2014 German Grand Prix: Weekend Preview

Following a thrilling British Grand Prix full of action and excitement, Formula One arrives in Germany, and there is certainly lots to discuss. Nico Rosberg has announced that he has committed to a Mercedes future, with a new multi-year deal; A German quartet are set to appear in tomorrows Press Conference and Kimi Raikkonen’s fitness, has been in the headlines. Oh, and there is also another instalment of the 2014 season to look forward to – can Nico win on home soil, or can Lewis spoil the home-boy’s party.

The Facts…

  • Hockenheimring and the Nurburgring alternate as the venue for the German Grand Prix, and this year, the former will host the race.
  • The race will last for 67 laps.
  • Kimi Raikkonen holds the lap record at the circuit, with his 1:13.780, set in 2004 when Raikkonen drove for McLaren
  • Last season, Sebastian Vettel won the German Grand Prix – His first victory on home turf. However, this win came at the Nurburgring.
  • The last Grand Prix to be held at Hockenheim in 2012 was won by Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard has won three of the last five races at the venue, with the 2010 victory proving highly controversial, following the infamous “Fernando is faster than you” radio message to Felipe Massa.

Rewind 12 Months…

We may have been at the Nurburgring rather than Hockenheim, but some aspects of the German Grand Prix are familiar regardless of the venue. One such area of continuity is in the support for the many German drivers who fill the grid, and this was evident when Sebastian Vettel finally broke his duct at home and took a hard earned race victory ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. The race between the three was one of the most exciting of the season, with Raikkonen making a late pit-stop and attempting to charge down the front-running German in the closing stages. However, Sebastian remained in control and took his 4th victory of the season. Meanwhile, the race is remembered for two frightening but dramatic reasons. Jules Bianchi’s fiery engine failure which led to his car rolling backwards down the track is one of the aforementioned moments, while Mark Webber’s rouge tyre which struck Paul Allen, a FOM cameraman, in the pitlane is the second memorable moment. Hopefully similar incidents will be avoided this year.

He Is 100% German

I am of course talking about the championship leader, Nico Rosberg. This weekend will obviously be key to Nico for a number of reasons – mainly that he will want to increase his lead in the championship following his advantage being virtually decimated by his unfortunate retirement at Silverstone. However, another factor which is sure to galvanise Nico’s charge this weekend is because he is at his second home race of the season, (or at least he classes it as his second after Monaco.) Just like Lewis’ home advantage last time out, Rosberg will hope to take energy from the crowd this weekend and while he will be sharing the German support with the likes of Vettel and Hulkenberg, his standing in the title race will surly mean that the crowd will be watching his every move. 
They will be supporting Nico, because he is a German. He has a German passport and was born in Germany. However, Lewis Hamilton seems to have missed this point, and his recent comments that “Nico isn’t really German” were decidedly misguided. I am sure that Lewis intended this as a throw-away comment, but this will surly galvanise Nico ahead of this weekend. As if he needed any more of an incentive, he now wants to prove that he is just as German as Lewis is British, and the best method of doing this is by winning on Sunday – I’m sure the fans will appreciate such a result. 
In other Nico news, the German, (take note Lewis), has signed a new multi-year deal with Mercedes. Are we surprised? Certainly not. It was widely anticipated that Mercedes were hoping to keep their two drivers for the foreseeable future, and this announcement was somewhat inevitable. However, now that the cat is out of the bag, Nico can focus on matters on the circuit rather than those off of it – not that it was proving to much of a concern.

He Is 100% Fit

After his monumental 47G impact on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix, there were some doubts in regards to whether Kimi Raikkonen would make an appearance in Germany. When the Finn emerged relatively unscathed from the accident, the question became how fit would he be, come Germany. However, it seems that the Iceman is 100% ready ahead of the weekend, with the bruising having cleared. Kimi is in need of a good performance, having earned just two points in the last four races. With his recent announcement that he will “probably” retire at the end of 2015, the Finn has not had a great deal going for him at the moment. If ever he needed a stand-out performance, he needs it now.

Prediction Corner

Much like McLaren, my season started relatively well, but has been in decline in recent weeks, in regards to predictions. In all honesty, I don’t mind too much, as I am merely proving the unpredictability of the sport. However, it wouldn’t be prediction corner if I did not make my predictions for the weekend and this time around, it is difficult to determine which way the pendulum will swing between Nico and Lewis. Hamilton clearly has the momentum and his early season form proved just how pivotal momentum can be. Meanwhile, Nico will be on home-turf and will be determined to restore a much bigger lead in the championship. However, momentum is critical and a Hamilton victory is my not so bold call for the weekend. My much bolder statement is that Valtteri Bottas will make it three podiums in a row. Like London buses…

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