German Grand Prix – Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel says he wants to make amends this weekend for his catastrophic error at his home race last year.
Vettel returns to the scene of his most calamitous error in Formula 1 this weekend, at his home race in Hockenheim. Last year, while leading the race and set to build upon an increasingly strong championship assault, Vettel slid off the track in the closing stages of the race. Hitting the barriers and stuck in the gravel in front of his dismayed home fans, he climbed out of his Ferrari, furious at himself for the mistake as Lewis Hamilton went on to win the race and reclaim all the momentum in the title chase.
Since then, Vettel’s form has been sporadic with constant errors and spins generally unseen before his Hockenheim error. Heading back to the scene of the error, the German driver says he’s aiming to put it behind him: “We have got to make up for last year, especially myself and I look forward to racing in Hockenheim. The atmosphere is always phenomenal and the crowd is great. I remember a lot of German flags around the track from last year, which I really enjoyed.”
Ferrari are extremely successful at the German Grand Prix, having won the event 21 times in their history at the three circuits to have held the race: Hockenheim (in both old and new layouts), Nurburgring (both Nordschleife and the modern GP circuit) and Avus, the terrifyingly fast autobahn-based circuit near Berlin.
In 2019, Ferrari’s place in the pecking order suggests the win might not be possible at Vettel’s home venue but he says that this won’t stop him enjoying driving the track: “In terms of the track, it looks quite simple and straightforward at first sight. Especially the last part is very enjoyable but it is also very technical entering the Motodrom. There are a lot of fans there and I think that’s definitely the highlight of the track.”
“I would say that turn 1 is probably one of the most tricky corners. It is very fast and is over before you notice, so it is important to get a good feeling straight away to set you off on the right foot for the rest of the lap.”
Team boss Mattia Binotto says that no specific upgrades are being brought to the SF90 for this race, and that the event will be used for further refinement of their existing package: “For us, the German Grand Prix is first and foremost Sebastian’s home race. Therefore we really hope to do well at Hockenheim, especially after last year’s race here, when the win escaped us at the end of a weekend where our performance was definitely up to the task.”
“We are not bringing any specific updates, but studying the data from the last round in Silverstone has provided us with useful information in our quest to get a better understanding of our car.”