Mercedes heads into this weekend’s German Grand Prix looking to maintain its 100 percent winning run at Hockenheim in Formula 1’s V6 hybrid era.

The reigning world champion squad is aiming for a fourth straight victory on home soil, having won the most recent events in 2014, 2016 and 2018, with the German GP becoming a biennial race on the calendar since 2014.

Lewis Hamilton, who extended his championship lead over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas to 39 points with his record-breaking sixth British GP win, goes in search of his fourth victory at Hockenheim to add to his previous triumphs from 2008, 2016 and last year.

Another win in Germany would be his fifth in total - including his 2011 victory at the Nurburgring - and see him move clear of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher’s tally of four German GP victories, while he can also overtake the German great for most laps led at the event if he leads 40 laps on Sunday.

Hamilton noted recent improvements made by both Ferrari and Red Bull at Silverstone, and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has urged his side to remain “vigilant” with high temperatures forecast throughout the weekend.

Overheating issues thwarted Mercedes’ performance in Austria and led to its first and only defeat of the season so far. Will we see a repeat this weekend?

Vettel seeking redemption

Sebastian Vettel is determined to “make up for last year” as he returns to the scene of the start of his 2018 title collapse.

Having dominated the race from pole position and appearing on course to record his first victory at Hockenheim, Vettel crashed out of the lead of the race as rain hit late on during last year’s dramatic German GP, paving the way for Hamilton to take an unlikely win from 14th on the grid.

The 12 months that have followed have been extremely tough for Vettel, who has made a number of high-profile errors as he missed out on a fifth world title to Hamilton at the end of 2018. The German returns to his home venue exactly 100 points adrift of Hamilton and already looks out of realistic contention for championship silverware this year, following his latest mistake at the British GP, where he collided with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

“We have got to make up for last year, especially myself, and I look forward to racing in Hockenheim," Vettel said ahead of the race.

“The atmosphere is always phenomenal and the crowd is great. I remember a lot of German flags around the track from last year, which I really enjoyed.”

Having made some progress with the understanding of its complex 2019 challenger, Ferrari arrives in Germany without any significant updates or test items for the first time in three races as it bids to end its barren start to the season.

Will the Max and Charles show continue?

Verstappen and Charles Leclerc’s spectacular on-track battles in Austria and Silverstone certainly wetted the appetite for F1 fans bored of Mercedes’ continued success and looking towards the future.

After going wheel-to-wheel for victory in Spielberg, the pair once again engaged in an epic scrap in Great Britain, with the first half of the British GP dominated by the excellent squabble over third place.

Two of F1’s newest stars put on a remarkable show of hard but fair racing at Silverstone, providing the championship with a glimpse of the mouth-watering prospect that could follow in the coming years if both drivers continue to shine at their current rate.

Leclerc, who admitted he had been more aggressive than usual against Verstappen following the frustration of his controversial defeat in Austria, described the fight as the “most fun I’ve ever had in my F1 career.”

Two entertaining races spearheaded by F1’s new generation has sparked some much-needed life into the season following a relatively uneventful opening eight rounds. Long may it continue…

 

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