Silverstone welcomes 140,000 fans for British GP and gives nation plenty to cheer about 

VIP helicopters pierced the clear blue sky overhead as fans basked in the morning sunshine in Northamptonshire.

Dare we say it, it felt normal, if normal still exists.

A negative Covid-19 test was all fans needed to get through the gates to this 550-acre site. From there, the drinks were flowing, while pleas for attendees to wear masks fell on deaf ears.

A massive 140,00 strong crowd were able to enjoy the Formula One British Grand Prix 

The fans were given plenty of reasons to cheers, including a home winner in Lewis Hamilton


Outside the paddock and media pen, trying to find a masked man or woman was about as easy as solving ‘Where’s Wally?’

‘I don’t like masks at all,’ Jordan, 26, who was attending a Grand Prix for the first time after bagging a £370 ticket, told Sportsmail in the fanzone.

‘I’m a massive Hamilton fan but it’s just so, so good to see people mixing and enjoying themselves. Days like today give me hope for the future.’

The event marked a key moment after the pandemic, welcoming the biggest crowd since 

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and tennis star Emma Raducanu were among those present 

With 140,000 here on Saturday, a total of 356,000 across the three-day weekend, this was a significant step forward. Monday may officially be Freedom Day but race day stole its thunder.

Here was the biggest crowd at a sporting event in the UK since the pandemic began. It was also the hottest day of the year.

‘Today shows how far we’ve come,’ said McLaren’s Lando Norris during the drivers’ parade lap. ‘It’s just so nice to see everyone here.’

Tom Cruise also flew in, mixing in the paddock in the baking heat on Sunday afternoon 

Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo described it as ‘perfect’ — which all seemed to depend on how much sun cream you’d brought. Not enough, was the answer for those I saw at Copse Corner where towels were out and sun-bathing took centre stage.

While many waited patiently by the helipad to spot the incoming celebrity guests, those of us with more modest budgets arrived by bus.

It wasn’t quite the luxury travel that brought Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the circuit, nor Mission Impossible actor Tom Cruise, who was a guest of Mercedes.

The crowd may not have had enough sun cream but they had a great time at Silverstone 

But the buzz of excitement extended far beyond this old airfield. A taxi driver even asked to swap places for the day. Politely, I declined.

It felt fitting that it ended with Hamilton winning. His late surge to victory, with two-and-a-half laps to go, saw the grandstand next to the aptly named Hamilton Straight begin to shake, such was the roar that erupted.

The country had plenty to cheer — on and off the track.