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German GP: Track changes and DRS

NEWS STORY
19/07/2018

A number of changes have been made at Hockenheim since the last Grand Prix in 2016, most notably the tyre barriers have been upgraded through the addition of tyres, tube inserts or conveyor belting in Turns 1, 8, 12, 13 and 17. Also a new double kerb has been installed on the exit of Turn 17.

As was the case at Silverstone, there will be three DRS zones. The first zone has its detection point at the exit of Turn 4 and the activation point 140m after the same turn.

The second and third zones share a detection point which is 20m after Turn 16. The second activation point is located 55m after Turn 17, while the third is located 55m after Turn 1.

With the medium, soft and ultrasoft compounds nominated, once again there's a 'step' in the tyre selection. The same combination was last used in China, and led to an interesting strategic battle.

As Hockenheim mainly consists of slow to medium speed corners connected by straights, it's all about traction and braking - and looking after the rear tyres is particularly important. The most demanding corner for tyres is Turn 5, which is a long left-hander.

The track surface is quite smooth, so heavy wear or degradation is not expected. However overtaking is reasonably tricky, so pit stop strategy could make an important difference.

The weather at this time of year is known for its unpredictability, with sunshine or heavy rain a possibility. Currently, Friday should cloudy and Sunday sunny, while scattered storms are expected on Saturday.

The 2016 race was won by Lewis Hamilton, on a three-stop strategy that saw him start on supersofts, before further stints on softs, supersofts and finally softs again.

Nine of the first ten drivers home were on three-stop strategies.

Michael Schumacher remains the most successful driver at the German Grand Prix, winning in 1995, 2002, 2004 and 2006, all his victories coming at Hockenheim.

However, two current drivers have the opportunity to match Schumacher's benchmark. Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have three German Grand Prix wins apiece. All of Alonso's wins (2005, 2010 and 2012) were scored at Hockenheim, while Hamilton has two wins at the Baden-Wurttemberg circuit (2008 and 2016) and one at the Nurburgring, in 2011.

The only other driver on the current grid with a German Grand Prix win to his name is Sebastian Vettel. The Ferrari driver's home win came at the Nurburgring in 2013 when he was driving for Red Bull.

Six drivers are set to make their first German Grand Prix starts this weekend - Esteban Ocon, Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly, Stoffel Vandoorne, Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin.

Ocon took part in the 2016 grand prix weekend, driving in first practice for Renault, He also raced at Hockenheim in DTM and was a race winner here in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship.

Leclerc drove in FP1 in 2016 for Haas, won here in European F2 in 2015 and was on the podium at this track in GP3 in 2016.

Gasly raced here most recently in GP2 in 2016, finishing sixth in the sprint race, while Vandoorne finished on the podium in both GP2 races here in 2014.

Stroll raced here most recently in European F3 in 2016, winning all three final weekend races. Finally, Sirotkin won the GP2 feature race here in 2016 and was second in the sprint race.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Hockenheim, here.

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