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2016 German Grand Prix Preview

2016 German Grand Prix Preview

After a one-year hiatus, F1 returns to Germany at the Hockenheim circuit for round 12 of the 2016 season.

There will be four German drivers on the grid, including championship challenger Nico Rosberg, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, so the fans will likely see some familiar faces scoring a fair amount of points.

Here’s the preview of the race.

Track (Laps: 67)

The Hockenheim circuit was reconstructed in 2002 and many drivers at that time didn’t really like the new layout. However, the 4.7-kilometer course is very smooth and flowing. Corners are usually taken at slow speeds but after the drivers have built up a lot pace owing to several flat-out kinks. Six of the last ten winners came from pole and the first two sectors give a lot of chances to overtake with over 50 percent of the time spent on full throttle.

“Hockenheim is quite a technical circuit which requires fairly high downforce, and although most of the corners are relatively low-speed, they come after long, power-hungry straights, so the set-up of both the power unit and chassis for both eventualities can be quite tricky. For this kind of circuit, you need a car with which you can push, and I feel we’re making improvements in that area,” Fernando Alonso stated.

Brake and tires don’t see excessive wearing but expect a three-pit-stop race.

Weather

The weather is a bit unpredictable for the weekend. That said, while there are low chances of showers on Saturday, rain on Sunday “cannot be ruled out”.

Things to Watch Out For

Title Battle Continues: Having won 10 of the 11 races this year, Mercedes will enter the weekend as the prime favorites, which means Lewis Hamilton and Rosberg will continue their fierce title battle. Hamilton is in better form with three wins on the trot but Rosberg will be carrying massive home support and it’s worth pointing that he won in Hockenheim in 2014. If the German wins, he will re-take the championship lead but if Hamilton triumphs, the Briton will not only carry at least 13 points points over his rival heading into the summer break, but a plethora of confidence and momentum as well.

Ferrari Needs a Good Weekend: With Red Bull just a single point adrift in the Constructors Championship, rumors swirling that Vettel is getting frustrated with the team and James Allison leaving his job as the technical director, Ferrari has a lot to worry about right now. However, a good weekend with at least one of the drivers (preferably Vettel) on the podium will give the Italian outfit some respite.

Williams to Improve ?: Hockenhiem is a fast-paced, power circuit which should suit the Williams FW38, although it lacks in low-speed corner entry. Nonetheless, Valtteri Bottas finished second in 2014 and Felipe Massa qualified third before crashing out in the race. “We’re heading to Hockenheim, a track I really enjoy driving. I hope we have a good race because the Hockenheimring could be a great track for our car. We’ll see at the weekend,” Massa commented. Force India has acquired 32 points in the last four races compared to Williams’ 13, so the English outfit will be desperate to open up gap to Vijay Mallya’s team.

Game Over for Daniil Kvyat ?: After moving Daniil Kvyat from Red Bull to Toro Rosso, the hierarchy at the Austrian company was hoping that the Russian would set an example for Carlos Sainz and perform well under relatively less pressure. However, Daniil Kvyat has endured a difficult time at Toro Rosso, scoring just two points in seven races and reports have emerged out of Russia stating that his contract will not be renewed for 2017. What a difference just a few months can make…

What the Drivers Are Saying

Daniel Ricciardo: “I think the Hockenheimring is actually a pretty fun track. I like entering the stadium section. Also, the fans are huge motorsport fans, which is always pretty awesome. There are some cool little towns around the track which offer some traditional German food and after my week in Austria I can’t wait to enjoy my second round of Schnitzels.” 

Lewis Hamilton: “Getting that win in Hungary after a less than straightforward weekend was a great feeling. If I can come out on top when things aren’t quite perfect, that can only be a good thing. Now it’s off to Germany and another one of the team’s home races after Silverstone. It’s great to be going back there. My last win in Hockenheim came way back in 2008, which seems like a lifetime ago, but I’ve got some great memories from the circuit and the country itself.”

Fun Fact: Ferrari has been scored a point at Hockenheim for 23 consecutive races, a stint that started in 1987.

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