Lewis Hamilton is looking forward to remaining unbeaten at Hockenheim in Formula One as the 2010 season returns to the German venue this weekend, but admits that the eleventh round of the campaign could give the clearest indication of what lies ahead.
The Briton won at the circuit on his only previous visit there in 2008 - there was no Hockenheim race in his debut year and last year's German GP was staged at the Nurburgring - and believes that McLaren will be competitive again this season, particularly if its version of the 'blown diffuser' proves more effective than it did at Silverstone. However, with title rivals Red Bull and Ferrari continuing to bring developments to their cars, and the likes of Renault and Mercedes taking any opportunity to shake the order up, Hamilton is wary of predicting a return to winning ways after finishing second at both the European and British grands prix.
“While there are quite a few low-speed corners that require good traction, I think we'll be on more familiar ground at Hockenheim, and should be able to successfully balance our car to be relatively competitive around there," he reasoned, “The big question mark surrounds some of the other top teams – they've shown improved performance over the past two or three races, even if they've not fully managed to score the results that their pace suggests.
“It will be interesting to see just how close things have become up at the sharp end, because this could affect the way the world championship plays out, particularly if more teams start challenging for victory in the second half of the season. For that reason, I think the German Grand Prix will give us a very good read on form for the second half of the season.”
Reflecting on the 2008 German race gives Hamilton added encouragement for the coming weekend, as his victory followed a fightback caused by what appeared to be a strategy miscue from the McLaren team. Having led comfortably from pole position, and been fuelled longer than his rivals first time around, the Briton dropped as low as fifth while making a belated second pit-stop on lap 51, as McLaren pinned its hopes on low-fuel clear-track running after a safety car intervention. Although the situation didn't work in the Woking team's favour, Hamilton made up for it, surging through to pass Felipe Massa and Nelson Piquet Jr after being gifted third and fourth places.
“We had a fantastic car, I got pole position and had a great battle through the field after a mid-race safety car to win," Hamilton, whose victory broke a three-way tie at the top of the championship, recalled, "I'd really love the same outcome next weekend!"