Vettel gunning for home win at Formula 1 race in Hockenheim
The race to become world champion leaves no time for hesitation, even if the result isn’t decided before the tenth race of the season. But when asked for predictions about how the field looks for the upcoming race in Hockenheim, Germany, experts reply as quickly as a starting gun: "Vettel is the best," says Marc Surer, SkyTV commentator of top competitor and home favourite, Sebastian Vettel.
"He is just performing brilliantly. He is still a top candidate for the title," adds Surer’s counterpart for the RTL television station, Christian Danner. Defending champion Vettel and legendary multiple-record-holder Michael Schumacher are standing front and center in the most balanced season in years – and Formula One is about to come back to their home turf in Germany.
Vettel’s wait continues for a win at the Hockenheim racetrack, just a short drive from his hometown of Heppenheim in the same western state of Baden-Württemberg. This year, despite his last two banner years, two-time Formula One World Champion Vettel stands slightly in the shadow of his Red Bull teammate, Mark Webber.
"Vettel got a lot of praise early in the year, but then he could not deliver. And if it does not work, bad luck will come," said Surer. But if any driver enjoys a home-track advantage on Sunday, it is certainly Vettel, whose home is quite literally just a half-hour away from the Hockenheimring. "Driving in Hockenheim is always special for me," Vettel says. Yet, a victory there would only gain 25 points for the Red Bull driver.
This year, however, what counts is not just wins, but also consistency: at this point in the Formula One season – the longest so far, with 20 races – the only certain thing is that nothing is certain. "There are some drivers who drive on one level, as the results show," Vettel said in an interview on the internet portal "formula1.com". In his quest for another victory, the 25-year-old must contend with his childhood hero, German teammate, and competitor all in one - Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher, who is still in the running, even if he currently makes more headlines with his expiring contract than by his results in the revived Mercedes “Silver Arrow” car.
Enlarge image Michael Schumacher at the Hockenheim tracks in 2003 (© picture alliance/Pressefoto Baumann) But the 43-year-old regular on the world racing circuit has made significant strides, even if he hasn’t seen the top of the Hockenheim podium since 2006. And he has managed the feat four times – more than any other racer. "We are firmly resolved that over the weekend, we will let ourselves celebrate the occasion," says Schumacher. As to the question of whether the Formula One race in Hockenheim has such a thing as a home advantage? "Perhaps not home advantage, but it definitely feels like home," he says.
The feeling of victory, though, is now almost six years old - but the “Silver Arrow” could ride out front again this year. "Mercedes has improved since the start of the season. But they have problems really reaching and staying at the top," says Danner. "It's a winning car, when everything comes together. But so are the others," says Surer.
Schumacher's teammate Nico Rosberg has been able to capitalize on good form with good results – he has tallied up a total of 52 points over the seven-time champion Schumacher, including the first victory of his career in China. And of course, Vettel and Schumacher are not alone in having very special memories of Hockenheim: during his father Keke’s victory lap in 1995, the 27-year-old Rosberg decided to become a racecar driver.