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5 storylines for the race on Sunday in Germany



. 1 Hamilton and Ricciardo on the comeback track

A rider who is not in position is always a tantalizing prospect before each race, but two are on the verge of mouth.

An outstanding moment in qualifying – and perhaps in the season – came when Hamilton was crouched in disappointment beside his car after he had to stop on the track at the end of Q1

, briefly trying it over a mile back to the pits slide. This incident leaves the defending champion starting from 14th position – assuming a new gear is not required – while current leader Vettel is in pole position.

But Hamilton spoke of a quick reaction after this disappointment paying attention to how he can recover through the field on Sunday. If he needs inspiration, all he has to do is look at the last race at Silverstone, where he climbed back from the field at the end of the first lap, leaving Vettel behind. And with Mercedes showing a long running pace more than a second faster than anyone else barring Ferrari and Red Bull, he should have the car to do it again.

Of the top three it was really Red Bull who showed the best performance in Friday's racing simulations, and that will be music in the ears of Daniel Ricciardo. The power unit penalties mean he will start from the bottom of the grid, but with perhaps the fastest car – and set up for the race – he has his eyes set on chasing Hamilton forward.

"I know [Lewis] is not happy, but only from the perspective of television and racing will it be cool," said Ricciardo. "Hopefully we can fight a little bit to see who gets through the field faster …"

2. Bottas wants to turn the tables on Vettel

Two weeks ago, Vettel secured victory in Hamilton's home race, starting from second on the grid, chasing the Poleman off the leash and out of speed. This weekend, Hamilton and his teammate returned the favor to limit losses in the drivers' standings.

Valtteri Bottas was impressive this season but did not get the right results, and the misfortune often prevented him from capitalizing in promising situations. The Finn has a good chance of winning the race at Hockenheim, but everything will last until the start.

The formation of Vettel's victory at Silverstone took the lead on the first lap as Mercedes and Ferrari were so closely aligned. The same applies to Germany, where the race pace on Saturday was as good as identical between the top two teams in the Constructors' Championship. If you are in the lead at the end of the first lap, you will be the favorite at the end of the last lap.

. 3 Haas Gets Another Chance

It's not just Bottas who wants to reverse the fortunes of Silverstone, because Haas wants to do exactly the same. After another best-of-the-remainder in qualifying from seventh and eighth in the UK and with superior race pace to their midfield rivals, Haas were well able to score big points. But then their riders collided in the first round and the return was limited to only four points.

With Hamilton and Ricciardo back in the field, fifth places for Kevin Magnussen and six for Romain Grosjean offer another great opportunity for Formula One's newest team to take advantage of the Constructors' Championship in Renault. But it's a point we've talked about many times, and only once this season has Haas scored with both cars.

If they had to refocus, Haas have both Renault drivers right behind them in row four and are unlikely to fight one of the drivers in front. The grid creates the tricky situation of the two Haas drivers, who have to give each other space in the first corner to avoid a repetition of Silverstone, but should not be overcautious and Nico Hülkenberg or Carlos Sainz should open the door.

. 4 Sirotkin scores his first points

Williams has not had much to say this season, but the team met at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April. Sergey Sirotkin is the only rider to score another point this season with Lance Stroll, who finished eighth.

It may be unfair to judge the Russian on this statistic, considering where the FW41 is in terms of competitiveness So far, Hockenheim had taken a clear step forward compared to the difficulties of the last race.

A good lap late in Q1 allowed the rookie to enter the second part of the qualifying session, where Hamilton and Ricciardo were absent, plus a flawed Marcus Ericsson session saw Sirotkin finish in twelfth place. And with less than 0.05 seconds behind Fernando Alonso, it could have been even better.

With a free tire choice, drivers who are not in the right position, the races are further interrupted and drivers start with history side by side (think Raikkonen) and Verstappen, Magnussen and Grosjean), it could be a first row for Sirotkin of points – and he knows it.

"If I look where we are, I would say we should fight for the points," Sirotkin says. "Honestly, it all depends on the conditions, and if we are faced with the conditions we had yesterday for the FP2, I do not think our long running speed was good enough to get to the points, and of course we can have the fast cars that happen, it can be so different when it rains or not.

"Of course we will strive for the points, but realistically, if we face normal conditions, I do not think we really keep up the pace, to get hold of a few places will still be there. For us it is very important at this moment, even if we are not able to get to the points, we have to make sure that we stay as close as possible behind us if something happens.

[19659008] 5. Tire and weather are bubbling up

As Sirotkin kindly points out, there are two opposing weather conditions that can greatly affect the race, with the long runs in the 30-degree race on Friday at the rear Leaving blisters, a problem many teams faced at the Austrian Grand Prix, and if there is a repeat, the top 10 will all start on the ultrasoft terrain and could fight early.

If this happens, a one- Even though it's possible, an early pit stop for softs or medium could put the top riders to market.

While the weather forecast predicts high temperatures, this also indicates a significant chance of thunderstorms in Hockenheim In the first half of the race, FP3 saw heavy rain, while on Saturday after qualifying, more fell and the warm weather meant that the stretch conditions can quickly change, whereby a moist circle can dry quickly.

Both scenarios will give the teams and their strategists a great headache could also bring the race back to the out-of-position cars at the back of the field.

– Chris Medland


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