Mercedes-AMG at the 2012 Formula 1 German Grand Prix in HockenheimEnlarge Photo
Given that Hockenheim was built in 1932, it was a relatively late addition to the Formula 1 calendar. It staged its first German Grand Prix in 1970, and this year will be the 33rd time that the race is being held here.
Initially the track was a flat-out 4.16-mile loop, upon which a number of automakers used for testing cars. A slower, stadium section was built after World War II and chicanes were added in 1968, following the death of double world champion Jim Clark in a Formula 2 race.
The circuit was completely redesigned by renowned F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke in 2001 and it now stages the German Grand Prix on a biennial basis, sharing the race with the Nürburgring. It is above average when it comes to engine demands with a high power sensitivity.
The first half of the lap is high speed, with drivers reaching over 186 mph on three occasions. Temperatures look like they are going to be cooler this year, which further increases the severity for the engine as the air density will be higher and the pressure in the cylinder increases.
The latter part of the lap includes a slow first gear hairpin, flick and stadium sections, which demand good braking stability and torque response, particularly through the stadium, which is taken at an average of 124 mph.
The weather can be variable, though things are expected to be dry on race day. Sole tire supplier Pirelli will be bringing its P Zero White medium and the P Zero Yellow soft compounds.
Fresh from his victory at the previous British Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber trimmed Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso's lead slightly in the points standings but the Spaniard has a 129-116 gap on his rival. Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel lies third with 100 points, while Lewis Hamilton, who will be racing in his 100th GP this weekend, is on 92 points.
In the Constructors' battle, Red Bull Racing has a gaping 216-point advantage over Ferrari (152), with Lotus third at 144 points, McLaren fourth with 142 and Mercedes-AMG still in the double digits in fifth place with 98 points.