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F1 2016: German GP Preview – Hockenheimring Returns!

The last time the F1 paddock visited Germany’s Hockenheimring was in 2014. Back then Mercedes’ dominance was just getting into its stride and Sebastian Vettel was still a Red Bull driver.

Given the amount of things that have changed it feels impossible that the race around the Hockenheimring was just two years ago. In 2016 Lewis Hamilton is a triple world champion, Sebastian Vettel has settled into life as a Ferrari driver, and there was no American team on the grid.

What remains unchanged is the mystic and attraction of the Hockenheimring.  They will all be fighting it out on a German circuit that varies quite a bit from what was seen two weeks ago in Hungary. The layout includes just two high speed corners as the rest of the lap is comprised of medium speed corners. This requires stability under braking and conversely good traction out of the slower speed corners.

Overtaking here is easier than at the Hungaroring but Red Bull and Ferrari are unlikely to have enough to challenge Mercedes. For Red Bull the fact that the German circuit is very much power limited will have a big impact on their pace. However, expect to see Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen loitering near the top few positions and likely giving the Ferrari’s a tough fight.

HockenheimringThe Italian team have been thrown a bit of curveball with the departure of tech chief James Allison. It’s never a good sign when one of the head honchos leaves mid-way through the season but it is likely that Allison did not in order to spend time with his young children. The immediate impact on Ferrari won’t be too significant. They still have scheduled updates to fit to the 2016 car throughout the season as they shift focus to their 2017 challenger.

In Germany the cooler weather may once again be Ferrari’s foe. Throughout the season the team has consistently struggled with maintaining optimum tyre temps in cooler conditions.

The run down to turn one tightens quite quickly and it remains to be seen how hard the two Merc boys will fight for dominance when the light goes out. You can’t help feeling that if Rosberg is beaten by Hamilton here it may be championship over for the German.

About Natalie Le Clue

Natalie Le Clue is an F1 aficionado of the most dedicated vein. And, true to form for any F1-enamoured junkie, she readily admits to crying the first time she saw a F1 car, calling it an ‘overwhelming moment’. Natalie has won the 2010 gSport Woman In Media award, the 2015 Woman In Media Print award, and has been named as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in South African Sport by the Department of Sport and Recreation. Natalie is currently serving as SAfm's F1 correspondent. Follow Natalie on Twitter @nlc27

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2017 Spanish GP Broadcast Times

CDTBSTGMT+2Local
Free Practice 1Thursday 03:00Thursday 09:00Thursday 10:00Thursday 10:00
Free Practice 2Thursday 07:00Thursday 13:00Thursday 14:00Thursday 14:00
Free Practice 3Saturday 04:00Saturday 10:00Saturday 11:00Saturday 11:00
QualifyingSaturday 07:00Saturday 13:00Saturday 14:00Saturday 14:00
RaceSunday 07:00Sunday 13:00Sunday 14:00Sunday 14:00

2017 Drivers Championship

Pos.DriverPoints
1 Sebastian Vettel104
2 Lewis Hamilton98
3 Valtteri Bottas63
4 Kimi Raikkonen49
5 Daniel Ricciardo37
> Full Championship Table

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