February 27, 2024

Maxsports

All Sports To The Max

NATHAN SALT’S SILVERSTONE DIARY: Daniel Ricciardo eyes return as a lead driver for Red Bull

With the British Grand Prix to take place on Sunday, there were plenty of talking points in the build up to the race. 

There were lots of famous faces in attendance and there was also an insight into Daniel Ricciardo‘s future. 

Mail Sport’s Nathan Salt comments on the key points of discussion from Saturday at Silverstone.

COX’S OLDHAM DREAM

Who had Professor Brian Cox attempting to find Brad Pitt to try and convince him to buy non-league Oldham Athletic on their British Grand Prix bingo card?

In a slightly surreal moment the TV personality strolled down the paddock before giving an impromptu interview where he joked he wants to buy a football team with Pitt, who is here filming a movie that counts Lewis Hamilton as an executive producer.

We’ve seen Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney thrive at Wrexham – so don’t give up on convinced him yet, Brian!

Professor Brian Cox joked about wanting to buy Oldham

Cox joked he wants to buy Oldham with Brad Pitt

Professor Brian Cox (L) joked at Silverstone he wants to buy Oldham Athletic with Brad Pitt (R)

RECORD CROWD

The Silverstone track record is being demolished this year by a whopping 79,000.

On the busiest sports weekend of the year with plenty of eyes on the Ashes and at Wimbledon, a three-day crowd of 480,000 is anticipated here at Silverstone.

For a sport being panned for lacking a genuine title battle and entertainment value, that could not have been further from the truth on this old airfield.

SIR JACKIE MARCHES ON

Sir Jackie Stewart was a man in demand when he arrived at the paddock entrance – but he took it all in his stride.

The 84-year-old, as revealed by Mail Sport, suffered a mini-stroke five weeks ago, collapsing on the floor of his hotel room in Jordan, where he was attending the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein, eldest son of King Abdullah II and Queen Rania.

Stewart was not 100% but he smiled for photos and signed some autographs before being whisked away. A welcome sight for a true legend.

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A record three-day crowd of 480,000 is anticipated at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix

A record three-day crowd of 480,000 is anticipated at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix

Sir Jackie Stewart, who suffered a mini-stroke five weeks ago, was in attendance on Saturday

Sir Jackie Stewart, who suffered a mini-stroke five weeks ago, was in attendance on Saturday

RICCIARDO EYEING RED BULL RETURN

He may just be a reserve driver right now but Daniel Ricciardo has his eyes firmly fixed on ending up back as a lead driver at Red Bull.

Talk of a move to their sister team AlphaTauri seems to have legs given doubts over Nyck de Vries, but asked if he’d fancy that as his way back into Formula 1, the charismatic Aussie suggested he’d only do so if an eventual move to Red Bull is on the cards.

Another reason for Sergio Perez to shuffle a little bit more uncomfortably in his chair.

TOTO TALKS

There was a flurry of activity here ahead of qualifying when Mercedes chief Toto Wolff was seen engaging in a lengthy discussion with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem on the balcony of the FIA paddock building.

Just last week Ben Sulayem shot down the idea of trying to limit Red Bull’s dominance after a plea from Lewis Hamitlon.

Whether that came up as Wolff and Sulayem reflected over some early afternoon coffee remains to be seen. Rarely has a still image stirred up as many theories as this one.

Daniel Ricciardo has his eyes firmly fixed on ending up back as a lead driver at Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo has his eyes firmly fixed on ending up back as a lead driver at Red Bull

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff (right) was seen engaging in a lengthy discussion with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem (left)

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff (right) was seen engaging in a lengthy discussion with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem (left)

THAT ONE IS FOR DILANO

The death of young Dutch driver Dilano Van ’t Hoff at Spa last week rocked the world of motorsport, with Max Verstappen among those calling for more safety measures to protect racing’s rising stars.

Van ’t Hoff died following a four-car crash in sodden conditions in Belgium.

Van ’t Hoff’s team, MP Motorsport, were therefore extremely emotional when taking victory here at Silverstone in Formula 3, courtesy of Franco Colapinto.

The victor pointed to the sky in both tribute and celebration. This was as much for the late Dutchman as it was for him.

Franco Colapinto (pictured) paid tribute to Dilano Van ’t Hoff after winning Formula 3 at Silverstone

Franco Colapinto (pictured) paid tribute to Dilano Van ’t Hoff after winning Formula 3 at Silverstone

Van ’t Hoff (pictured) died at the age of 18 following a four-car crash in sodden conditions in Belgium

Van ’t Hoff (pictured) died at the age of 18 following a four-car crash in sodden conditions in Belgium

OCON’S STAFF TRIBUTE

Credit to Alpine driver Esteban Ocon for the work that went into his special helmet design for this weekend.

The Frenchman opted to get the name of every Alpine employee placed on his helmet, along with the coordinates of the squad’s Enstone and Viry-Chatillon factories.

A simple gesture it may be but those hustling and bustling in the Alpine garage certainly appreciated it.

Esteban Ocon's helmet at Silverstone included the name of every Alpine employee

Esteban Ocon’s helmet at Silverstone included the name of every Alpine employee

PEREZ DISASTERCLASS (AGAIN) 

Famous last words from Red Bull boss Christian Horner when he said heading into this weekend that Sergio Perez is ‘starting to find that form again’.

A podium finish last week in Austria was supposed to be a turning point but, alas, a Silverstone disasterclass from the Mexican makes it five consecutive races without making it into the final round of qualifying.

P20, P11, P12, P15 and now P16. Consistent… but not in a good way.

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Sergio Perez made it five consecutive races without getting into the final round of qualifying

Sergio Perez made it five consecutive races without getting into the final round of qualifying