Epic F1 showdown at Hockenheim: 5 things you should know about the 2018 German Grand Prix
This weekend sees the return of the German Grand Prix to the Formula 1 calendar following its absence last year.
The 2018 race couold prove to be yet another humdinger of a battle between title contenders Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).
Home ground advantage for Vettel
During the last outing in Great Britain, Vettel rained on Hamilton’s parade as the Mercedes ace attempted to chase a sixth consecutive victory in front of his home crowd. But that was not to be as Vettel took the chequered flag.
Vettel will be returning to his home crowd this weekend and will be looking to do what Hamilton could not do: take a home victory this year. Hamilton, on the other hand, will be looking to upset those plans.
Germany has played host to the German GP for the last 62 years though not consecutively. The 2015 and 2017 races didn't make the F1 calendar due to a lack in funds by organisers.
Three German tracks hosted F1 events in the past, with Hockenheim leading on 35 races, a shortened version of the Nürburgring running for 26 races, and one solitary race hosted at Avus in 1959.
Here are five interesting facts about the German GP:
1. Most wins
It should come as no surprise that local hero, Michael Schumacher, has won his home race a record four times - once with Benetton and three times with Ferrari.
It was during his Ferrari years that he really made the event his own and was the grand prix one of the highlights of the season. Of the current crop of drivers both Hamilton and Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Renault) have won three times and Vettel only once in 2013, when racing for Red Bull Racing.
Ferrari is the Constructor who stood on the top step the most following 21 victories at the event, while Mercedes have only done so three times.
Mercedes won both the 2014 and 2016 editions.
2. Most podiums
Again Schumacher is the driver with the most number of podiums at the German GP. Over the span of his career he managed to reach the top three positions a total of seven times; more than any other driver in history.
Alonso did it a total of five times, but it seems highly unlikely that he will be able to repeat that feat this coming weekend. Hamilton made it to the podium four times as opposed to Vettel’s three, but it seems likely that both drivers will add to their scores on Sunday. Vettel’s Ferrari team mate, Kimi Raikkonen, also stood on the podium three times.
3. Pole position
Though claiming pole position in qualifying on a Saturday is fundamental to winning a race on Sunday, pole position does not seem to be as important here as with other races. Yes, it will give you an advantage, but the winners have come from behind to claim the victory.
Racing legend, Jim Clark, took pole position four times for the German GP, but has only won once. Schumacher only did it twice, but has won four times, as alluded to earlier.
Hamilton and Raikkonen have taken pole position twice, but Hamilton has won at the event whereas Raikkonen is yet to do so. Alonso and Vettel each took pole position once.
4. Fastest lap
Back in the day drivers could drive as fast as they could en route to the best possible result without having to worry about conserving fuel. That’s because refuelling was allowed and tyres were constructed in such a way to deliver maximum performance and not to last an entire race distance.
But that meant that the overall race pace was much faster and not just one solitary lap that had to be countered with a few slower ones to eke out a bit more performance from the tyres.
From all three venues used to host the German GP, it was Schumacher, again, who set the most number of fastest laps on five. Of the current, active drivers it is Raikkonen, Alonso, and Hamilton whom have each set about this feat twice in their careers, whereas Vettel has done so once. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing) also has one fastest lap under his belt that came in 2016 when he won the event.
5. Kilometre's led
Over the course of their careers drivers accumulate a total number of racing kilometres they’ve acquired in their racing careers, but these figures are also per grand prix.
For the German GP it is not Schumacher who leads the charge, but Fangio. In total, Fangio has led the German GP for a total of 1 391km! Schumacher is second on 1 064km. This year’s two title contenders, Hamilton and Vettel, have led the German GP for 749km and 245km, respectively.
Provided he leads every lap of the race on Sunday, Hamilton could find himself in very selected company as one of four drivers to exceed 1000km led at this event. The other driver is Sir Jackie Stewart with 1050km led.