Can Vettel score his first win on home ground?

2011 German Grand Prix preview

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2009

For the most successful drivers in Formula 1, there are three achievements they especially covet: the world championship, naturally, victory in the Monaco Grand Prix – and a win on home ground.

Sebastian Vettel can tick off the first two of these. But the one they call ‘Baby Schumi’ is yet to score a win in front of his home crowd.

But with six wins from nine races so far this year, he stands an excellent chance of changing that at the Nurburgring next weekend.

Ferrari’s fightback

First among the drivers trying to stop him is his team mate, Mark Webber. Distinctly unimpressed with Christian Horner’s use of team orders at Silverstone, Webber is returning to the scene of his own maiden triumph two years earlier.

Can Webber out-qualify Vettel again this weekend? Or was his pole position in Silverstone aided by the one-off restriction on exhaust-blown diffusers – and the lifting of the restriction will see normal service resume at Red Bull?

The resurgent Ferrari of Fernando Alonso promises to be an equally serious threat. Ferrari won’t have to worry about the hard tyre compound here, and Alonso’s race pace when the track was dry at Silverstone was very strong.

The pair shared the front row in Germany last year. The prospect of Vettel on pole position at home with Alonso behind him on the grid in a Ferrari that’s faster over a race distance is an intriguing one.

What should we expect from McLaren? They seemed to be especially harmed by the temporary exhaust-blowing restriction at Silverstone and will be glad to see the back of it.

But they didn’t run well in Valencia either and the rear wing upgrade tested at Silverstone was rejected.

Mercedes’ home race coincides with an upswing in performance for the team, who have moved up to fourth place in the constructors’ championship. The exhaust upgrade introduced at Silverstone appears to have been a step in the right direction.

Renault need to emulate that to keep pace with their rivals, and will test a significant change to their car in practice on Friday: a departure from the radical forward exhausts they’ve been using all season long.

Six home drivers

This is the race with the largest contingent of home drivers. Nick Heidfeld, Adrian Sutil and Timo Glock join their countrymen from Red Bull and Mercedes.

It’s also the only race on the calendar that alternates venues: Hockenheim last year, Nurburgring this year.

With several medium-to high speed corners this is what we’ve come to recognise as a ‘Red Bull track’. If Ferrari are competitive again here it will be a further sign that they are in good shape for the second half of the season.

Whether there’s still time to stop Germany’s new F1 hero from romping to a second world championship is another matter.

2011 Driver form

Q avgR avgR bestR worstClassifiedForm guide
Sebastian Vettel1.221.33129/9Form guide
Mark Webber4.113.44259/9Form guide
Lewis Hamilton4.563.88188/9Form guide
Jenson Button4.563.88168/9Form guide
Fernando Alonso4.113.75178/9Form guide
Felipe Massa6.336.435117/9Form guide
Michael Schumacher9.789.294177/9Form guide
Nico Rosberg6.5685128/9Form guide
Nick Heidfeld13.568.53128/9Form guide
Vitaly Petrov9.11103178/9Form guide
Rubens Barrichello14.6712.579177/9Form guide
Pastor Maldonado12.7816.6714186/9Form guide
Adrian Sutil13.56117158/9Form guide
Paul di Resta11.8912.7510188/9Form guide
Kamui Kobayashi12.899.295167/9Form guide
Sergio Perez13.7111.67175/7Form guide
Sebastien Buemi13.8911.388148/9Form guide
Jaime Alguersuari1511.868167/9Form guide
Heikki Kovalainen18.1116.614195/9Form guide
Jarno Trulli19.4416.7113207/9Form guide
Narain Karthikeyan2320.517246/7Form guide
Vitantonio Liuzzi221913236/8Form guide
Timo Glock20.891815216/9Form guide
Jerome D’Ambrosio22.4417.7514228/9Form guide
Pedro de la Rosa171212121/1Form guide
Daniel Ricciardo241919191/1Form guide

2011 German Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    67 comments on “Can Vettel score his first win on home ground?”

    1. I’m wondering if McLaren rejected the new rear wing because it produced less downforce, on a weekend when they lost quite a bit anyway. The aim of the wing was to give a better DRS effect and improve their qualifying, whilst sacrificing a bit of race pace. I wonder if we’ll see its return.

      Either way it should be a pretty close weekend!

      1. An interesting thought, that.

        I must say i am looking forward to it, to see if Webber got on top of the tyres now and give Red Bull more team strategy to think of. And weather Alonso/Ferrari or McLaren can do a bit of helping spice up the championship.

        Maybe even Vettel might be nervous for Germany again (like he was when Webber won last time they were here, Vettel was on a surge then as well) and make a race ending mistake.

        1. If you look at the red bull rear wing, its got a cut out in the middle. Ferrari bought the cut out and made it too big earlier in the season, and had to refine it. McLaren it seems haven’t noticed this. I think they may be missing a trick, but what do i know?

        2. Cluffy_Wedge
          20th July 2011, 13:14

          I am looking forward to all races this year, even though the result is more predictable than it has been for years.

      2. But they didn’t run well in Valencia either and the rear wing upgrade tested at Silverstone was rejected.

        i believe they didn’t use it because friday practice was wet all day, they weren’t able to gather all the data they needed so decided to play safe and return to their old spec wing.

      3. I read, but don’t recall where, that one of the reasons for not using that new rear wing was the lack of dry running and the engine mapping changes; it does seem like McLaren that if they haven’t been able to get the measurements done, they don’t race it.

        If that is indeed the case, I guess we will see it back this weekend.

      4. To be fair Mclarens pace has been bad at the last three races. Canada they got lucky with the conditions and Buttons amazing performance. In the dry sessions they were well of the pace.
        They need medium temperatures or changeable conditions (where RBR and Ferrari struggle to get the tyres to work as well as Mclaren in race conditions) to complete unless they have a sizeable upgrade.

        1. I havent seen RBR struggling with any of the tyres ( this is true only for Ferrari). In Canada, Fernando was way too slow on full wets at the start. In Britain too, Ferrai were slow on intermediates too. We have to give credit to RBR for being competitive on every tyre compound which Pirreli brings.
          Ferrai doesnot generate too much heat and hence struggles. Mclaren heats up tyres too quickly and destroyes them. RBR USES the tyres.

          1. OK Ferrari and heat in tyres. ;-)

    2. It’s also the only race on the calendar that alternates venues: Hockenheim last year, Nurburgring this year.

      Maybe not for lone – according to SPEED, Francois Fillion (the French Prime Minister, who is sadly not related to Nathan Fillion) will very shortly be sending a letter of intent to Mr. E outlining their plans for a revived French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard, beginning in August-September 2013. Alternating the race with Spa-Francorchamps is a major part of this plan.

      1. Spa is my favourite track, so losing it every second year would be a disaster. I would better drop Valencia altogether.

        1. But dropping Valencia isn’t an option. Everyone talks about it, but there’s no current provision for it. To his credit, Bernie Ecclestone has never removed a race from a calendar without precedent. The only conceivable possibility for the removal of Valencia is that they fail to pay Bernie. So long as they pay, they stay. Even if Bernie dropped the race because the fans desperately opposed it, the organisers of the race would have a very strong case for litigation against FOM.

          1. There is a reason PM for Valencia not keeping it. Just recently they have said that they didn’t want it and would be happy to pawn it off to another city due to costs.

            1. How many times have they said that? It seems to happen at least once a year. If they were serious about it, they’d find someone to buy it.

            2. Or perhaps them saying it every year is part of an attempt to attract interest?

            3. I also heard rumours that Barcelona could be dropped for Valencia at some point. Anything in that?

            4. They say that about Melbourne too, nothing happened with that. Just a few disgruntled big wigs.

      2. I love the Ricard (with the long Mistral) but love Spa even more. I’d like a permanent French GP though along with the Belgian – these two are oldest GPs in the world.

      3. Oh no. Spa is 10 times better than Magny-Cours! Eventually they will come up with another track. If so, let’s mix Spa, Sepang and Interlagos.

    3. You don’t need a magic 8-ball to see that all signs point to yes.

      1. You could have said the same thing about Silverstone …

        1. Completely off-topic, but PM, what happened to your story on the forum?

    4. Vettel seemed to fight back very strongly whenever he lost in this season..so i belevie he will be very strong in germany although i hope ferrari can take fight to redbull. Germany & Hungary (next week) will more or less decide whether there is going to be any fightback from either ferrari or mclaren to stop redbull & vettel from running away with championship. Interesting to see the pace of ferrari at silverstone is how much due to their own & how much due to redbull being disadvantaged due to blown diffuser regs..

      1. Completely agree. Vettel seems very unhappy with finishing 2nd, and he always bounces back even stronger on the next race weekend. I expect him to come into tis weekend as favourite.. closely followed by Alonso, Webber and Hamilton.

        1. Somehow I really dont respect Vettel as WorldChampion,because I feel like he is overprotected by Redbull and doesnt deserved get the credits how high people rated him. Vettel just lucky because he drives the fastest car and has the whole team support him. The true champion at the moment is Alonso…

          1. But he was the fastest so far around the track of Top gear in a Suzuki Liana – but maybe RBR had supplied the car for him that day also…He was faster than Barrichello, The Stig, Hamilton etc. etc. And that in a test where he didn’t have RBR to back him up, and in a car none of us would fancy driving on a race track.
            I think You should accept that he is one of the best racing drivers in F1 at the moment – You just don’t like him, but that doesn’t make him “just lucky because he drives the fastest car”. But the teamorder issued by RBR last race was stupid – down at level with Ferrari.

          2. To be honest, even Fernando had the whole support of Renault between 2004-06, and he has all the support he wants at Ferrari right now…. But that doesn’t make him any less of a driver. The team ends up supporting the stronger driver anyways.

            I definitely respect Vettel, but I wouldn’t go as far as calling him the best driver on the grid

            1. Neither do I, but I strongly oppose the attitude that “he is just lucky to have the fastest car”. He is one of the fastest drivers, and the Top Gear test among other evidence also support this statement. I strongly respect Alonso’s driving talent. However I don’t respect his attitude to count the Singapore stunt of Piquet Jr. as one of his wins, or the arguing for a team order to Massa, and not seeing it as a problem for Massa afterwards. He seems to be lacking empathy, but he is one of the fastest drivers on the grid.

    5. Is this a typo or do Hamilton and Button really have exactly the same average Qualifying and Race position?

      1. McLarenFanJamm
        20th July 2011, 12:24

        Bear in mind Lewis has qualified 9th/10th on a couple of occasions this year. Think Button’s lowest qualifying is 6th(?)

        1. Yeah.. both of those poor qualifying performances were due to him being on the track at the wrong time. (Bad weather or yellow/red flags)

        2. 7th at Canada was Button’s worst qualification.

          Not sure what’s more surprising, that Button is on par with Hamilton so far or that Hamilton is on par with Button in spite of all the ‘apparent’ reckless and life threatening driving.

          1. Defo Button doing so well, everyone thought Hamilton would walk it, but JB has driven really well this year.

            1. He’s not as fast as Lewis, but he’s a lot smarter and he’s always near the front.

    6. I’m keen to see if the Ferrari pace last time out was genuine or fixed by the FIA. I reckon it was a bit of both so I will stick my neck out and go for a Vettel win under normal conditions, by with rain around, maybe it’ll open the door for someone else.
      Webber won last time here, and got a podium in 2007 so he may go well again. Hamilton doesn’t have a good record here, a 9th and an 18th i think and twice he had 1st lap punctures. alonso has won here at least couple of times (05,07) so i can’t see anyone walking away with it.

    7. McLaren seem to have lost the plot. Not long ago they were faster that Red Bull on race pace on more than one occasion. Then all of a sudden they are nowhere. I think they are trying to make to bog steps each weekend. Lets hope they are back on the pace to challenge Red Bull and NOW Ferrari.

    8. if Vettel wins, then champ is over. even if he grabs a podium. For things to really matter, Vettel needs to have a problem.

      1. if Vettel wins, then champ is over. even if he grabs a podium. For things to really matter, Vettel needs to have a problem.

        Actually, Vettel cannot win the championship until Japan. And that’s assuming no-one else scores. If Ferrari or Webber manage to keep up with him, then the championship can be drawn out until Interlagos.

        1. I make it that Vettel can win it by Italy?

        2. How do you arrive at Japan (round 15 of 19) as the point till which he can’t win?
          According to my calculations, he can theoretically win the championship at the Italian GP (round 13 of 19). For that to happen, he has to win every race and none of Webber, Jenson, Hamilton, Alonso should score a single point in these 4 races together. Of course, this is not going to happen, but Vettel CAN theoretically win the championship at Monza.

        3. If Ferrari or Webber manage to keep up with him, then the championship can be drawn out until Interlagos.

          That just turned my emotionless face into a hopelessly optimistic smile. ;)

      2. For the championship battle!

      3. It’s bad to say but I’m wishing Vettel a DNF :). But something in my mind tells me that he will win the race.

        However, I think McLaren will be there this weekend.

      4. I agreed with you….Vettel need to get crash out or car problem and lets hope will happend on this SUnday…..”Keep the finger crossed”

    9. Except for Canada where he has never won before VET has won in all new territories this season in Australia, Turkey, Barcelona and Monaco. If this trend continues, he should be up to the challenge in Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Korea and India. Even if he doesn’t win in RBR weak circuits like Belgium and Italy he still has a chance to rake up 5 more wins this season. His last GP in Nurburgring(2009) was lost stuck behind MAS(KERS car) when WEB took his first grand prix win. I don’t see any repeat of Heroics from WEB as the last time he beat VET was way back in Belgium(2010), not even MAS has a record like that against ALO. Major contenders will be HAM and ALO, but how far HAM can keep up with ALO or VET remains to be seen.

    10. Really hope Ferrari can keep up the little momentum they have. It’s very typical of them and McLaren to move between extremes of convincing wins and mediocrity in the last couple of seasons however. We’ll have to wait and see.

    11. Can Vettel score his first win on home ground?

      Yes he can. Will he? That’s hard to say.
      He still has the best car of the field. He has been excellent in qualifying all season. If he can keep going in the race without problems he should be in contention for the win.
      Unless he has some sort of problem, he will be fighting for the win with Webber and Alonso, and, if the McLarens are back on pace, Hamilton and Button.

      This might be a great race.

    12. Wow, I hadn’t noticed Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton have the exact same average qualifying position, the exact same average race position, and the exact same number of points. That’s pretty cool.

    13. Weather could also play a significant role again.

      According to F1.com temps are going to be in the low 20s, overcast with possible rain thorough the weekend particularly on Friday.

      While tyres are a pro for the Ferrari resurgence this is surely a con.

    14. My biggest question is what impact the application of the “Valencia rules” will have on the teams.
      Will RBR be dominating once more?
      Or will Ferrari be able to keep up? After all, they enjoyed a massive aero upgrade since Silverstone. So we don’t know how this will perform with the off throttle diffusor being allowed once more.

      The McLarens havent’ given the best impression in the past couple of races, but the team insists that their weak Valencia form was an isolated case and that their Silverstone form was the result of the new diffusor rules. With the new diffusor rules now cancelled again, can McLaren step up once more and get into the mix for the win?

      This race can go from one extreme to the other. From being the best race of the season, to yet another one man/team show.

    15. Webber’s going to break his duck, calling it now!

    16. Alonso behind him on the grid in a Ferrari that’s faster over a race distance is an intriguing one.

      Now that we’re back to full blown EBDs (albeit set the same in Q & Race) I very much doubt the Ferrari will be ahead on race pace.

      We’ll see though.

    17. Can he win the German Grand Prix. Yes, he can.

      Will he win the german grand prix? Not so sure. It’s forecast to be wet all weekend so it’s basically a lottery.

      Good luck to everyone and their predicitons.

    18. themagicofspeed (@)
      20th July 2011, 14:08

      hopefully ferrari (preferably for me as a fan but anyone will do at this stage) can take the fight to vettel and inject some much needed life into this boring, dead season. from around monaco onwards ive been thinking “oh well hopefully next year will be better”. hate to be a pessimist but i really dont think anyone has it about them this year to stop SV and RBR walking away with both titles, the constructors particularly, is arguably a foregone conclusion.

    19. Conspiracy theorists will be watching to see if Webber can get a bigger share of the pole now that engine mapping will be fixed before qualifying as it was at Silverstone ( and could this have had a bearing on Hamilton’s fuel shortage?). I am personally prepared to accept that it was the rain preventing Vettel from having the last run that allowed Webber to stay on pole, but if for the rest of the year, Webber suddenly appears much more competitive in qualifying I may change my mind.

      1. The engine map rules have gone back to what it was in Valencia, where Vettel absolutely dominated. So i doubt very much that Webber will be able to catch him in terms of pole positions.

        1. I have to say that with all the changes the only thing I am sure about re Silverstone is that there was no mapping change allowed after qualifying as was the case in Valencia, and it is the ability to influence downforce by engine mapping that could be used to make 1 car faster than an identical car for qualifying.

    20. I hope he doesn’t, too boaring. Somebody different for once!!

    21. Younger Hamii
      20th July 2011, 17:13

      Implying that McLaren got their Car Setup wrong and was caught out by Track/Air Temperatures in Valencia,explaining the ‘isolated case’ or ‘blip in form’.In addition,What People are forgetting is the Track Characteristics and how they suit certain Cars,Nurburgring is nothing like Valencia(Relatively High Downforce Track,being a Medium Downforce track where Traction out of the corners are vital.

      If im Correct then i expect McLaren to be back on the pace again,RB and Ferrari defintely on the pace,implying if Free Practice goes well and all planned.But you never know McLaren,they’re quite unpredictable and Predictable in certain cases.

    22. The only thing stopping Vettle is Vettle himself. He should really have won 9 of 9 so far. Lewis, Jensen and Fernando all capitalised on moments were Seb let himself be caught off guard. Lewis passed him in an unlikely spot on a corner, Jensen got him in a wet braking approach to a corner and Fernando lucky in a RedBull pitstop boggle. Take those three brief moments away and absoluetly nobody would have beaten him. LH, JB, and FA were simply lucky, end of story.
      Vettle should win at Germany and continue to do so until he defends his championship. He is breaking the backs of all who come to challenge.

    23. “Can Vettel score his first win on home ground?”

      Lets hope not. Infact, let’s hope its where he has his first non points scoring race of 2011.

    24. So we are now reduced to watching Vettel’s progress in mopping up statistical footnotes? Exciting. I remember well enough gettig up at 6 am to watch Schumacher annihilate the field race after race, for year after year — and being forced to appreciate sheer perfection or whatever it was—-and I really don’t want to go back to those dark days.

    25. And Lewis did ’em all in his first two years in F1. Amazing!

    26. I don’t think there’s any stopping VET this year. But you never know, I suppose.

      But watch out for HAM. He’s obviously very xxxxxx off with the world at the moment – probably including himself – but especially those criticising him.

      We saw he was awesome at Silverstone before the fuel botch. I predict HAM is going to be the best driver out there from now until the end of the season, even if it is in an under par McLaren. He’s out there to prove to the everyone that they are wrong and should shut their mouths. He’s going to be very exciting to watch.

      I was never a fan, really. But he’s growing on me fast.

    27. Vettle should have won all 9 races so far. Two slight cornering errors and a team pit stop mistake gave those three events to Lewis, Jensen and Fernando. We will have to wait and see if Ferrari has really made any difference and with McLaren being such an up and down team who knows where they really stand. There is little reason to suggest that RedBull results will be any different in Germany.

    28. I hope Vettel does well and does win. Would be nice if Rosberg had a chance too, doubt it though!

    29. Even though Newey, Vettel and RBR is dominant I think this season is showing us the most exciting race we have seen ever. I didn’t see Valencia, but otherwise I have not seen a race this year, where the action was sort of over after last round of pitstops. This is tribute to Pirelli and the new rules.

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