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Which home drivers won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone before Lewis Hamilton?

Joshua Rogers June 19, 2022
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Lewis Hamilton is the most successful Formula One driver of all time at the British Grand Prix with seven wins to his name. But who else has won their home event at Silverstone?

Silverstone has exclusively hosted the British round of the F1 season since 1987 but first appeared on the calendar in 1950. It was host to the first-ever World Championship race won by Giuseppe Farina for Alfa Romeo, with Italians and Argentinians dominating at first.

Sir Stirling Moss became the first British Formula One driver to win their home event in 1955 – but at Aintree. He would repeat his success two years later racing alongside Tony Brooks for Vanwall. Then in 1958, Silverstone would witness a home winner with Ferrari’s Peter Collins.

British racers have enjoyed illustrious success at their home event, with Hamilton’s seven wins in the last eight years just the tip of the iceberg. Two-time F1 World Champion Jim Clark won five British Grand Prix in his career, with wins at Silverstone in 1963, 1965 and 1967.

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Clark and Stewart dominate Silverstone in the 1960s

Collins’ win in 1958 for Ferrari marked the start of many years of British Formula One racers dominating at Silverstone. Clark picked up the mantle in 1963 after two years at Aintree, and would win again in 1965 and 1967.

Clark also won the British Grand Prix on F1’s first visit to Brands Hatch in 1964, before Jackie Stewart continued British Silverstone domination in 1969 and 1971. Brands Hatch would alternate with Silverstone each year during that period, with Aintree last used in 1962.

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But after a strong run in the 1960s, the 1970s proved a more barren period for home racers. James Hunt would secure the only other home victory of the decade after Stewart’s win for Tyrrell in 1971, with victory for McLaren in 1977.

Hunt won from pole position at the Northamptonshire circuit and set the fastest lap of the race. He beat great adversary Niki Lauda to the win after recovering from a traditionally poor start that dropped the 1976 World Champion to fourth.

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Mansell Mania hits Silverstone and the British Grand Prix

Silverstone had to wait another five years after Hunt’s win for a home British Grand Prix victory. John Watson stood on the top step of the podium racing for McLaren in 1981 for his only home F1 triumph.

Lauda and Alain Prost then enjoyed commanding campaigns in the immediate years that followed, before Mansell Mania hit Silverstone in the late 1980s. Nigel Mansell claimed his first British Grand Prix win in 1986 at Brands Hatch before three triumphs at Silverstone.

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The 1992 F1 World Champion took back-to-back British Grand Prix wins with victory in 1987. He then returned to the top step in 1991 and 1992 to become the second four-time home winner of the event.

Mansell’s win in 1992 also marked the high point of Mansell Mania as fans flocked on to the track to bask in his glory. The then-Williams pilot had to instruct his adoring supporters to stay away from the car as he made it back to the pit lane, in fear of disqualification.

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Hill, Herbert and Coulthard maintain British Grand Prix momentum

The 1990s proved to be another strong decade for British Formula One drivers to race at Silverstone. After Mansell’s double, Damon Hill won his only British Grand Prix in 1994 and Johnny Herbert followed the next year with his only home win.

Herbert by far and away wasn’t favourite to win the event in 1995 but guided his Benetton to glory as others fell by the wayside. Hill pulled away from Michael Schumacher from pole position but lost the lead following the pit stops after a clever strategy by the German and Ferrari.

The two then collided as Hill sought to retake the position, forcing both to retire and promoting Herbert and David Coulthard into a battle for the win. Yet a stop-go penalty for the Scot saw him drop to third, while Herbert drove on for his first Formula One win.

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Coulthard would have his day at Silverstone twice, however, with successes in 1999 and 2000 with McLaren. The Woking outfit then powered Hamilton to his first home win in torrential conditions in 2008.

A switch to the all conquering Mercedes from 2013 brought British dominance back to Silverstone through Hamilton. He will be desperate to claim and nine victory this Sunday try to clim up the 2022 Drivers’ Championship.

Who do you think will win at Silverstone in 2022? Let us know in the comments below!

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.