George Russell is excited that Silverstone will be “buzzing” for the British Grand Prix – rather than the “ghost town” it resembled last year.
A crowd of up to 140,000 has been given the go-ahead to attend round 10 of the 2021 World Championship, provided ticket-holders fulfil the criteria of the stipulated Covid-19 protocols.
As audience sizes at sports events return to pre-pandemic levels, it will be a far cry from the first two Sundays last August when Silverstone staged back-to-back grands prix behind closed doors.
Empty grandstands were the norm for F1 races in 2020, but Russell is delighted the usual Silverstone atmosphere will be back for his home race as opposed to the deserted venue that restrictions meant it had to be 11 months ago.
“I can’t wait for it. It’s always a joy going to Silverstone to drive what is an amazing track and with 140,000 fans it will be buzzing for all of us,” said the Williams driver during The Silverstone Podcast.
“I think we all need and deserve it, not just drivers and teams but the fans as well. It will be so exciting for everyone.
“Fingers crossed the weather holds off. Hopefully we’ve had our bad bit of the weather out of the way in the last couple of weeks in the UK and we can get some nice sunshine. It’s just going to be a mega event all in all.”
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Speaking about how it feels to have no fans present, the 23-year-old added: “You just don’t have that atmosphere when you drive into the track on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
“It’s quiet, it feels a bit like a ghost town, to be honest. It’s obviously still so busy when you’re with the F1 teams and on the grid, which is packed, but you look around and it’s completely empty.
“That’s not what sport’s about – sport’s about the atmosphere, the entertainment, and the fans are a huge part of that. Going to Silverstone with what will be by far the biggest crowd we’ve had in a year-and-a-half will be so exciting for everyone.
“You can’t quantify it but just having that support…obviously it adds some extra pressure but it’s good pressure and a lot of us thrive off that. Going out there to try and put on your best performance in front of everyone is such a special feeling, especially if you do a good job.”