We’re not yet at the halfway point in the 2019 Formula 1 world championship and yet already the battle is little more than a procession. Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton have been utterly dominant and if there is to be any sort of twist then the other teams and drivers need to start writing their script sooner rather than later.
Hamilton has won seven of the 10 Grands Prix thus far, with teammate Valtteri Bottas winning twice. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took the Austrian Grand Prix but right now Mercedes have almost as many points as Red Bull and Ferrari combined (407 versus 434). Hamilton has a fine record in Germany though and we simply can’t back against him right now.
The German Grand Prix is the 11th of 21 races this season and is the penultimate contest prior to the summer break. It has been hosted by a number of different circuits over the past 50 years, most commonly Hockenheim. The future of the race is uncertain but one thing is for sure, it will be Hockenheim once again doing the honours on Sunday. The circuit in the Rhine valley is fast, very flat and, since being redesigned in 2002, one that isn’t overly challenging from a technical point of view.
|11/21||Germany||Hockenheimring||306km / 67 Laps|
|Date||Start Time||Finish Time||Forecast Conditions||TV Coverage|
|Practice 1||Fri 26th July||10:00||11:30||Dry / 28°||–|
|Practice 2||Fri 26th July||14:00||15:30||Dry / 30°||–|
|Practice 3||Sat 27th July||11:00||12:00||Dry / 27°||–|
|Qualifying||Sat 27th July||14:00||15:00||Dry / 29°||Sky F1|
|Race||Sun 28th July||14:10||16:10||Dry / 29°||Sky F1|
Last Season’s Result (2018)
The Hockenheimring hosted this race 12 months ago at the same stage of the season and it was a remarkable Grand Prix which saw Hamilton come from 14th on the grid to win. Home favourite Sebastian Vettel started on pole and was leading but with rain about he crashed out of the race. It was a Mercedes 1-2, with Bottas second and this was a key moment in the campaign as it saw Hamilton and his team move from second to first in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ standings respectively.
Vettel and Ferrari had led previously and it all seemed to be going so well. However, the weather played a part and Hamilton cashed in on the German’s misfortune. His victory was somewhat controversial though, as stewards opted to merely reprimand the Brit for an aborted pit stop when a time penalty appeared the right call. Had they dished out the five second penalty Hamilton would have finished second.
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||4||12|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India||10||6|
|8||Esteban Ocon||Force India||15||4|
|10||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||16||1|
Analysis: Numbers Don’t Lie
From a purely statistical point of view it is really hard to look past the race favourite for this year’s German Grand Prix. Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton has a 70% strike rate this year so, whilst odds of 8/13 may appear short, they actually offer a fairly large slice of value.
Win stats alone can’t tell the whole picture of course, although 10 races is plenty to get an accurate assessment of how the teams match up and what sort of form the drivers are in. On top of his results this year, we must also consider the fact that the Brit has won the German Grand Prix four times before. Three of those victories, including last year, have come at this circuit and one more win would move him ahead of Michael Schumacher in the all-time German Grand Prix winner’s list, behind only Rudolf Caracciola.
No Home Comforts but Hamilton Hat-Trick
Four time world champion Vettel is the fifth favourite for this race at odds of 10/1. That offers no appeal however, and we don’t see the home favourite securing what would be just a second home win and a first ever at this circuit. Whether it is the circuit or the pressure, the Ferrari man, who hasn’t made the podium in the last three Grands Prix, just hasn’t thrived in this race.
In contrast, Hamilton is bidding to make it three Hockenheim wins in a row after his success here in 2018 and 2016. He was third here in the race before, in 2014, and so this is clearly a place he loves to race and a special hat-trick looks well worth backing.
Bottas Best of Rest
Back in 2014 Bottas, then at Williams, finished ahead of Hamilton in second and he has a great record at Hockenheim as well. He is 5/2 for the win here and after taking pole last time out may well be worth backing to start from the front again if you don’t think he can manage to actually claim the win.
Leclerc to Upset Mercedes?
Charles Leclerc is clearly a future world F1 champion and if you want to oppose the Mercedes duo then he could be the value bet here at odds of 9/1. He took a little time to settle into Formula 1 life, relatively speaking, but heads to Germany on a run of four straight podium finishes. 9/1 could well be a decent each way option as his first win, which would have already arrived with a shade more luck, surely can’t be far away.
About the German Grand Prix
The German Grand Prix is hosted by the Hockenheimring, which is located in Barden-Wurttemberg, a sleepy town within Germany. The track has been hosting Formula 1 since 1970 and whilst it hasn’t always been a firm fixture on the calendar in recent years, the country is one of the best supported races in the world.
The current set up of the German Grand Prix initially had the Nürburgring hosting every other race, but since they were unable to gain enough funding to commit to this deal, Hockenheimring were awarded exclusive rights for the foreseeable future.
The current 4.574km layout, with 17 corners that was introduced in 2002, is a great place to come and watch Formula 1. The grand stand holds over 120,000 people, who cheer on their heroes and hold their plaques of their favourite teams. With a plethora of German drivers in the current set up, hopes are held high for a home victory.
Hockenheim is in a quiet, rural part of German, but nothing beats the sound of the Formula 1 cars in full flow around the track.
As the drivers come out of the last turn positioning the car for the best acceleration across the start finish line, it’s a relatively short run down into turn 1. High speeds and quickly down the gears, using maximum kerbs on the exit, again making a very sort shift and run down into turn 2.
This is quite a tight entry into turn 2, the cars often tend to oversteer as a result and drivers are required to pull he car back across. The cars then hit the back straight and the driver has time to look around the forest ahead, which was once famously used for the full Grand Prix track.
The driver spots his breaking point at around 330kmph, the drivers need to stay wide initially in the new part of the circuit. They then come up through the flat out kink at 7 and is a positioner as they pull the car to the right, which often is a little bumpy under breaking.
the drivers pass the Mercedes stadium on the right and through the almost flat out kink at 10. Now we come back through the historic stadium of the track. The mighty turn12 means that drivers need to be very narrow on the exit. Thy then run down into 12 and have a long camber change, with a tight line.
They then need to navigate through the kink at 14, 15 and the down into 16. Another section that the cars like to oversteer and then they run hard on the way home. The drivers are able to see the whole of the stadium in what feels more like a football match with the number of fans that are going mad with every pass of a German designed car, such as Mercedes.
The track has gone through many changes since it was first opened in 1932. Whilst initially considered to be one of the safest tracks in the world, the advancement of the cars has meant that the track has needed to adapt as well. The initial layout was fairly basic, with just 6 corners in total. This track ran through until 1938 when the first of the major changes were made.
The number of corners were actually reduced to just 4, in what was essentially a glorified oval, with a few tight corners involved. The speed of the cars with this layout was one of aspects that drivers loved about the track, but again, as cars got quicker, the track got more unsafe.
The next major redevelopment came in 1992 and this set up ran for 10 years through to 2002. Several kinks were added into the oval shaped track to slow drivers down and with it saw a much more technical track. They also added in a double hairpin towards the end of the track, which as a result gave the track 16 corners in total, the most that had ever been seen at the track.
The current design has been running since 2002 and no longer do they run through the forest. It’s much more in keeping with modern day Formal 1 racing, in that it includes a number of tight, technical areas. The design is one that has been greeted with mixed reviews from the fans saying that overtaking is now very limited, but the changes were required for the most part, due to safety fears.
2006 – SCHUMACHER WINS
Michael Schumacher’s 4 wins at the German Grand Prix is the most of any driver in the modern era. His victory in 2006 was his last in his home grand prix and one that was much needed in terms of the title race that year. He ended up winning the race by just 0.720 seconds from his teammate Felipe Massa and more importantly, made vital ground on Championship leader, Fernando Alonso.
But, whilst the result was Schumacher’s third win a row that year he was unable to hold off the challenge posed by Alonso, who went on the win the drivers championship by 13 points, with Schumacher almost gifting him after retiring in the penultimate race in Japan.
2000 – INTRUDER ALERT
One of the craziest Formula 1 races for some time took place in 2000. Everything was at it should be, until some invaded the track after 26 laps and started walking around in the middle of the race. This signalled a safety car until the man was removed, but it allowed people to pit.
It was Rubens Barichello in his Ferrari that took full advantage of this, winning the race by 7 second over that of Mika Hakkinen. But, most importantly, it was the first win of Barrichello’s career and one that will be remembered for a very long time.