Lewis Hamilton ate into Nico Rosberg’s lead at the top of the Formula One drivers’ championship with victory at Silverstone and will be hopeful of overhauling his teammate by winning this weekend’s German Grand Prix (Race: Sunday, 13:00 BST, live on Sky Sports F1).
Rosberg was leading the British Grand Prix before a gearbox failure saw him retire, allowing Hamilton to take the win and close to within four points of his fellow Mercedes driver. The result ended a run of three races in which Rosberg had outscored Hamilton.
Valtteri Bottas (pictured) came through from 14th on the grid to secure a superb second-place finish for Williams, showing excellent pace throughout. Daniel Ricciardo finished third – a well-chosen strategy again seeing him finish ahead of his four-time world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel (5th). McLaren’s Jenson Button split the Red Bulls in fourth.
Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) continued his unbroken points scoring record in eighth, behind Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) and ahead of the Toro Rossos of Daniel Kyvat and Jean-Eric Vergne. It was another poor weekend for Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who was eliminated following a first-lap accident.
The build-up to the German Grand Prix has been dominated by debate over the legality of the Front and Rear-Interconnected (FRIC) suspension systems used by the majority of the teams. The FIA have indicated that such systems will now be deemed illegal. McLaren have already confirmed that they intend to remove theirs for this weekend’s event.
The Hockenheimring first hosted the German Grand Prix in 1970 and has done so on 32 subsequent occasions. It currently shares hosting rights with the Nurburgring, so this weekend’s event is the first at the Hockenheimring since 2012. It is a medium-to-high downforce circuit with a good variety of corner types and decent overtaking opportunities.
Current weather forecasts suggest that it will be a hot and sunny weekend, with some cloud cover on Sunday. Pirelli have chosen their soft and supersoft compound tyres. The drivers are likely to be split between two and three-stop strategies, although the removal of the FRIC systems and the expected high temperatures could cause some to require four.
Mercedes still have a clear advantage in terms of outright pace, but two retirements (one each for Hamilton and Rosberg) in the last three races makes it difficult to recommend the team, or either of their drivers, for the race win market – particularly at the unfavourable odds currently being offered by bookmakers.
Car reliability rarely has an effect on qualifying and it is this market that currently offers better value for those seeking to back Formula One’s dominant team.
Rosberg has recently had the upper hand in qualifying, besting Hamilton in each of the last four races. Hamilton did take pole position at the Hockenheimring for McLaren back in 2008, but was out-qualified by his teammate Jenson Button in both 2010 and 2012. Rosberg has out-qualified his teammate of the time in two of his last three races at the circuit.
Having seen his championship heavily reduced, Rosberg will be determined to reassert his position as Mercedes’ number one driver at his and the team’s home Grand Prix. He is more than capable of winning the battle for pole position.
Williams have shown strong pace in recent races, underlined by Felipe Massa topping the timesheets in the two-day post-race test at Silverstone. It has, however, been his teammate Bottas who has taken best advantage. The Finn has finished on the podium in each of the last two races and has comfortably outscored Massa (73 to 30) throughout the first half of the year.
Bottas has never raced at the Hockenheimring in a Formula One car, but finished on the podium at the circuit on three occasions during his time in the lower formulae. The Finn is enjoying a very good season and with a quick car underneath him is capable of securing himself a third consecutive podium finish on Sunday.
The Hockenheimring was Hulkenberg’s local track when he was growing up and the Force India driver is therefore very much in tune with the demands of the circuit. He has finished in the points at each and every race so far this season (a feat matched only by Fernando Alonso) and looks set for a strong race this weekend.
Force India’s car was ill-suited to Silverstone, but the team are confident they will run well at the Hockenheimring. They have enjoyed good performance at other medium-speed circuits and the return of the softer tyre compounds should be of benefit to them, as their car has previously shown itself to be very kind on tyres.
Hulkenberg has finished in the top six in six of the nine races to date and can be fancied to do so for a seventh time at his home race this weekend.
There have been just two safety car periods in the eight races held at the Hockenheimring since its remodelling ahead of the 2002 German Grand Prix. There are wide run off areas and the likelihood of a safety car being required is very low. We therefore suggest backing there not to be a safety car period on Sunday.
F1 German Grand Prix Betting Tips Advice
- Back Nico Rosberg to qualify on pole position @ 2/1 with SkyBet.
- Bet on Valtteri Bottas to finish on the podium @ 15/8 with William Hill.
- Back Nico Hulkenberg to finish in the top six @ 7/4 with BetVictor.
- Back ‘No’ on the ‘Safety Car?’ market @ 5/6 with Bet365.