5 Talking Points Ahead of the 2019 German Grand Prix

Mercedes head to their homeland with a commanding championship lead. Behind them, Sebastian Vettel searches for home redemption, Haas seek an answer to their 2019 woes and could the weather play a starring role in this weekend’s action? Here are the talking points ahead of the 2019 German Grand Prix!

Mercedes at home

This week marks 125 years since the first motor race, which was held from Paris to Rouen on July 22, 1894. The winning engine was a Daimler engine – the parent company of Mercedes. To celebrate the occasion, Mercedes will run a striking commemorative livery at the German Grand Prix.

It’s also a milestone weekend for Mercedes, with this marking their 200th Grand Prix appearance. Mercedes have won almost 50% of all the races which they’ve entered. That’s the highest win rate of any team in the history of the sport. They’ll be hoping for more success on home turf – something which they’ve achieved in all three German Grands Prix since the start of the V6 hybrid era.

Lewis Hamilton won last year’s race from fourteenth on the grid. Team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished as runner-up, giving Mercedes their first 1-2 finish on home soil.

Vettel’s Redemption

Up until Lap 46 of last year’s German Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel was in charge of his home Grand Prix weekend. He took pole on Saturday, lead the first half of the race and looked on track to extend his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton. But, as the heavens opened, his Ferrari slithered off track and he crashed into the barriers. It was seen as a turning point in the German’s season, as he lost the lead in the title race and didn’t regain it for the rest of the year.

Since then, Vettel has had just one victory – almost a year ago at last year’s Belgian Grand Prix – and has suffered a plethora of similarly unlucky errors and misfortunes. The most recent incident came at the British Grand Prix, where he crashed into the back of Max Verstappen.

Vettel has never won at the Hockenheimring before, though he did win the German Grand Prix when it was hosted at the Nurburgring in 2013. Can he get his season back on track with a redemptive home victory?

Weather drama?

Could the weather be a deciding factor once again in this year’s German Grand Prix? The current forecast shows rain on both Saturday and Sunday. It’s been a while since we saw rain having an impact on a competitive session. Maybe we’ll see a shakeup of the grid thanks to unpredictable weather conditions in qualifying, while thunderstorms could give a dramatic backdrop to Sunday’s race.

Even if the rain stays away, the warm temperatures expected at Hockenheim could be a deciding factor. Mercedes struggled to cool their car in the heat at the Austrian Grand Prix, helping Red Bull on their way to victory. Will the reigning champions feel the heat once again?

Haas’ woes

Haas are having a season to forget so far in 2019. Kevin Magnussen has scored 14 points, while Romain Grosjean has picked up only two. Grosjean’s tenure at the team came under the spotlight at Silverstone. A first lap collision between the Haas pair reportedly left Guenther Steiner fuming, and paddock rumours circulated that Grosjean was to be dropped and replaced by fellow Frenchman Esteban Ocon imminently. Haas denied the rumours.

In an effort to understand what is causing the American outfit’s sub-optimal race pace, Magnussen will be provided with the latest updates at the German Grand Prix, while Grosjean will continue to drive the baseline specification of the VF19, as he did at Silverstone. The team hope that a direct comparison will allow them to see the two cars’ strengths and weaknesses – that is if the pair can avoid clattering into each other this weekend.

And as if they didn’t have enough to worry about, the bizarre saga of the team’s title sponsor continues off track, with Rich Energy now being renamed Lightning Volt – though Rich Energy branding will remain on Haas’ car in Germany.

Mick Schumacher & Germany’s F1 future

Mick Schumacher will make an outing in F1 machinery at Hockenheim. He’s had a difficult debut season in Formula 2, currently sitting fourteenth in the championship with a best finish of fourth in the Austria Sprint Race. With no F2 or F3 on the support schedule, Schumacher will switch F2 machinery for his father’s F2004 Ferrari. He’ll complete demonstration laps after qualifying on Saturday and before the main event on Sunday.

But this could be Schumacher’s only F1 outing at Hockenheim. As it stands, this will be the last German Grand Prix, with no future contract agreed. Could Mick’s rise through the ranks influence the event returning in the future?

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