|6. NICO ROSBERG – MERCEDES (165 PTS – CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER)|
|Last 5 Races: 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 1st, DNF||Best At Hockenheim: 8th (2010)|
When it comes to bad luck, tt’s a overused sporting cliché that things “even themselves out” over the course of a season but Nico Rosberg may be starting to believe it. The German’s outstanding consistency and impeccable finishing record had helped him steal a march over Lewis Hamilton but any comfort zone disappeared when his gearbox gave up at Silverstone. With just a four point lead, Nico must now go on the attack and beat his teammate in a straight fight and after outqualifying him in the last four races, he has every reason to believe he can.
|44. LEWIS HAMILTON – MERCEDES (161 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 4 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 1st, 2nd, DNF, 2nd, 1st||Best at Hockenheim: Winner (2008)|
The British Grand Prix saw the lowest of lows followed by the highest of highs for Lewis Hamilton. The home favourite was distraught when his tactical slip-up cost him pole position on the Saturday but an aggressive start and a stroke of misfortune for his teammate drastically changed his mood on the Sunday. Roles are reversed this time with Nico enjoying home field advantage but Lewis will start as slight favourite for victory, one that would give him the championship lead for the first time all season.
|3. DANIEL RICCIARDO – RED BULL RACING RENAULT (98 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 67 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 3rd, 3rd, 1st, 8th, 3rd||Best at Hockenheim: 13th (2012)|
Daniel Ricciardo was another driver to horribly misjudge the conditions during qualifying at Silverstone but, much like Lewis Hamilton, the Australian atoned on race day. Although it wasn’t initially the plan, Ricciardo made a one-stop strategy work to hold off Jenson Button for the final podium position. Daniel now has four podiums in his last five races and will surely fancy his chances of making it five out of six. His main worry may be the long back straight which could expose the Red Bull’s lack of straight-line speed.
|14. FERNANDO ALONSO – FERRARI (87 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 78 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 6th, 4th, 6th, 5th, 6th||Best at Hockenheim: Winner (2010, 2012)|
Even when the odds are against him, Fernando Alonso never gives up and Silverstone was another graphic demonstration. Ferrari’s strategical blunder left him near the back of the grid but the Spaniard drove brilliantly to storm through for another top six finish. His battle with Sebastian Vettel (right) was one of the highlights of the season and Alonso will hope Hockenheim provides some a personal bright spot for Ferrari. He arrives on a hat-trick of sorts having won the last two races here but a third would require something of a miracle.
|77. VALTTERI BOTTAS – WILLIAMS MERCEDES (73 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 92 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 5th, DNF, 7th, 3rd, 2nd||Best at Hockenheim: Debut|
The floodgates have indeed opened for Valtteri Bottas who followed up his first podium in Austria with a second at Silverstone. The second step on the rostrum would have felt like a pipe dream after qualifying when Bottas joined the high-profile list of Q1 casualties but an aggressive first stint, including some tremendous overtakes, brought him right into the hunt. Valtteri will be hoping that his sequence of results continues into Hockenheim but even in his heart of hearts, he will be mindful that Mercedes remain a class apart and a podium is his best bet.
| 1. SEBASTIAN VETTEL – RED BULL RACING RENAULT (70 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 95 PTS)
|Last 5 Races: 4th, DNF, 3rd, DNF, 5th||Best at Hockenheim: 3rd (2010)|
Twelve months ago, Sebastian Vettel ended his wait for a victory on home soil but the four-time champion won’t be relishing his latest homecoming. Although he won his thrilling duel with Fernando Alonso, Sebastian was only rewarded with fifth and had to watch his teammate taste the champagne once again up on the podium. With 95 points seperating him from compatriot Nico Rosberg, Vettel has surely surrendered his world crown already but the 28 point gap to Ricciardo is something he will be keen to make some serious inroads into.
|27. NICO HULKENBERG – FORCE INDIA MERCEDES (63 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 102 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 10th, 5th, 5th, 9th, 8th||Best at Hockenheim: 9th (2012)|
Germany isn’t exactly short of contenders for a victory or a podium finish but Nico Hulkenberg could well be the dark horse. Following Nico Rosberg’s retirement at Silverstone, Hulkenberg is now one of only two drivers to have scored at every race and with Force India confident that they will be affected less than their rivals by the removal of FRIC (front and rear interconnected) suspension, an improvement on the eighth-place of Silverstone will be the least he expects.
|22. JENSON BUTTON – McLAREN MERCEDES (55 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 110 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 11th, 6th, 4th, 11th, 4th||Best at Hockenheim: 2nd (2004, 2012)|
With speculation over his Formula One future building in the run-up to his home Grand Prix, Jenson Button delivered a timely answer to any of his critics with a fine performance at Silverstone. The McLaren man proved once again how impressive he is on slicks with rain falling by qualifying third and came within a lap of breaking his Silverstone podium jinx in the race. Over his fourteen year career in F1, Jenson has almost always gone well at Hockenheim with his drive to second in 2004 ranking among his very best and he could figure in the podium hunt again this year.
|20. KEVIN MAGNUSSEN – McLAREN MERCEDES (35 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 130 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 12th, 10th, 9th, 7th, 7th||Best at Hockenheim: Debut|
Kevin Magnussen’s rookie season is firmly back on track with Silverstone seeing his fourth points finish in succession. The Dane had hoped to finish a little higher than seventh having qualified on the third row and risen as high as third in the early stages but admitted afterwards that he simply didn’t have the pace to keep Vettel’s Red Bull or Alonso’s Ferrari behind him. A year in German F3 means Magnussen won’t need any time familiarising himself with Hockenheim and with Hockenheim likely to favour McLaren more than the high-speed Silverstone, expect Kevin to be competitive.
|19. FELIPE MASSA – WILLIAMS MERCEDES (30 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 135 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 13th, 7th, 12th, 4th, DNF||Best at Hockenheim: 2nd (2006, 2010)|
The British Grand Prix was a special occasion for Felipe Massa who marked his 200th Grand Prix but the weekend couldn’t have panned out worse for the Brazilian. Williams’ qualifying calamity left him deep on the grid and when Kimi Raikkonen crashed on lap one, Felipe was unable to avoid a race-ending collision. Hockenheim provides a chance for Massa to put the disaster of Silverstone behind him as well as a chance to ensure people remember his visits here for more than just a controversial concession in 2010.
|11. SERGIO PEREZ – FORCE INDIA MERCEDES (28 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 137 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 9th, DNF, 11th, 6th, 11th||Best at Hockenheim: 6th (2012)|
Sergio Perez’s British Grand Prix never really recovered from the moment he was tapped into a spin by Jean-Eric Vergne at the start. The Mexican effectively one-stopped from there but with many others opting for a similar strategy, he was unable to make it into the points. Before FRIC was taking out of the equation, Perez was expecting Hockenheim to play to Force India’s strengths more than Silverstone did so with the controversial system no longer in use, Sergio starts the weekend with high hopes.
|7. KIMI RAIKKONEN – FERRARI (19 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 146 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 7th, 12th, 10th, 10th, DNF||Best at Hockenheim: 3rd (2006, 2012)|
Kimi Raikkonen’s nightmare 2014 campaign hit a new low at Silverstone with Ferrari’s failure to deal with the changable weather in qualifying putting him at the rear of the grid, right in the firing line for potential crashes. In fairness, the first lap incident was actually Kimi’s own making but a higher starting spot would reduce any risk of a repeat in Germany. Unfortunately for the Finn, his record at Hockenheim is awful with bad luck following him every time he visits. It took him six attempts to even finish a race here with three of the five DNFs coming when victory was possible, if not probable.
|25. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE – STR RENAULT (9 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 156 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, DNF, 8th, DNF, 10th||Best at Hockenheim: 14th (2012)|
Jean-Eric Vergne trailed his teammate at the finish of the British Grand Prix but the Frenchman actually drove exceptionally well to salvage a point from the weekend. Vergne was involved in a first-corner collision with Sergio Perez which put him at the back of the grid for the restart but a one-stop strategy and aggressive overtaking brought him back into play. Jean-Eric commented himself that the drive had boosted his confidence and he now has a chance in Germany to show that added confidence will bring.
|8. ROMAIN GROSJEAN – LOTUS RENAULT (8 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 157 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 8th, 8th, DNF, 14th, 12th||Best at Hockenheim: 18th (2012)|
When Formula One returned to Europe in the spring, Lotus were threatening a revival but the performances since suggest Romain Grosjean will be spending the rest of his season mired in the midfield. To be fair, when the biggest headline of your weekend is the size of the wheel rims you’re running in the post-race test, you know you haven’t had a great weekend. The shorter, sharper Hockenheim should close the field up at least and Grosjean is still driving well enough to take advantage of any opportunity that comes his way. A wet race could provide such an opportunity.
|26. DANIIL KVYAT – STR RENAULT (6 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 159 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 14th, DNF, DNF, DNF, 9th||Best at Hockenheim: Debut|
Toro Rosso were one of the teams which underestimated the grip levels of the Silverstone circuit in Q3, preventing Danill Kvyat from qualifying even higher than the ninth place he ended up in. The Russian rookie put aside any disappointment by driving another race of impressive maturity, not to mention skill, to score his first points since China. After many visits in the junior categories, Kvyat has no shortage of Hockenheim experience and another points finish must surely be the target.
|17. JULES BIANCHI – MARUSSIA FERRARI (2 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 163 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 18th, 9th, DNF, 15th, 14th||Best at Hockenheim: Debut|
The unpredictable weather had a little to do with it but Jules Bianchi’s twelfth place on the grid was nothing short of sensational. The race may not have hit the same heights but the Frenchman’s reputation was enhanced still further when he tested for Ferrari in place of Kimi Raikkonen after the Grand Prix. Jules’ focus returns to Marussia matters for Hockenheim and amid suggestions that Marussia were particularly indebted to the FRIC suspension system, it will be interesting to see how competitive the MR03 still is. In Bianchi’s hands, it may still be capable of a giantkilling.
|99. ADRIAN SUTIL – SAUBER FERRARI (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 165 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 17th, DNF, 13th, 13th, 13th||Best at Hockenheim: 15th (2008)|
With the halfway point in the 2014 season upon us this weekend, Sauber are still searching for their first championship point, not the headline Adrian Sutil wanted to have hanging over his head coming into his home Grand Prix. After rumours that Sauber may yet keep FRIC on their car for the weekend, the system has been removed from the C33 and Sutil will be praying for an improved showing in its absence. You still get the feeling that points are highly unlikely though, unless the forecast for rain on Sunday proves correct.
|9. MARCUS ERICSSON – CATERHAM RENAULT (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 165 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 20th, 11th, DNF, 18th, DNF||Best at Hockenheim: Debut|
The change in ownership didn’t bring a change in fortunes for Caterham with neither driver making it inside the 107% time at Silverstone although the weather can be blamed for part of that. Marcus Ericsson didn’t make it very far in the race either with suspension problems halting him early on but the team are hopeful of improving as the season carries on. Ericsson’s last GP2 victory came on German soil but with the venue switching to Hockenheim, his Nurburgring success last year will be of little benefit to him.
|13. PASTOR MALDONADO – LOTUS RENAULT (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 165 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 15th, DNS, DNF, 12th, 17th||Best at Hockenheim: 15th (2012)|
Pastor Maldonado just can’t seem to get through a Grand Prix weekend incident-free this year with Silverstone bringing yet more drama. First, he was thrown out of qualifying for after running out of fuel on track before a collision with Esteban Gutierrez almost turned his Lotus upside down. The Venezuelan will certainly be hoping his fortunes take a turn in Germany with his points tally still blank but the E22 still doesn’t look competitive enough for such a result to be likely.
|21. ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ – SAUBER FERRARI (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 165 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 16th, DNF, 14th, 19th, DNF||Best at Hockenheim: Debut|
Another Grand Prix comes along and yet again Esteban Gutierrez arrives with one arm effectively tied behind his back, although he has no-one to blame but himself. The Mexican was involved in another collision with Pastor Maldonado but unlike in Bahrain, the stewards laid the blame at his door and handed him a three-place grid penalty for Hockenheim. With that punishment hanging over his head, Gutierrez is unlikely to start to far away from the back of the grid and another Sunday of toil lies ahead for him.
|4. MAX CHILTON – MARUSSIA FERRARI (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 165 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 19th, 14th, DNF, 17th, 16th||Best at Hockenheim: Debut|
Much like his teammate Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton saw the opportunity provided by the unpredictable weather in qualifying at Silverstone and grabbed it with both hands. The unexpected consequence of his lofty grid slot was that Max found himself in harm’s way when Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari sent debris flying across the track. Chilton survived to bring his Marussia home in sixteenth but he will be hoping for a much quieter time in Hockenheim. Unfortunately, that probably means a return to a more familiar grid position.
|10. KAMUI KOBAYASHI – CATERHAM RENAULT (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 165 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 13th, DNF, 16th, 15th||Best at Hockenheim: 4th (2012)|
If you had offered Kamui Kobayashi a result which saw him split the Marussias prior to Silverstone, he may well have taken it but the CT05 remained some way off the pace of its tail-end rival. Kobayashi did claim the scalp of Max Chilton in the race but the fact the Briton effectively lost a lap due to first lap damage and drive through penalties explained that result. Kamui’s last appearance in Hockenheim brought one of the best results of his career but unfortunately his 2014 German Grand Prix looks likely to rank a lot lower down the list.