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German stars celebrate return of home Grand Prix

NEWS STORY
28/06/2016

A month ahead of Germany's return to the F1 calendar, world championship leader Nico Rosberg, Nico Hülkenberg and Pascal Wehrlein paid an advance visit to the Hockenheimring.

The German Grand Prix celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. The first ever race was staged at the AVUS circuit in Berlin on 11th July 1926. The winner was Rudolf Caracciola in a Mercedes 2-litre 8-cylinder racing car with compressor. The most recent winner of the event, last held in 2014, is Germany's own Nico Rosberg who won his home race in a Silver Arrow.

In the context of an official media day, the three drivers first addressed a formal press conference before proceeding to a barbecue at which they chatted informally with journalists about their home race.

But it wasn't just the drivers providing Formula 1 interest at the Hockenheimring, to celebrate the 90th German Grand prix, several world championship-winning cars were attracting admiring glances in the paddock.

For example, the legendary W 196 which won the title in 1954 and 1955, and its world championship-winning cousin, the F1 W05 Hybrid from the 2014.

Also on display were the McLaren-Mercedes championship-winning cars of Mika Hakkinen (1998) and Lewis Hamilton (2008), all part of the special exhibition 90 Years of the German Grand Prix (90 Jahre Großer Preis von Deutschland). Also present was the current generation Silver Arrow, the F1 W07 Hybrid.

The day was not just about reminiscing however, the smell of motor fuel was also in the air. Because, after all, the Hockenheimring is a racetrack, the journalists were given first-hand experience of lapping at high speed as passengers in DTM, GT3 and AMG high-performance 'race taxis'.

In just a few weeks' time, the F1 stars will be competing in the 90th German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring, when F1 makes its long-awaited return: #F1isBACK

"My memories of Hockenheim go back a long way," said Rosberg. "As I drove through the gates today, I was immediately reminded of so many things. For example, in 1995 when I sat on the roof of my father's DTM car and waved to the crowd after his last race. The fans were going crazy in the grandstands. When I think of it now, I still get goose bumps.

"Two years ago, I won the German Grand Prix myself, driving a Silver Arrow. Hopefully, I can repeat that success this year. Formula 1 is mega exciting this season, in fact more so than for a long time. It will certainly be another big race here at Hockenheim. I am convinced that all the spectators will enjoy it."

"I know that I'm going to get the usual butterflies in the run up to my home race," added Hulkenberg. "Formula 1 is the ultimate in motorsport, and I've followed a lot of races here since the mid-90s. They were cool. But since 2005 and having competed in so many different races and racing series here, Hockenheim has virtually become my second home. When both the Mercedes grandstand and the Motodrom are packed with fans, you get a really spine-tingling atmosphere.

"This year, F1 is back in town. It is the premier class with the best drivers in the world. Imagine the Champions League final taking place on your doorstep - then you would obviously go to the match. You can also kill two birds with one stone - watching cool cars and soaking up the sun in the grandstands. What could be better than that?"

"The first time I came to Hockenheim was in 2000, and that was as a fan," admitted Wehrlein. "At the time, I was just five years old and was sitting in the grandstand overlooking the home straight. That was my first F1 memory, and 16 years later I'm competing in my first home Grand Prix here. Since then, I've always told myself that I would like to be driving down there one day.

"So I kept nagging my parents until they put me in the seat of a kart when I was eight years old. It took me three years to persuade them! Hockenheim in 2000 was the main reason for my persistence. It was a sensational experience for me. The speed of the cars thoroughly fascinated me. Everyone ought to experience this atmosphere once in their lives. They would definitely come back for more."

"We are naturally proud to be delivering the German Grand Prix again in 2016," said Georg Seiler, Managing Director at Hockenheim-Ring GmbH. "The fans can expect a top-class starting field that includes four German drivers and also promises a thrilling battle at the front. We are very much looking forward to it. And even away from the track, the race weekend will be offering plenty of other activities for spectators, including trips in a 'race taxi', the Erlebniswelt centre next to the Mercedes grandstand and the exhibition on 90 Years of the German Grand Prix.

"It's going to be well worth your while to come and watch the race live at Hockenheim and to see how the 90-year history of the German Grand Prix continues."

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