German Grand Prix: pub knowledge
Germany’s Sebastian Vettel leads the F1 championship – and he’s heading home. Here’s your weekend pub knowledge, from F1 Racing magazine’s James Roberts, specifically designed to impress friends later this weekend…
Rotation, rotation, rotation
This weekend’s German Grand Prix is the 60th running of the famous race. The race alternates between Hockenheim and the Nürburgring – and it’s the latter’s turn in 2013. For the record Hockenheim has hosted the race 33 times, Avus in Berlin once, and this is the 26th time Nürburgring has held the race (the 13th time on the current, shorter layout).
German GPs were harder in my day
The current 3.2 mile track is a tough test for the teams and drivers; there are up to 57 gear changes per lap and over the course of Sunday’s 60-lap race that will equate to a minimum of 3,420 gear changes for each driver during the 190-mile event. If that seems intense, spare a thought for the drivers who used to race on the epic Nürburgring Nordschleife – the 170 corner, 13-mile “green hell” carved deep into the Eifel mountains, still situated adjacent to the current track…
The last race held on the Nordschleife was in 1976, the year that Niki Lauda suffered terrible burns when his Ferrari crashed at Bergwerk corner. It was perhaps apt then, that selected members of F1 community were treated to a special screening of the new Hollywood movie, Rush, in the presence of both Niki Lauda and the film’s director Ron Howard on Thursday evening. The fact the new F1 film received a standing ovation at the end, bodes well when it’s released in UK cinemas this coming September.
In pork taste
Lauda was on the receiving end of a practical joke at the old track a number of years ago. A TV company wanted to take the Austrian back to Bergwerk corner to discuss his fiery accident in which he suffered terrible burns to his head and face. Lauda was accompanied by Bernie Ecclestone and their mutual friend Karl-Heinz Zimmerman, the Austrian hotelier who manages Bernie’s motorhome at races. He’d snaffled a pig’s ear from one of his kitchens and while no one was looking threw it over the Armco barrier at the exact site of Lauda’s accident. A few minutes later he shouted: ‘Hey Niki, look! I’ve found your ear!”
Coming to his home race Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has a number of jinxes he needs to break. His last victory in Europe came as long ago as September 2011, when he won the Italian GP. He has never won his home race and also he has never won a grand prix in July… “In terms of championship points it’s the same as any other place, but there is something special to race in front of your home crowd,” said Vettel.
Mercedes warmed up for their home race by allowing their two drivers to drive two very special “Silver Arrow” machines on the Nordschleife. Rosberg drove a W196, which Juan Manuel Fangio drove to victory at the Nürburgring in 1954. And Lewis Hamilton demonstrated a W154, the car that British driver Richard Seaman won in at this track in 1938…
Friday 5 July, is the 60th anniversary of Mike Hawthorn’s win in the 1953 French GP – the first ever win by a British driver in the Formula 1 world championship.
James Roberts is associate editor of F1 Racing and is writing regular blogs around the Formula 1 season – before and after each Grand Prix
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