By Stephen Williams
Written in association with Missed Apex Podcast. Listen in the player below the article.
German Grand Prix Preview
Lewis Hamilton snatched the championship lead after a controlled drive in Hungary. It is the first time that he has lead his teammate Nico Rosberg in the standings this year. Hamilton's bad luck and poor reliability in the first four races of the season left the Brit with a forty three point deficit to the German. Incredibly, as we enter round twelve of the season, Hamilton has turned things around, and now has a six point lead and five wins in the last six races.
News broke earlier in the week that Ferrari's technical director, James Allison, would be leaving the team after the tragic, and sudden death of his wife earlier in the year. He has returned to England in order to spend more time with his family. His place has been filled by long serving Ferrari man, Mattia Binotto. It does question how Ferrari will cope having lost such a crucial member of the team, firstly towards the end of the current season, and more importantly, next season, when there is a greater emphasis on aerodynamics.
Ferrari's position of second in the constructor's championship looks increasingly under threat from Red Bull. The gap is now down to just one point. Daniel Ricciardo returned to the podium to consolidate his third place in the Driver's Championship. Both he and Max Verstappen have been strong this year, and will surely be confident of another strong showing in Germany.
Valtteri Bottas took second place in the 2014 German Grand Prix, holding off Lewis Hamilton for a number of laps towards the end of the race. The long straight may see Williams improve on recent performances, and they may be able to challenge at the front of the grid once again. Force India, who also have Mercedes power, are pessimistic going into the Grand Prix, but are likely to be able to challenge for points.
McLaren recently claimed that their chassis was just as strong as the Ferrari's. If this is true, then it bodes well for the remainder of the season, and next. Toro Rosso are just ahead of McLaren, largely due to the performances of Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard has been very strong this year and was unlucky that Red Bull chose to promote Max Verstappen over him. Sainz will need to keep up his form if Toro Rosso are to stay ahead of the McLaren in the remaining races.
Top 5 moments
5. Hakkinen's tyre blows out
In 1999, Mika Hakkinen looked on course for a good haul of points to help his championship battle with Michael Schumacher. Unfortunately, a spectacular tyre blow out at over two hundred miles per hour, left him spinning into the gravel trap and out of the race.
4. Piquet attacks Salazar
Formula One drivers are used to fighting on track with their rivals, but Nelson Piquet took the phrase rather literally. A collision between Piquet and Salazar resulted in a quick sparring session. Piquet pushed, punched and kicked Salazar, as he demonstrated his anger at being taken out of the race.
3. Burti launches over Schumacher
Michael Schumacher's slow start in 2001 caught out Luciano Burti, who came across the Ferrari driver and was unable to avoid a crash. He drove straight into the back of Schumacher and launched his Prost through the air, as both drivers retired at the first corner.
2. Barrichello wins from 18th
The race in 2000 was just incredible. Schumacher was taken out on the first lap, a spectator ran onto the track, there was heavy rain and eventually Rubens Barrichello took his first Grand Prix victory, despite starting just eighteenth on the grid.
1."Fernando is faster than you"
Felipe Massa looked very competitive in a race for the first time since his accident at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix. He looked set for the win, but his race engineer Rob Smedley came on the radio instructing the Brazilian that "Fernando is faster than you". It was an incredibly controversial race, as Alonso went on to take the win, but would later miss out on the Driver's Championship to Sebastian Vettel.
German GP stats
First Grand Prix - 2002 (Revised layout)
Most wins - Schumacher x4
Lap record - Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren Mercedes, 2004 - 1:13:780
No. of laps - 67
Tyres available - Super soft, soft, medium
2014 winner - Nico Rosberg
2014 pole time -Nico Rosberg - 1:16:540
What to expect this weekend?
Mercedes are expected to dominate once again. In Hungary, Red Bull were expected to provide a challenge, but when the race panned out, they were left fighting the Ferraris. Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have experience of winning in Germany. In 2008, Hamilton feared a pit stop call had robbed him of the win, but he fought back magnificently to steal the win from Nelson Piquet Jr in the dying stages. Rosberg's win in 2014, appeared more straight forward, winning from pole after Hamilton was left to start at the back of the field after a brake failure in qualifying.
Overtaking at the Hockenheimring is made possible by the long straight leading into the hairpin at turn six. The drag reduction system enabled on this straight, also helps the chance of an overtake. In 2014, fighting his way through the field, Lewis Hamilton overtook both Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen at the same time.
Will Hamilton have the edge over Rosberg again?