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Paddock Postcard from Hockenheim 22 Jul 2012

Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Hockenheim, Germany, Thursday, 19 July 2012 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Hockenheim, Germany, Thursday, 19 July 2012 Mika Hakkinen (FIN).
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, 21 July 2012 Race winner Johnny Cecotto (VEN) Barwa Addax Team. GP2 Series, Rd8, Hockenheim, Germany, 20-22 July 2012.

With the German Grand Prix alternating between Hockenheim and the Nurburgring, it’s been almost two years since the paddock visited the picturesque Rhine valley and everyone has been making the most of the change of scene. This year also marks Hockenheim’s 80th anniversary, so it’s fitting that the Formula One community are in attendance to celebrate.

For the very first time the Hockenheimring Main Street will be turned into an ‘Artists’ Walkway’ and selected artists from different fields and genres will be showcasing their many and varied talents to the Hockenheim visitors.

To whet everyone’s appetites, the circuit also released some pretty staggering facts about expected food consumption during the Grand Prix weekend. Hungry fans will consume over 5 tonnes of sausages, 6,000 cutlets, 10,000 meatballs and 80,000 bread rolls. The mustard and ketchup consumed could fill 10 bathtubs, while more than 50,000 soft drinks and 50,000 cans of beer will be drunk. F1 fans clearly have very healthy appetites!

Before the on-track action began, there were some on-pitch exploits to thrill the fans. A ‘Kick for Kids’ charity football match was played at Frankfurt’s Commerzbank Arena on Thursday. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher and Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov formed part of drivers’ team, who triumphed four goals to two over their ‘all-star’ rivals.

Several familiar faces from the world of German motorsport visited the paddock, among them former F1 racer Hans Stuck and Volkswagen Motorsport boss Jost Capito. Allan McNish was back doing television work with Johnny Herbert at Sky, while Derek Warwick was once again the driver steward. Elsewhere, Porsche celebrated 20 years of their Supercup series. Former world champion Mika Hakkinen was also in attendance.

On track, a brilliant gamble paid off for Venezuelan Johnny Cecotto Jnr who opted to start the GP2 feature race on Saturday on slicks as everyone else bar Stephane Richelmi started on wets. The Barwa Addax star ran out an easy winner ahead of Racing Engineering’s Fabio Leimer and Trident’s Richelmi. Cecotto’s father Johnny, the motorcycle and former F1 star, was present to watch his son at work.

Felipe Nasr brought DAMS fourth place, unable to resist Richelmi’s newer tyres late in the race, with Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde, Racing Technology’s Nigel Melker, the early leader, and Arden’s Luiz Razia filling the next places.

Britain’s James Calado qualified second but dropped to an 11th place start after a 10-place grid penalty from his collision with Carlin’s Max Chilton at Silverstone. He took eighth and thus started Sunday’s sprint race from pole.

Calado used that P1 grid position to good effect, taking a lights-to-flag victory over Van der Garde by just under eight seconds, with Nasr a distant third. It was Calado’s second win of the season.

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