Schumacher, Stuck, Mass, and more 25 Jul 2006
A history of German success in the German Grand Prix
Last year the German Grand Prix was dominated by Fernando Alonso, with local hero Michael Schumacher a distant fifth for Ferrari. This season, however, it is Schumacher who arrives at Hockenheim very much in the ascendancy. As his fans contemplate the prospect of a third successive win for the former champion, we look back at how he and other German drivers have fared in their home race over the years
In total, 38 Germans have raced on home soil - but the most successful by far has been Schumacher. He has competed in 13 races at Hockenheim and although he did retire from three - in 1994, 2000 and 2001 - he has otherwise never failed to finish in the points. Even in 1992, during his debut season, the German took a third place, whilst a year later in 1993, he finished second behind Williams Alain Prost.
In 1995, Schumacher - then driving for Benetton - became the first German to win the German Grand Prix. He qualified second at Hockenheim, but was promptly handed the lead when pole-sitter Damon Hill crashed his Williams on the first corner of the second lap. Schumacher maintained his advantage until the chequered flag and although celebrations were hampered when he stalled his car - forcing him to hitch a ride to the podium - the race remains a high point of the seven-time world champions career. Not one to rest on his laurels, after this inaugural home victory, Schumacher has since won the German Grand Prix on a further two occasions, in 2002 and 2004. Both times he was driving for Ferrari and both times he won from pole position.
The only other German driver to have taken victory in his home race is Michael Schumachers younger brother Ralf, in 2001. From second on the grid, he trailed Juan Pablo Montoya, his team mate at the time at Williams, for over half the race. However when the Colombians engine failed on lap 24, Schumacher took the lead and maintained it to the finish line.
But even before the Schumacher dynasty, German drivers had built up a rich history of success driving on home soil. From the very first German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring in 1951, through to the present day, German drivers have achieved podium places, fastest laps - as well as some noble failures - in front of their compatriots.
One of the first to thrill his home crowd was Karl Kling back in 1954. A native of Giessen in East Germany, Kling competed for German manufacturers Mercedes-Benz and although it was team mate Juan Manuel Fangio who won the race, it was Klings impressive drive that caught the eye. From 20th on the grid, he stormed through the field to finish fourth, also setting the fastest lap of the race.
In 1961, Wolfgang von Trips went one step further than Kling and scored the first podium place for a German in his home Grand Prix. Driving for Ferrari at the Nurburgring circuit, Trips moved up from fifth on the grid to claim second place behind Lotus driver Stirling Moss.
It was 15 years before the next German home podium, when Jochen Mass finished third in 1976. The native of Cologne was beaten by McLaren team mate James Hunt and the second-placed Tyrrell of Jody Scheckter. Just a year later in 1977, another German, Hans Joachim Stuck, came home third for Brabham.
In recent years - Schumacher brothers aside - the only German to score a podium in his home race has been Heinz-Harald Frentzen in 1999. He finished third behind the Ferraris of Eddie Irvine and Mika Salo, the latter standing in for Michael Schumacher whilst the German recovered from a broken leg after his crash at Silverstone earlier in the year.
This weekend, it is Schumacher senior who once again leads his nations hopes of a home triumph at Hockenheim. But with Ralf Schumachers Toyota team also very much on the up, dont rule out another first - two German drivers on the podium in their home race?