Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 September 2019

Why Charles Leclerc and Ferrari can still win the German GP at Hockenheim from 10th on the grid

Unpredictable weather and strong pace means Hamilton and Mercedes should still face pressure

Charles Leclerc, front, starts 10th for Ferrari in Germany, with Sebastian Vettel in 20th, but the Italian team can be strong in Sunday's race. EPA
Charles Leclerc, front, starts 10th for Ferrari in Germany, with Sebastian Vettel in 20th, but the Italian team can be strong in Sunday's race. EPA

It was a disappointing day for Ferrari as a whole on Saturday as mechanical problems hampered Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.

Having dominated the pace in practice instead of fighting for pole position they have Leclerc starting 10th and Vettel in 20th place and last spot.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton starts on pole in his Mercedes-GP car but all is not lost for the Italian team.

Here is a look at why they can still get a podium, or even better, at Hockenheim in Sunday's race, which starts at 5.10pm UAE time.

Ferrari have the fastest car in Hockenheim

Up until qualifying Ferrari were the fastest thing in Germany. Vettel and Leclerc were quickest in the three sessions, but as said, it all then went wrong.

But Ferrari are quick at Hockenheim and crucially you can overtake at the track, with two long straights offering up decent opportunities to out-brake a rival.

Leclerc is 10th but he can quickly make his way up to fifth and be in contact with the Mercedes-GP and Red Bull Racing cars.

It may be harder for Vettel from the back to get up to the top six as fast, but Leclerc is certainly capable of getting himself in and among the top cars very early in the race.

Friday's simulation runs for Ferrari were encouraging and with Mercedes not particularly strong at the track, despite Hamilton taking pole, Leclerc can still feel he is in the hunt.

Rain forecast can help Leclerc

Rain is a strong possibility for the race and how it factors into proceedings will be fascinating.

So far, 2019 has been an usual year in that there has been little track action with wet weather so it will be a step into the unknown as to how a damp track will affect the cars.

It will certainly not make things straightforward and that could aid Leclerc if the track becomes unpredictable.

It could also throw up variable strategies, and more options Leclerc has, the better chance he can do something against the Mercedes cars.

Safety car

Another factor that Leclerc can take some hope from is that Hamilton won from 14th place last year.

That was helped by rain and a safety car period. One of those scenarios is already expected on Sunday and the other could easily happen too.

A full safety car would negate any early advantage that Hamilton and Mercedes have and close the gap back down.

There are enough potential variables ahead that a podium finish, at the very least, is achievable for Leclerc, with a strong points finish a possibility for Vettel.

Updated: July 28, 2019 09:37 AM

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