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German Grand Prix preview

A look ahead to this weekend's German GP at Hockenheim. Can Sebastian Vettel win in front of his home fans or will Hamilton get back on track?

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German Grand Prix preview
Fuente imagen: @F1

The track 

The German circuit, which was redesigned in 2002, is one that should suit Ferrari and Mercedes this weekend.  

The first two sectors are mostly made of long straights and the drivers will be on full throttle for most of it. The final sector aka the stadium section is full of low to medium speed corners and it may be quite tricky to follow another car through this part of the circuit.  

In theory, Hockenheim is a venue where overtaking could be easier compared to most other venues. We've seen a lot of battles and passing down at the turn 6 hairpin throughout the years – but it might be too easy with three DRS zones this year. 

Main talking points 

Hamilton vs Vettel 

A sizeable upgrade at Silverstone brought Ferrari right back into the game as Vettel and Raikkonen narrowly missed out on pole. Hamilton getting hit by the Finn on the opening lap didn't give us a full indication of race pace between the two teams. 

Like it has been since the start of the year, it should be a close battle and Hamilton will be determined to get one over on Vettel at this home race after the German's win at Silverstone. The German is 8 points clear of his British rival ahead of Sunday's race. Hamilton is a previous winner here in 2016 – but Vettel has never taken a win at Hockenheim yet. However, he did grab pole position back in 2010. 

Don't rule out Raikkonen and Bottas from challenging for the win either – Raikkonen has got two poles around here and both have finished on the podium previously at Hockenheim. 

Red Bull will likely be playing the watching brief role as they did at Silverstone and they'll try to take advantage of any incidents or problems for the two top teams to nick a podium place. Ricciardo hasn't beaten Verstappen in qualifying at the last four events and he needs to turn that around. 

The midfield battle 

Haas will be favourites to be the fourth quickest team after showing terrific speed in Austria and Britain. The long straights and Ferrari power should see them ahead of Renault. Young superstar Charles Leclerc will be hoping to make Q3 once again on Saturday. 

As has been the story throughout 2018 so far, it's likely to be an extremely tight fight behind the top three teams. 

Sadly for Williams, their season is unlikely to get any better and are likely to bring up the rear again. 

Track limits 

There is potential for this topic to rear its ugly head this weekend. 

Turn one has a big tarmac run-off area on the exit and there's a possibility to gain time. The exit of the hairpin can be an issue as well if you overtake off the circuit, as Sebastian Vettel found it to his cost in 2012 

Make sure to keep an eye on it during the event. 

Driver quotes  

Pierre Gasly 

The Hockenheim track has plenty of character with a lot of history behind it. The stadium section is the part I like best, it is very technical with not much in the way of straights and it’s the most fun to drive. I’d like to go and see the old part, as I gather it was really impressive with the very long straights and the chicane before it turned back towards the pits.” 
Brendon Hartley 

“I raced at Hockenheim in the Formula 3 Euro Series and I have to say it’s a cool track. I like going to these old circuits that have a lot of history, even if we don’t race anymore down those two very long straights through the forest. I’d like to try that! The final part with the grandstand in the Motodrom section has an amazing atmosphere when it’s packed with fans. The track has a bit of everything: a very high-speed Turn 1 where the kerb comes into play, and the final sector which is very technical featuring a banked section, which is something of a rarity on modern Formula 1 tracks. The combination of the high speed flat parts along with the more technical bits, as well as having some cambered sections, makes it a very interesting lap to drive.” 

Esteban Ocon 

“Hockenheim is one of the tracks I know the most. I have been driving there a lot in my career, first in F3 but also during my experience in DTM with Mercedes. It’s one of those historical tracks that are important for Formula One and there are always a lot of fans coming to see us with cards, messages and letters. It’s important to have a German Grand Prix and it’s always a special feeling racing there. 
I enjoy the circuit. It has good overtaking opportunities, especially the hairpin at the end of a long straight and the sharp left hander a bit later. The racing is usually quite close so hopefully we will have an entertaining race on Sunday.” 

Sergio Perez 

''Hockenheim is a track that gives you good overtaking opportunities, especially on the approach to the hairpin. You arrive there so fast and it’s a very big braking zone so it’s always a good place to have a go. It’s probably one of the best circuits for creating exciting racing.'' 

Marcus Ericsson 

”Hockenheim is a track that I have driven many times – in Formula One, as well as in GP2 and Formula 3 when I was younger. It is a nice track. The biggest challenge is the last sector which can make or break your lap. It is important to have good speed in the straights and work your way through the hairpins in the first half of the lap well. There are usually a lot of Swedish fans attending this Grand Prix, so I hope to see many of them again this year. Their support is always great. As a team, we see a good trend in our performance, having been more and more competitive with each race weekend. I look forward to bouncing back and fighting for good results again at Hockenheim.” 

Charles Leclerc 

“The Hockenheimring is a circuit that I know well, especially from my time in Formula 3. It is quite a technical track, with an impressive stadium that is usually filled with many spectators. I really look forward to going back there – it is great to have the German Grand Prix back on the calendar. Hopefully we can build on the progress we have made in the last few races and keep fighting for points.” 

Daniel Ricciardo 

“Hockenheim is a fun circuit and I’ve always enjoyed going there. My highlight is probably the battle I had there with Alonso in 2014 which I loved. Turn 1 is super-fast and the track is good for overtaking. The stadium section is also fast with a big bold left hander. All round it’s a good track and one I’ve always gone well on and enjoyed. It’s good to have a bit of a break after the triple header as things haven’t quite gone my way over the last three races, but I’m looking forward to getting back on track and to things turning around in Germany and Hungary.  

Max Verstappen 

"The German Grand Prix is back on the calendar and I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure quite a few Dutch fans will also come over and visit the track to support me. At the last German Grand Prix, we had a double podium, so that is of course a good memory. Hockenheim is a historic track with some interesting corners, especially in the last sector where you can try different lines, so that’s enjoyable. I’m looking forward to the whole weekend and to experience it again. Also, I think for Germany to have a Grand Prix is very important as there are so many motorsport fans living there. So, I’m happy to go back.” 

Kevin Magnussen 

“Germany has a mix of corners with high, medium and low-speed turns. It’s a good, all-around track. I think it will be possible to overtake there as well. Let’s see. I think it’s probably not a track we’re looking forward to the most in the season, but we can still score points, I’m pretty certain.” 

Carlos Sainz 

"I’m happy to be back racing in Germany. I’m especially looking forward to it as we have a few updates there – including a new front wing - to help us get back on the pace we showed at the beginning of the year. Hockenheim is a track I’ve won at in the past, so it’s one I’m looking ahead to. It’s Nico’s home race too, so that’ll be special for him – like for me in Spain – and that will help us both push hard on track all weekend." 

Nico Hulkenberg 

"It’s very special to have the German Grand Prix back on the calendar. A home race is extremely motivating, as you carry that extra ounce of determination to do well in front of the home fans. We missed it last season, but now it’s back at Hockenheim, we’ll really enjoy every moment throughout the weekend." 

Fernando Alonso 

“I enjoy racing at Hockenheim and have won there three times so it’s great to be back after a break last year. The track is viewed as one of the classics, it’s fun to drive and there are a couple of overtaking opportunities – and an extra DRS zone this year – so hopefully we can fight with the cars around us.'' 

Stoffel Vandoorne 

“We know that the Hockenheimring is a challenging track, with long, fast straights that require a lot of power and also a slower, tighter section at the end of the lap where you need good car balance and traction out of the corners. 

The addition of the third DRS zone will mix things up a bit and the extra overtaking opportunity will hopefully mean an exciting race, where we can have some good battles for the fans. The German crowd really love their motorsport so I think there’ll be a great atmosphere there after two years away.” 

Lance Stroll 

"This is a cool track that has a great flow and I know it really well. I have very fond memories of driving there and it has always treated me well. I have won three races there in the past and our Formula 3 car always worked pretty well there. I have not seen an F1 race there, but I’m told that the atmosphere in the stadium section is electric.'' 

Sergey Sirotkin 

"I have very good memories from Hockenheim. I like this track, and it should suit our car better than other tracks have done. It will be exciting to see what our recent upgrades can bring us before the summer break. It will be an important weekend for the team and I am looking forward to it." 

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