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Pre-Hockenheim analysis - Germans upbeat for home race 20 Jul 2012

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 6 July 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 6 July 2012 (L to R): Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Hockenheim, Germany, Thursday, 19 July 2012 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Hockenheim, Germany, Thursday, 19 July 2012 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012

Germany’s three main hopes for a home victory shared their thoughts about Hockenheim yesterday, each convinced that he has a chance of giving what will be a sizable crowd what it wants.

On current form the most likely to be able to deliver, Sebastian Vettel, has statistically never won a Grand Prix in July…

“If it doesn’t work this year, then we move it to August. Or June!” he joked. “I don’t know. Yeah, obviously it would be very special to win here, I think first of all to have the chance to race in your home country is something that’s very special, and being able to win would be incredible. We try again - but I don’t believe in a bad month or a bad date in that regard.

“I remember the first time I came here was with my father in, I think, 1992. I was five years old and we came on a Friday, it was raining like crazy, on the old track. We were waiting for the cars to come, for Michael to come, but they only did the installation lap but that was already enough because just to hear the cars, the sound, see them, see the spray, was unique. So that’s a nice memory. A couple of years later I watched again a grand prix from the main grandstand and it was very hot. I remember they sold water for 10 Deutschemarks, which was really expensive at the time and later, on when we left we found out that they had just refilled the water bottles from the tap, so that was quite a good business. After that, through Formula BMW and Formula Three, a lot of racing here. It’s not far away from where I was born, where I grew up, therefore it’s obviously special to come here.”

A multiple winner here, Michael Schumacher remains the crowd favourite despite Vettel’s successes. “I guess I remember best the first win, in 1995, when I stopped at some part of track, because I think I stalled the engine and I got towed back to the pits, which was, in a way, nice because you have lots of time to enjoy the atmosphere, all the fans, the appreciation… I mean they had to wait for such a long time, although in 1994 we already had a race-winning car, but then retired. So yeah, in ’95 a German finally won a German race.

“I guess the most difficult race we now have behind us. That was Silverstone. Hockenheim will suit our car much more. And obviously I’m a lot more optimistic. Indeed, we want to give it a good show and give the max effort that we always do but we want anything extra that can be done for all our Mercedes colleagues that we have visited yesterday and who will be here, some of them, for the race weekend, supporting us, crossing fingers for us. We’d love to do well for them and if one of us two could be on the podium, I think that will be great.”

Team mate Nico Rosberg, who finally broke his duck in China, is itching to get back on the top step of the podium too.

“I had one of my most memorable experiences in the stadium, because it was my father's last race in DTM and I sat on the roof of one of the DTM cars with him to wave goodbye to all the fans and everything, and it was absolutely ram-packed full house and the atmosphere and everything was incredible. That was one of the days when I decided wow, OK, I want to do this one day.”

Mercedes have been struggling a little since China, however. “It’s just that we haven’t maximised what we had in the last few races,” he said. “And at Silverstone the track didn’t really suit our car. So, it’s maybe not quite the right picture: I still think we have a good car and I still think if conditions suit us and we get a grip on the tyres – like at the track for example, here in Hockenheim, which should suit our car a lot better, I think we should be able to do a much better result.

“It’s very special to come here. I’ve been here so many times, testing in the winter and in the summer, testing all the time and driving in so many races. And now coming here as a Silver Arrows driver, which wasn’t really the case two years ago, it’s great. A lot of friends and family are coming and I really enjoy the track and I have high hopes of doing a top result here.”

The last time a German won at home was Schumacher with Ferrari in 2006.

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