A lap of Hockenheim with Hondas Alex Wurz 16 Jul 2008
Hockenheim may have been absent from the calendar since 2006, but with a recent test session under his belt, Hondas reserve driver Alexander Wurz has been thoroughly reacquainted with the German circuit. Here he talks us through a lap of the famous track ahead of this weekends race
"The most memorable thing about Hockenheim is the stadium section because the huge grandstands create an amazing atmosphere. There are thousands of people, all making a lot of noise and that sounds pretty cool when you're on the drivers' parade. As for the circuit, in my view it has become just another racetrack since it was re-designed in 2002, but it's still quite challenging.
"You arrive at Turn One in sixth gear, at just over 270km/h (168mph). You brake only for a very short period, downshift one gear and flick the car towards the apex. You need to have very good turn-in here, otherwise you'll understeer wide at the exit and lose time down the following straight.
"Turn Two is a strange corner because it's slippery and bumpy under braking. You have to force yourself to brake early so that you can get on the power early at the exit, which is important because the longest straight on the lap comes next. As you're getting on the power, the car is loaded up with lateral Gs and you have to feed in the power progressively to avoid too much wheelspin.
"We reach a top speed of 310km/h (193mph) on the next straight, before braking for the hairpin. It's a very slow corner, first gear at 60km/h (37mph), and is the best overtaking spot on the lap. There's lots of run-off so you can try some really creative moves if you need to. It's important to get good traction at the exit because you accelerate up to sixth gear before to Turn Seven, which is easy flat, and you arrive at the next left-hander at 280km/h (174mph).
"The car slides through these two lefts and it's easy to miss your apex. You accelerate all the way through the next corner, a right-hander, although you might lift a tiny bit at the entry to get the front end turned in. By the exit you're in fifth gear and heading back towards the stadium.
"Turn 12 is the most challenging corner on the lap. It's fast, 270km/h (168mph) at the entry, and bumpy, and the track narrows at the exit, so you have to be very precise with your line. You need to use the exit kerb to be fast, but you mustn't go wider than that because the Astroturf on the outside is slippery and you can lose a lot of time.
"A banked second gear left-hander comes next and the gradient helps you to carry a lot of speed at the apex. However, the gradient flattens out while the car is still loaded up at the exit, so you have to be prepared for some oversteer. A left-right flick follows, after which there's a compression that helps you get the car turned into the last couple of right-handers. You have to open up the steering slightly between these corners, but they are more like one double-apex corner than two separate ones. Then it's important to get a good exit in order to carry as much speed over the start-finish line."