Silverstone: Round six preview

GP2 series reaches 2006 half-time whistle The GP2 series reaches the mid point of its 2006 campaign this weekend with round six of the season taking place at Silverstone, Great Britain. Races 10 and 11 of the year will take place around one of...

GP2 series reaches 2006 half-time whistle

The GP2 series reaches the mid point of its 2006 campaign this weekend with round six of the season taking place at Silverstone, Great Britain. Races 10 and 11 of the year will take place around one of the drivers' favourite tracks, one that presents a major challenge both physically and technically. With Lewis Hamilton at his home circuit, the new championship leader will be hoping to continue his momentum in front of a partisan crowd. The man looming large in his championship mirrors, Nelson Piquet Jr, has a wealth of experience at the track though and will be hoping to take the fight back to Lewis.

The long and winding road: Silverstone has a long and emotional history with motorsport. The track, originally formed from the access roads around Silverstone airport, hosted the very first round of the Formula One World Championship back in 1950. Ever since then, despite changes to the venue of the British race and a major revamp of this particular track's layout, Silverstone has always been the home of British motor racing.

The 5.141km circuit that the GP2 series drivers will contest this weekend has been the definite version of the Silverstone circuit since the turn of the millennium. Its opening section is the stuff of legend, as the track hurtles through Copse, into Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel before launching the drivers down the notorious Hangar Straight. There are overtaking opportunities aplenty, but it is the speed of this track and the brutal, unforgiving nature of its layout that excites the drivers.

The grid that will line up on Saturday for the first of two races this weekend however will have a slightly different feel to it than normal. Following accidents in Monaco, Nicolas Lapierre (Arden International) and Olivier Pla (DPR Direxiv) have both been forced to pull out of this weekend's racing, Nicolas through two compressed vertebrae and Olivier with a broken wrist. Nicolas will be replaced by 2005 GP2 series race winner and current F1 third driver Neel Jani, while Olivier's replacement is new British F3 championship leader Mike Conway.

ISport International's line-up also has a different look to it as Timo Glock moves from BCN Competicion to replace Tristan Gommendy at Silverstone. Taking Timo's seat at BCN is Luca Filippi who competed in the first three rounds of the 2006 GP2 series for FMS International.

What about the championship? Lewis leads the drivers' championship on 49 points following his pole and victory in Monaco last time out. He is followed in second position by Nelson who is just 10 points adrift of his rival. Nelson finds himself in the middle of an ART Grand Prix sandwich however as Lewis' team-mate Alex Prémat is in third place, six points behind Nelson on 33. Ernesto Viso lies fourth on 26 points with Arden team-mates Nicolas and Michael Ammermüller tied for fifth on 25.

In the teams' championship it's ART Grand Prix that leads the way on 82 points, with Arden International second on 50 points. Piquet Sports lies third on 43 with iSport International fourth on 32, Trident fifth on 24 and BCN Competicion sixth on 14 points.

-gp2

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Series FIA F2
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Nelson Piquet , Neel Jani , Mike Conway , Tristan Gommendy , Olivier Pla , Nicolas Lapierre , Timo Glock , Luca Filippi , Ernesto Viso , Michael Ammermüller
Teams ART Grand Prix , Trident , Arden International