F1 Power Rankings: German Grand Prix

We’re two races from Formula One’s annual summer break. This year’s German Grand Prix marks the return to the Hockenheimring after a year’s absence due to alternating the race with the Nurburgring. Heading into this weekend’s race, it looks like the season is going to come down to a battle between Ferrari and Red Bull. As always, a battle at a Tilke-drome will show who has the best chance at a title right now.

#1 Fernando Alonso (Last Race #1)
Alonso may not have been able to hold on to the win after his final pit stop but there’s still no denying that Alonso is the best driver on the grid this season. The barometer for his performance is Felipe Massa and he’s absolutely demolishing him this season. He’s finished in the top five in each of the last five races, reached the podium four times over that stretch and scored points in each of the nine races. If he maintains that consistency over the final 11 races, it’ll be damn near impossible to beat him.

#2 Mark Webber (LR #4)
Webber is looking to make it back-to-back wins at the German Grand Prix: “Obviously the German GP now switches between Nürburgring and Hockenheim with this year’s taking place in Hockenheim… There are plenty of German drivers on the grid and the support for them is always massive. There’s a long, long straight around the back into the hairpin, so we have a high top speed there and it’s always important to get the last sector together due to the combination of corners in quick succession. The temperatures will be interesting as it can sometimes be a hot race, so I’m looking forward to it.”

#3 Sebastian Vettel (LR #2)
This is Seb’s home race. His hometown is just up the road from the track: “I’m looking forward to the German GP, hopefully there will be at least as many people supporting the German drivers as there were in Silverstone last weekend. Hockenheim is only half an hour away from my home town, so I have a lot of friends and family there and it’s always a special crowd to race in front of. I’ve driven on that circuit in different series and it’s always been great. The campsites near the new circuit are fun and it’s special to meet the fans there.”

#4 Kimi Raikkonen (LR #7)
Pirelli boss Paul Hembry discusses preparations for coming to a brand new circuit: “Coming to a circuit that is new to us always holds a different challenge, as we don’t have any of our own previous data to compare it with. But the progress that has been made with simulation is incredible: these days you can learn so much about how a tyre will behave on a circuit without even going there. These advanced modelling techniques illustrate just one example of how our Formula One involvement can help to improve our everyday road car product.”

#5 Romain Grosjean (LR #5)
Three-time World Drivers’ Champion Jackie Stewart thinks that Grosjean could use a driver coach: “I just said to Romain Grosjean the other day, it would be a good idea if you came up home one day for lunch so we could have a bit of chat. It is ridiculous that in Formula 1 we don’t have coaches. In tennis there are coaches and boxing, golf, skiing… everybody has one, but we don’t… Racing drivers historically have not been great listeners, but I think I might be able to help.”

#6 Lewis Hamilton (LR #3)
Does Old Louise even care anymore? Doesn’t sound like it: “Performance-wise, I still think it’s difficult to accurately predict where we stand in the competitive order – Valencia and Silverstone were certainly difficult races for us, but I don’t think they were truly representative of our pace. This year, you really need a problem-free build-up to the race if you’re going to maximise the car’s potential – and that’s exactly what we’ll be hoping for in Germany next weekend.”

#7 Nico Rosberg (LR #6)
Keke’s kid talks about riding around Hockenheim with his old man: “Hockenheim is always very special for us, and especially for me. I was born in Wiesbaden, near Hockenheim, and I have really good memories of the previous Hockenheim races. Before my Formula One career, I won quite often at this circuit, and I will never forget my father’s last DTM race in 1995. I joined him on the roof of his car driving through the Motodrom – and that was the moment when I thought to myself “How cool is that?!” and decided to become a racing driver like him.”

#8 Michael Schumacher (LR #9)
Old Seven-Time talks about the effects of racing in front of the home crowd: “People often ask me whether there is any such thing as a home advantage in such an international sport as ours and my answer is: perhaps not a home advantage, but certainly a home-race feeling. As a German driver, you naturally have a different sense of excitement when you arrive at the German Grand Prix and know that all the spectators in the grandstands are supporting you. That makes you proud, and always boosts your motivation even higher.”

#9 Jenson Button (LR #10)
Button doesn’t know how the hell he’s going to do this weekend: “Performance-wise, I still think it’s difficult to accurately predict where we stand in the competitive order – Valencia and Silverstone were certainly difficult races for us, but I don’t think they were truly representative of our pace. This year, you really need a problem-free build-up to the race if you’re going to maximise the car’s potential – and that’s exactly what we’ll be hoping for in Germany next weekend.”

#10 Felipe Massa (LR #12)
Phil Massa talks about his future at Ferrari: “I think if we keep working like that and keep improving the car and working, I don’t see a reason why I cannot be here. I feel much more comfortable, and driving in the direction that I like. I feel there is a lot more to come. This is the direction we need to keep working; to improve the situation every race and to make a different championship for myself from now until the end of the season.”

#11 Sergio Perez (LR #11)
Checo is looking forward to his first run of Hockenheim in an F1 car: “I am looking forward to what will be my first Formula One race in Hockenheim. I have good memories of the circuit from GP2 times when I won there. For us it remains important to do better in qualifying, so our Saturday performance is what we have to focus on first. Our car is quick and if we could just get everything right this time we have good chances for a nice race result.”

#12 Bruno Senna (LR #16)
Bruno is expecting a challenge from both the circuit and the weather. It’s just not as fun now without the long track where weather on the far end could be different than the stadium: “We haven’t been to Hockenheim since 2010 and I’m looking forward to driving there with a car that is capable of getting a good result. The circuit layout has a mixture of high speed and low speed sections so car set-up can be challenging, but our car is improving all the time and has been more competitive than recent results show. The weather is also looking quite variable so that should throw up some extra challenges.”

#13 Nico Hulkenberg (LR #13)
The Hulk knows that he’s not the big draw this weekend: “It’s always a bit more special and it’s nice that I only live one hour away so I don’t have to catch a flight! The fans always support the race and help produce a good atmosphere, especially in the stadium section at the end of the lap. It’s fair to say that Michael and Sebastian are the main attractions, but the fans always show their support for all the German drivers.”

#14 Paul di Resta (LR #8)
Dario’s cousin knows his way around German race tracks: “I know the track well from my days in the DTM and I am looking forward to getting out there in a Formula One car. It’s a fun circuit with some challenging corners and it’s good for overtaking, especially the slow hairpin at turn six. My favourite part of the lap is the stadium, where you can really feel the energy of the crowd. The double right hander onto the start/finish line is another special corner and it’s difficult to get it right.”

#15 Kamui Kobayashi (LR #15)
Kobayashi Maru is interested in how that the team’s untested upgrades will fare in Germany: “We are not totally sure how the updates we took to Silverstone work, as we haven’t really been able to confirm these in practice in dry conditions. Maybe we need to do some more fine-tuning on these, so it will be interesting to see how this happens in Hockenheim. I think our car performs well on all the circuits – high speed or slow speed ones – so I am not worried about our performance there. We shall just focus on trying to get our best result there.”

#16 Pastor Maldonado (LR #14)
Maldonado really likes the stadium section of the course. Well, that part of the track will close everyone up enough that he can crash into someone: “The German fans who visit Hockenheim create a good atmosphere, particularly in the final few corners with the big grandstands, so it’s a fun circuit to drive. The final sector is also challenging with lots of corners coming quickly after each other where time can be won or lost. I’m disappointed to not have scored points in the last race but our car is showing that it can compete at different circuits so I’m feeling confident heading into this weekend.”

#17 Daniel Ricciardo (LR #17)

#18 Jean-Eric Vergne (LR #18)

#19 Heikki Kovalainen (LR #19)
It sounds like Heikki almost laments the loss of the classic Hockenheim: “On track we’re back to a track that is more of a low speed circuit compared to Silverstone, but one that still has quite a lot of the lap on full throttle. It used to have one of the longest flat out sections of all F1 tracks but since that was taken out of the lap you need a car that has a balance between good traction for the low speed corners and good top speed to take advantage of the overtaking opportunities into turn six.”

#20 Vitaly Petrov (LR #20)
Vitaly talks about masks in his pre-race quotes. I’ll takes things I never needed to know for $800, Alex: “The whole circuit is good and if you pick the right spot you can see a lot of the lap, but one of the best places around the track is the stadium section. One day maybe I could put on a mask and go and see what it’s really like in the middle of the fans there! It would be good to go and hang out there but I think that if I didn’t wear a disguise I’d never come back!”

#21 Timo Glock (LR #21)
Tim O’Glock is looking forward to the his home race: “Every time this race is great for me. We saw the support the team had two weeks ago at the British Grand Prix and also the British drivers like Lewis and Jenson. With five different German drivers there is plenty for the fans back home to support. It will be a very special weekend for me, taking place just 30 minutes from my family home. I have achieved some good results in this race in the past and it is always good to have some friends and family around me to share the experience.”

#22 Charles Pic (LR #22)
Chuckie has a generic filler quote for the weekend. I think they shouldn’t have asked him about the race on the morning after a pub crawl: “I’m eager to get back in the car after the positive signs we saw with our new aero upgrade at Silverstone. It was clear that there is still plenty more we can extract from it and I hope to continue this progress at the weekend. It will be another special weekend for the team as it is Timo’s home race, which is great for him.”

#23 Pedro de la Rosa (LR #23)
Pedro thinks that a slow track will favour his slow car. I don’t think it works that way. I think they’ll still be slow: “Hockenheim is a circuit which is a little bit more favourable for us than Silverstone because it’s made up almost entirely of slow corners, except for the first one which is quick. We haven’t brought any upgrades to this track so we’ll try to get the most out of the car with the different options at our disposal.”

#24 Narain Karthikeyan (LR #24)
Narain says the smartest thing he’s said all season: “The new Hockenheim circuit is quite different to the old one, which for my liking was more exciting. Before it was quick but now it is slower and a high-downforce track, it is also quite short, not too complicated and very stop-and-go. In the last few races we have proved that our car is quick in qualifying but we haven’t yet shown it over a race distance. We’ve been working on that and in Germany we are aiming to give our main rivals a fight throughout the entire race.”

2 thoughts on “F1 Power Rankings: German Grand Prix

    • The point of the Power Rankings is to rank the hottest drivers at the moment and who can and is getting the most out of their equipment (mechanical or team failings notwithstanding). That’s why Pastor is down in the bottom-half. He’s hot and cold this year but mostly cold right now. That’s why I make the crashing joke. It’s also why Lewis and Jenson have fallen out of the top five.

      As for the bias crack, I have no idea where you’re coming from. Try arguing that Karthikeyan has shown he’s earned a place in F1 without bringing sponsorship money. Tell me what Lotus has done to not be considered a top team this year. Argue why Phil shouldn’t be climbing up the rankings. There’s no bias here. If there was Kamui would be in the top ten all the time. It’s just a quick one-liner about the drivers and their own words.

      Come back next week. I’ll be opining and analyzing the German GP and Edmonton Indy. There’ll be your bias.

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