The Formula 1 fraternity has made the short hop straight from Budapest to Hockenheim for the 12th round of the season, the final event before the four-week summer break.
The German Grand Prix was absent from the 2015 calendar due to contractual issues between Hockenheim and Nürburgring but the former will play host to the 2016 event this weekend, albeit with its future on the Formula 1 calendar still unclear.
Lewis Hamilton arrives in Germany as the championship leader for the first time in 2016, having edged past Nico Rosberg with victory in Hungary, his fifth triumph from the last six races.
Hockenheim first hosted the German Grand Prix in 1970 and in the aftermath of Niki Lauda’s accident at the Nürburgring, the circuit returned to the calendar in 1977, with the track renowned for its high-speed nature. Drivers would negotiate two long straights, lined by forests and punctuated by three chicanes, prior to a stadium section, which led to a tricky balance between downforce and high speed. For 2002, the circuit was neutered, with the long straights given back to nature and new sections created, in order to provide additional overtaking and action. Hockenheim has only hosted Formula 1 biannually since 2006 but the track still remains a challenge, with a few high speed sections and off-camber corners.
“After the start-finish line, the first corner is the most exciting one,” says Haas’ Romain Grosjean.
“It’s a very high-speed, right-hand side corner. Normally you brake just a little bit, just one gear downshift, and then you’re on a straight line.
“Turn 2 has tricky braking and certainly very tricky throttle application. You’re turning from right to left to go on the main straight. You really want to go on the power as early as you can to get a good straight line. Big braking for the hairpin next.
“Coming back to the Mercedes corner, a right-hand side corner flat out, then braking to the 110 degree left-hand side corner. Again, there’s a challenging throttle application there as you’re turning right straight after, just about flat. Then entering the stadium, there’s a bit of braking to the right-hand side, very high-speed corner. The Sachskurve is a very high-banked corner, left hairpin.
“It’s quite open, though, with a few lines through it. Then you go to the last couple of corners – they’re quite famous. You try to carry as much speed as you can to the first one, and go as flat as you can for the second one to get a good lap time.”
Hamilton heads to Hockenheim with a slender six-point lead over Rosberg following his Hungaroring triumph, with both Mercedes drivers significantly clear of a battle for third between the Red Bull and Ferrari drivers.
Mercedes has won 16 of the last 17 races and will no doubt be eager to taste victory at its home track, as Rosberg did two years ago.
Hamilton triumphed at Hockenheim while racing for McLaren in 2008 while Fernando Alonso is the only other active driver to have won at the circuit, in 2005, 2010 and 2012 respectively.
Pirelli has nominated the Super Soft, Soft and Medium compounds this weekend while Double World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi will act as the driver steward.
There will be two DRS zones, each with their own detection point, between Turns 1 and 2 and between Turns 4 and 6 respectively.
Timetable (GMT +2):
Friday 29 July
- Practice One: 10:00 – 11:30
- Practice Two: 14:00 – 15:30
Saturday 30 July
- Practice Three: 11:00 – 12:00
- Qualifying: 14:00 (60 minutes)
Sunday 31 July
- Race: 14:00 (67 laps or two hours)