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After a bit of a processional GP at the Hungaroring, the F1 show moves 1000km west to the Hockenheimring in Germany. With back to back races the teams have had little time to catch their breath before being plunged into another action packed F1 weekend. Hungary saw Lewis Hamilton move from one point behind Nico Rosberg to six points in front, taking the lead in the Driver Standings for the first time this year. Being the last race before the summer break, will Lewis cement his place at the top of the leader board, or will Nico reclaim P1?
The Hockenheimring plays host to the German GP on alternate years, so the last race here was in 2014 which was won by Rosberg (Mercedes). Hamilton is no stranger to lifting the winner’s trophy either, having won here in 2008, behind the wheel of a McLaren (albeit with a Mercedes powered engine.) Of the current cohort of drivers, both Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso have claimed victory here: Vettel for Red Bull in 2013 and Alonso for Ferrari in 2012 and 2010 and also for Renault in 2005.
So we have Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault engines and Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Red Bull chassis all being victorious here in recent years, Does that make for an easy job predicting who will lift the trophy here this year?
It’s the home GP for no less than four German drivers, Rosberg (Mercedes), Vettel (Ferrari), Hulkenberg (Force India) and Wehrlein (Manor.)
Mercedes engines power four teams, Mercedes (Rosberg, Hamilton) Williams ( Bottas, Massa) Force India (Perez, Hulkenberg) and Manor (Wehrlein, Harianto), so we can safely assume that Germany will have something to celebrate at the end of this GP.
There’s (ahem) ’quite a lot’ riding on this final race heading into the summer break, both in the Constructor and Driver Standings. Mercedes as a team is way out in front in the Constructor Standings but Ferrari only have a one point lead over Red Bull in the battle for ‘best of the rest.’ For the drivers, six points sounds like quite a margin at the top (and in years gone by, would have been) but with a seven point differential between 1st and 2nd place, that could easily be reversed by the end of this race. There’s only one point separating Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) and Kimi Raikonnen (Ferrari) in the battle for 3rd and 4th place, with our four times World Champion, Sebastian Vettel (who, to be fair, is woefully misplaced in 5th place after three DNFs, countless penalties for component failures and generally an enormous run of bad luck) in the mix, only four points behind teammate Raikonnen.
Let’s not forget about the ‘Wonder Boy’ Max Verstappen- who has rocketed to both fame and glory in his a) short life and b) short career in F1. Winning his first GP in his first race for Red Bull in Spain this year, he eclipsed every other racer on the track and he didn’t stop there: he’s been on every step of the podium since he moved from Toro Rosso: He’s been collecting points with great enthusiasm so how will he fair in Germany?
AND there’s the much under-rated Carlos Sainz, driving the (2015) Ferrari- powered STR11, who is showing a clean pair of heels to his more experienced team mate, Daniil Kvyat (who, sadly, may not have a seat next year as it has been reported that his contract has not been renewed with Toro Rosso for 2017). Not to mention Harianto who is facing funding problems and may be replaced by Stoffel Vandorm who had one race in F1 this year and scored McLarens first points (ahead of both World Champions Alonso and Button)…………………
Well, I for one can’t wait until Sunday, because, even if the race itself is not the most scintillating of the season so far, the outcome certainly will be.
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