuming Verstappen doesn't finish the race. In previous years that might have been possible considering Max's aggressive driving style, but he has matured into the complete package.
Considering what happened last year, Verstappen will give everything to take that top spot this weekend. In our humble opinion, he'll do just that.