Vettel wants German GP win
HOME WIN WANTED: Red Bull driver and tripe World champion Sebastian Vettel is after an elusive home win at the 2013 German GP on Sunday. Image: AFP
Author: MARK MEADOWS
NURBURGRING, Germany - Sebastian Vettel has never won his home German Grand Prix or a race in July so this week's trip to the Nurburgring was set to be challenging for the triple World champion even before the tyre debacle in the 2013 British GP.
The exploding Pirellis at that race put drivers on edge but talk of a boycott in Germany has been played down with the Italian firm saying rear tyres will be made stronger in the short turnaround from Silverstone.
While five drivers, among them pole-starter Lewis Hamilton suffered blowouts last Sunday, championship leader Vettel's retirement was due to a gearbox problem in the usually reliable Red Bull.
BOLD RED SHDS
Adding to the pressure at the Nurburgring for the 26-year-old, who celebrated his birthday on July 3, is Mercedes' strong performance at Silverstone with Nico Rosberg taking victory and eager to impress again on his and his team's home race.
Despite the odds seemingly being against him, Vettel is excited to be racing at home.
"I've always had a lot of fun on this track. In 2009 I made it to the podium here for the first time in F1 and it was a fantastic experience thanks to the German fans," he said as he discussed not yet winning in Germany. "I don't pay much attention to figures and statistics. It may be nice to look at statistics sometimes but they only show what has happened in the past, not what is to come."
Vettel is leading the Drivers' standings on 132 points from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso on 111 and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen on 98.
Mercedes has moved up to second in the Constructors' championship, 48 points behind Red Bull after eight of 19 races.
The most recent GP at the Nurburgring, which alternates with Hockenheim, was in 2011 when Hamilton took the chequered flag and Vettel was fourth.
The German can at least take solace from the fact Red Bull team mate Mark Webber sealed pole at the track in 2011.
Australian Webber will be racing in his final German GP before quitting F1 at the end of the 2013 season and he nearly never had the chance to race the Nurburgring again with the track in serious financial difficulty. The race was almost handed to Hockenheim before F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone stepped in to make sure the it would take place.
Drivers thought last Sunday's 2013 British GP was too dangerous with bits of exploding tyres narrowly missing their heads, reminding everyone of when Felipe Massa suffered a life-threatening injury when he was struck by debris in 2009.
In 2005, 14 drivers did not start the US GP after problems with their Michelin tyres.
Ecclestone does not expect the same to happen in Germany, with kerbs at Silverstone and the teams' management of the tyres possibly contributing to the blowouts even if the Pirellis have been controversial all season due to quick degradation.
Pirelli risked angering drivers further by saying on Tuesday that the teams had mounted rear tyres the wrong way around and run them with low pressures.
"I don't think (a boycott) will happen. I don't think it's something we need to address," Ecclestone said.
The 82-year-old said he would be at the Nurburgring despite the possible threat of arrest because of allegations he bribed a German banker during the 2005/2006 sale of a stake in F1.
Ecclestone denies wrongdoing and Munich prosecutors have not yet indicated if they intended to charge him.
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 German F1 GP.