F1 German GP Preview: Hamilton in attack mode!
Ian Rounce discusses...
This week sees the Formula 1 parade arrive in Hockenheim. Lewis Hamilton is buoyed from his victory at Silverstone and more importantly closing the gap in the Championship to four points.
Silverstone saw Mecedes employ their preferred tactic of splitting tyre strategy between drivers. This would mean Rosberg would finish on the predicted slower harder tyre with Hamilton's last stint on the perceived quicker medium. However, immediately, Hamilton's middle stint on the harder compound produced quicker times than Rosberg. Thanks to hotter track conditions than expected, Hamilton now had two stints on the faster tyre to Rosberg's one.
Hamilton had already been backed into a 2/9 favourite to win the race when Rosberg was forced to pull out the race with a gearbox failure. Rosberg's retirement was significant for the race but more so for the Championship. Hamilton's retirement in Melbourne had been effectively cancelled out, Rosberg since drifting to 6/4 for the title.
Hamilton now stands 4/7 to win Sunday's race and he's ready to build on his momentum, stating he's ready to go into "attack mode".
In three out of nine races, one or both of the Mercedes have suffered a mechanical failure, forcing them to retire or lose chunks of performance. Mercedes obviously share these concerns as testing last week saw them focus on brake cooling evaluations and engine system checks.
One man hoping to spoil Mercedes' party is the rising star Valtteri Bottas of Williams, 20/1 for the race. He now has two podium's in a row, the latest coming from 14th on the grid.
A whole host of cars fresh from two days of testing will be hoping to profit from a Mercedes failure. Last week Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull stated the importance of car setup in this coming race. "You'd like to have the downforce for the stadium and to keep it steady on the brakes but equally you don't want too much drag on the straights." Another varied day for Red Bull could well emerge. Their car is often very quick given a clear track but lacking the top end speed to navigate through traffic has caused them problems this year.
Two drivers in fantastic form, feeding on the Mercedes scraps, are Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo. They will be hoping to build on their momentum and will be aiming for podium finishes, being priced at 15/8 and 9/4 respectively.
Qualifying will again be expected to be a Mercedes front row lockout. However, this hasn't been the case in the last two races which gives hope to the likes of Williams and Red Bull.
For the second week running Hamilton or his team made a judgement error in qualifying. This has left him playing catch up during the race. Rosberg has now out-qualified Hamilton in the last four races. This makes for another riveting qualifying session on Saturday. Rosberg sits 15/8 to be on pole.
The action begins on Saturday at 13:00 BST.