x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Formula One: Mercedes excited for home GP

After a rough outing at Silverstone, the German team is hoping to put on a good show for their home fans at Hockenheim.

Michael Schumacher, centre, is hoping he and teammate Nico Rosberg can give home fans plenty to smile about at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim.
Michael Schumacher, centre, is hoping he and teammate Nico Rosberg can give home fans plenty to smile about at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim.

Michael Schumacher is hoping home comforts next weekend will give Mercedes the opportunity to finally give their fans "a reason to celebrate".

For the first time in the three years Mercedes returned to the sport, after taking over Brawn GP, the German manufacturing giant are in with a chance of conjuring a strong result on home soil.

The German Grand Prix has not been too kind to Mercedes over the last two years, with Schumacher and Nico Rosberg ninth and eighth respectively at Hockenheim in 2010, and eighth and seventh at the Nurburgring last season.

But after Rosberg's win in China and second place in Monaco, and with Schumacher third in the European Grand Prix in Valencia last month, there is optimism within the team of another podium when the German Grand Prix returns to Hockenheim next weekend.

Ahead of what will be his 18th German GP, a race he has won on four previous occasions, Schumacher said: "People often ask me whether there is any such thing as a home advantage in such an international sport as ours, and my answer is: perhaps not a home advantage, but certainly a home-race feeling. As a German driver, you naturally have a different sense of excitement when you arrive at the German Grand Prix and know that all the spectators in the grandstands are supporting you.

"That makes you proud, and always boosts your motivation even higher.

"This year is the first time our Mercedes works team has been capable of racing right at the front, and because of that, we're hoping for lots of support from the fans and to reward them with our performance. We have set ourselves the clear target of giving everybody a reason to celebrate next weekend."

Mercedes form, although an improvement on the previous two years, has been "up and down" this season according to team principal Ross Brawn.

Brawn concedes his Brackley-based team needs to "work hard to improve our level of consistency and ability to challenge at the front of the field".

However, Brawn is confident Hockenheim will be more suited to their car than Silverstone, where Schumacher and Rosberg finished a disappointing seventh and 15th.

"We are bringing some further improvements to the car which should help our performance," Brawn said.

"It would be very special to achieve a good result in Germany, so we will be working hard to achieve just that."

 

WILLIAMS RESERVE DRIVER QUICKEST

Williams’ reserve driver Valtteri Bottas wrapped up the Young Driver Test at Silverstone with the quickest time. Williams and Marussia were the only teams to take to the shorter international circuit Friday.

For Marussia, both Britain’s Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto from Indonesia completed enough laps and kilometres to gain their superlicence required to move up to Formula One.

 

GROSJEAN COLLECTS FIVE-PLACE PENALTY

French driver Romain Grosjean will have a five-place penalty on the starting grid at next week's German Grand Prix due to an unscheduled gearbox change, his Lotus team said on Friday.

Grosjean finished sixth in Britain last weekend after suffering gearbox troubles in the closing laps.

"We are very fortunate that Romain didn't have the problem earlier in the race," said the team's technical director James Allison in a team preview for the race at Hockenheim. "Unfortunately for Romain it means he'll take a five-place grid penalty at Hockenheim, but he certainly showed at Silverstone that dropping down the order won't stop him challenging at the sharp end."

Grosjean had to stop on the second lap at Silverstone to change his damaged front wing after a collision and charged through the field from last to sixth.

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE