German Grand Prix | Sunday 07 July| Nürburgring | 14:00
Nico Rosberg claimed the checkered flag at Silverstone with Vettel being forced to retire after a gearbox failure left the World Champion shaking his head. Hamilton's race took a dangerous turn for the worse as his rear tyre exploded, sending him limping back to the pits. He was able to make an impressive recovery and finished fourth after Red Bull driver Mark Webber, who managed a second place after announcing his retirement from F1 at the end of the year. Fernando Alonso secured the last spot on the podium, gaining valuable points and putting a dent in Vettel's lead as his main rival in the Championship failed to score any. Unfortunately, his Ferrari teammate didn't manage the same kind of performance, as Massa's tyre went the same way as Hamilton's, making him one of the four drivers, along with Perez and Vergne, to suffer a rear tyre blowout. The Brazilian racer finished a fairly impressive sixth, despite his tyre issues, behind Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen, who seems to be struggling a bit of late. Sutil, Ricciardo, Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg completed the top ten finishers in a Grand Prix that was dominated by dangerous tyre failures. Di Resta produced a sublime performance, fighting his way from the back of the grid to eventually finish ninth. Local favourite Jenson Button disappointed in front of local fans, crossing the line in a rather lacklustre thirteenth place.
The Nürburgring hardly needs an introduction. As one of the most famous circuits in the world, it is a firm favorite among fans and the drivers, especially considering the four German drivers who will be fueled by the support of a home crowd. The Nürburgring of old was notorious for dangerous and fast-paced racing and also for the numerous lives claimed by the unforgiving track. These days, the circuit is a much tamer version of its previous self, but is still incredibly technically challenging, with a tough mix of corners of varying speed that will test even the most experienced driver. Each lap is 5.148km and the race is a total of sixty laps with the DRS zone located on the back straight, creating an extra opportunity for overtaking. Although the Nürburgring is less harsh on the tyres than Silverstone, careful tyre management will be crucial after the debacle that was the previous race and Pirelli has promised a distinct improvement on the tyres after their embarrassing performance last weekend. They have selected their medium and soft compounds for the race in Germany. The weather is often unpredictable but forecasts indicate that Sunday should be clear, with a rainy practice on Friday and a cloudy but dry qualifying.
Sebastian Vettel 15/10
Fernando Alonso 4/1
Lewis Hamilton 4/1
Nico Rosberg 7/1
Mark Webber 17/2
Kimi Raikkonen 10/1
Felipe Massa 40/1
Romain Grosjean 40/1
Jenson Button 100/1
Nico Rosberg (7/1 a win, 14/10 a place)
Rosberg is definitely having his best season in Formula One, with two wins under his belt and a healthy sixth place in the Championship points; it is becoming more and more apparent that the German driver is not just a pretty face. This weekend is a home race for both him and the Mercedes team and taking into account his recent form, it wouldn't be unwise to put some money on the son of World Champion Keke Rosberg. The chances of a consecutive win seem unlikely, but the support of a home crowd could provide the motivation he needs. However, he hasn't won here before and he finished a mediocre seventh in 2011, so with the stiff competition I'd probably take a bet on a podium finish.
Fernando Alonso (4/1 a win, 8/10 a place)
Ferrari struggled at Silverstone but delivered some solid points in the end, with Alonso managing to grab the last spot on the podium ahead of a frustrated Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso is one of the few drivers to have won at the Nürburgring so he will be worth a watch on race day and should definitely be a contender for some decent points. He finished second here in 2011 so another podium finish is a high possibility for the Spaniard, who is looking to decrease the gap between him and current Championship-leader Sebastian Vettel even further.
Mark Webber (17/2 a win, 17/10 a place)
Webber will no longer be in Formula One as of 2014, but the Aussie is making sure he won't be forgotten, finishing second in Silverstone, undoubtedly to the annoyance of his teammate whose car let him down last Sunday. Webber has actually won in Germany before, something Vettel has yet to accomplish and it would surely thrill the older Red Bull driver to sneak a win at his German teammate's home Grand Prix. He snatched a well-deserved pole position here in 2011, so a bet on pole could be profitable. He turned his front-row start into a podium finish and a repeat seems like a high possibility if his second place in Britain is anything to go by.
POLE POSITION: Lewis Hamilton 16/10
Hamilton won the last race at the Nürburgring in 2011 and narrowly missed out on pole position, starting next to Mark Webber on the front row. He just missed the podium at Silverstone after a spectacular recovery from his tyre failure left him playing catch up. His recent form in qualifying, with a pole position last week, and with the Mercedes team dominating on Saturdays, he seems a likely choice for pole this weekend. The British Champion often produces an incredibly swift lap in Q3 so my money is on him for the top spot on the grid. He should also be a contender for a podium finish in Germany, as long as his tyres play nice.
TO WIN: Sebastian Vettel 15/10
The German's fairly substantial lead at the top of the Championship points decreased somewhat after he failed to score any points in Britain last week. The German Grand Prix is his home race, but the Nürburgring is one of the circuits he has yet to win at in Formula One, so there will be extra motivation for the young champion to finally take the top spot on the podium here in front of a home crowd. His unfortunate retirement at Silverstone will have Vettel desperate to score points this week, and Mark Webber's second place finish will encourage his teammate, and rival, to really give it his all in Germany. Although Vettel only finished fourth here in 2011, he hadn't succeeded in Canada until this year, so perhaps he'll be able to tick a win at the German Grand Prix off his to-do list. Put some money on the home favourite to take the checkered flag on Sunday at 18/10.
Think we've got it wrong? Well leave your comments below and tell us how you think this one is going to play out.