2008 German GP preview: Home drivers

Nick Heidfeld, Silverstone, BMW, 2008, 470150

The German Grand Prix will have more home drivers competing than any other round of the championship. Five F1 drivers are German – that’s one quarter of the field!

But ironically, Germany has only one race this year where two years ago it had two because of the popularity of Michael Schumacher.

So which driver will the home crowd be cheering most strongly for this weekend? How well can the five expect to do in their home race?

Nick Heidfeld

Nick Heidfeld, BMW, Monte-Carlo, 2008, qualifying, 470313

Heidfeld has had a tough start to the year being consistently out-qualified and out-raced by his team mate.

But at Silverstone there were signs he’d turned the corner. In Q2 he was just 0.014s slower than Robert Kubica and they might have been much more closelymatched in Q3 but Kubica’s technical problem stopped us from finding out.

Heidfeld had arguably his best race of the season so far to finish second in the wet. He’d need a problem for some of the McLarens and Ferraris to win this weekend, but he looks like Germany’s best chance of ‘doing a Hamilton’.

Read more about Nick Heidfeld: Nick Heidfeld biography

Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg, Williams, Istanbul, 2008, qualifying, 470313

Rosberg has had a mixed season so far but however well he fares this weekend he must do better than his only visit to Hockenheim in F1 so far – when he spun off on the first lap two years ago.

What Rosberg needs most of all is a ‘normal’ race. In the rain at Monaco he looked all at sea and had a big crash. His error in Canada wrote off his French Grand Prix weekend. And in Britain he was stymied by technical problems before struggling in the rain.

He badly needs a normal weekend with a high Q2 or even Q3 starting position, and above all he must put one over his increasingly impressive team mate Kazuki Nakajima.

Read more about Nico Rosberg: Nico Rosberg biography

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, Istanbul, 2008, 470313

After his excellent drive in the wet at Monaco and great qualifying performance at Silverstone it was a shame to see him taken out on the first lap when he could have thrived in the trcky conditions.

Vettel has been eliminated on lap one on four occasions this year and it’s never really looked like beign his fault. At home this weekend with the increasingly rapid STR3 at his disposal another appearance in Q3 could allow him to score points in a dry race. Providing he make it past the end of lap one.

Read more about Sebastian Vettel: Sebastian Vettel biography

Timo Glock

Timo Glock, Jose Maria Lopez, GP2, Hockenheimring, 2006, 470313

Glock, like Vettel, is making his first appearance as an F1 driver in his home event. He scored an excellent win here in GP2 in 2006, snatching the lead from Jose Maria Lopez on the final lap of the sprint race (above). With not much to shout about in the first half of the season he needs to conjure up some of that magic again.

Read more about Timo Glock: Timo Glock biography

Adrian Sutil

Adrian Sutil, Force India F1 Team, Silverstone, 2008, 470313

Life is more difficult for Adrian Sutil in a Force India that is making progress (witness the number of new parts on the car last weekend, above) but slowly. He edged Giancarlo Fisichella in qualifying last weekend, though, and needs to keep doing so to prove he deserves a place in F1.

Read more about Adrian Sutil: Adrian Sutil biography

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14 comments on 2008 German GP preview: Home drivers

  1. Salty said on 15th July 2008, 13:27

    Current forecasts predict a good chance of showers on Saturday and Sunday at Hockenheimring. Hopefully this will shuffle the pack again and we can see a drivers race rather than an engineers.

    Would be good to see Heidfeld build on his sterling performance at the Silverstone lido, but also worth noting that Kubica will have some very strong support this weekend, this being the 2nd closest circuit for his legions of fans. Expect to see him usurp Heidfeld and wrest the BMW crown back.

    Not expecting too much from mssrs Rosberg and Glock, but if does prove to be wet, could see Vettel and even Sutil pushing for points.

    Mercedes McLaren will also be pushing for a good result at their ‘other’ home grand prix and am sure chubby Norbert and his team will be ensuring the engines are at least as competitive as the Furri’s this weekend.

    Right – off to do my rain dance. Now where did I put those Speedos?

  2. I would have imagined that Heidfeld would receive more support from German fans than any of the others, as he as a German driver who races with a German team in BMW.
    In current form, he’s the best German hope by far, followed by Glock and Vettel. Rosberg is a disappointment, and has been all season. Force India are too slow for Sutil to have an impact.

  3. SamS said on 15th July 2008, 14:31

    I am torn between Rosberg and Vettel. I rate both, and both have had some really bad luck.

    On the other hand I genuinely believe that Glock’s seat at Toyota could be filled by some one with more potential, Davidson for example.

    If Salty’s comment on rain is true then it would be good to see if the Ferraris will fair any better, and Massa can complete a race in the points rather than driving like an amature!!

    Love the german grand prix even though the great straights have gone.

  4. I’d go with Heidfeld, massively underrated and hopefully back on form if Silverstone is anything to go by. Vettel has been looking handy all season, so I’ll look out for him too.

    As for the track, what a waste of trees.

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th July 2008, 15:29

    The five day forecasts I’ve seen do show a chance of rain developing over the Grand Prix weekend.

    I’ll post updates on the weather on the forum here:

    2008 German Grand Prix weather watch

  6. I laughed out loud at “chubby Norbert” – thanks, Salty. :D

  7. TommyB said on 15th July 2008, 15:45

    I heard a lot of the German fans are supporting Vettel as they see him as the next Schumacher.

    Heidfeld obviously has the best chance of winning his home grand prix and with a german driver in a german car I’m sure the fans would be happy to see him win

  8. Wesley said on 15th July 2008, 20:19

    Heidfeld has the most points of the German drivers and the best chance to win if it rains.I have a good feeling about his chances,hopefully he is still fired up from his last race.I am growing a beard just to show my support -even if it means Keith won’t like me anymore.

  9. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th July 2008, 20:41

    LOL Wesley!

  10. Sebastian said on 15th July 2008, 20:53

    The prospect of Heidfeldt raising his game ever so slightly makes me tingle. Five way battle for the WDC, anyone?

  11. Wesley said on 15th July 2008, 21:12

    I am right there with you Sebastian !

  12. Gman said on 15th July 2008, 23:38

    I agree with Jack on Rosberg being a disappointment and with SamS on other drivers being better than Glock- he hasen’t been terrible, but he also hasen’t given me anything exceptional either.

    I’d really like for Quick Nick to get his first win at home, it would be a well-deserved win for sure. And indeed it will be fun to see so many Poles in Germany to root on their new hero.

  13. Terry Fabulous said on 15th July 2008, 23:40

    Is anyone else consistently surprised that Nico Rosberg is German. I still think of him as a Fin!

    Vettel has had the ultimate Playstation season. Each race has either seen him shine, or be eliminated within about three corners!!

  14. the limit said on 16th July 2008, 3:58

    Nick Heidfeld for sure. He has the experience, and the best alround package of any of his German counterparts.
    If the race runs under normal conditions on Sunday, and Heidfeld keeps his nose clean, he will run the best out of all the German drivers.
    Timo Glock still has plenty of time to develop, as does Vettel. Although I have never doubted Nico Rosberg’s talent, his performance so far, and that of Williams as a whole, has been mightily disappointing.

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