The Scrutineering Bay is Badger’s way of taking a hot Grand Prix racing topic and getting people from the Sett involved to put their opinions across. From predicting races, arguing stewards decisions to just deciding who was/is/will be the best, anything is fair game!

Silverstone is such an evocative place and, with the British Grand Prix just around the corner, all eyes now turn to the home favourites and whether or not they can get the crowd roaring with delight. With Paul di Resta not sat in a race winning car (no offence to Force India), the Scrutineering Bay casts its critical eye on the other Brits participating and asks:

“Do McLaren have a chance of victory this weekend?”

This week’s Badgers duking it out are myself, Craig Normansell, Jimmy Von Weeks, and going first, Benson Jammichello:

I’m going to start this by challenging the premise of the question (yeah, that’s right Craig). Of course Button or Hamilton could win the British Grand Prix. It’s possible – they are, after all, the only other two people to have won a race this season apart from Vettel.

However, and this is where I’d have asked a different question, is it likely? To be brutally honest, no, it’s not. Last time out the McLarens looked as though they wouldn’t have been able to challenge for the lead even if they found three or four tenths a lap. Hamilton’s frustration is understandable; he’s looking at a driver who’s of the same generation and is about to rack up his second title. Given Lewis is fairly sure to think he’s better (and quicker) than Vettel, this must be causing some mild, or not so mild, consternation.

Of course, the slight joker in the pack is the new restrictions on blown diffusers and the like, which we’re told might affect Red Bull more than others. To be honest, I doubt it. If I had to guess, I’d go for Vettel on pole, leading into the first corner and then a waltz to victory.

Or maybe that loon with the flag from a few years ago will come back and distract him. We can but hope.

There you have it from Benson, who states that the McLarens can win, but might not necessarily thanks to Sebastian Vettel.

Up next is Jimmy:

As ever, I’m lost with predictions, so it’s time to turn to the only reliable source I have: the stars. As-per, I’ll be using a few (absolutely genuine) horoscopes to try to figure this one out. Fortunately, Jenson and Lewis share the same sign.

We start with an interesting perspective from one stargazer, suggesting that Lewis and Jenson being ‘open-minded’ in their relationship will benefit the McLaren duo.

“You’ve come a long way together. And with so much back up from the stars, there’s no reason why you can’t go even further. You have a lot to gain by slowly shifting direction and being open-minded.”

Would a bit more collaboration between the McLaren boys help their cause on home soil? The stars seem to suggest so. Next, a celestial fitness suggestion:

“Ramp up your exercise routine. A workaholic like you has a tendency to sit for long periods of time. This not only compromises your physical health, but slows your thinking, too.”

Sage advice; we image the McLaren boys are already on that one, training like under-pressure race horses in preparation for their native GP. Finally we answer the question: can they win at Silverstone.

“Your goals and ambitions are never that far from your mind, and a great opportunity can come up that you must not let pass by. It may be solid, lasting and lucrative.”

Not my words but the words of renowned astrologist Patrick Arundell. McLaren have a ‘great opportunity’ that ‘they must not let pass [them] by.” Translation: Red Bull will hit problems at Silverstone and the British team must swoop to take the victory, not be caught napping and allow Ferrari to gobble up the win. The stars have spoken!

And finally, it’s me:

OK, let’s look at this objectively; Sebastian Vettel is in the form of his life. Red Bull have the faster car, blown-exhaust diffuser or not. McLaren aren’t guaranteed a win. Saying that though, I still have hope. A tiny sliver, but it’s still hope nonetheless.

If Lewis can get the maximum out of his car, if Jenson can get it as close to perfect as he can, if Mclaren bring upgrades that work straight away, then it can happen. I’m well aware of the amount of if’s in that sentence, but isn’t that part of the joy of being an F1 fan? Like the great Murray Walker always used to say, “if is F1 spelt backwards”. Never quite got that one though.

As with each race this year, I have to hope that Vettel just makes a mistake. That’s the key. It happened in Canada, thanks to the rain, which could also make a cameo at Silverstone. There’s just too many variables to take into account to say “never mind, better luck next year”. Because of that, I really hope a McLaren notches up a win here, not just for the home crowd (which I will be a part of for the first time) but also for the sport in general. No-one like a hogger, Sebastian.

So there’s team Badger’s thoughts on McLaren’s hopes this weekend. What’re yours?

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