2019 German Grand Prix – Preview

It was a record-breaking sixth British Grand Prix victory for Lewis Hamilton in front of his home crowd at Silverstone in what was a Mercedes one-two, while it was a race to forget for Sebastian Vettel, colliding into Max Verstappen in the braking zone to Vale (Turn 16), and then receiving a 10-second time penalty on his way to 16th.

And, with the form of Red Bull Racing-Honda starting to improve, Ferrari will be starting to feel the heat as they both attempt to chase down Hamilton and Mercedes at the 2019 German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring, Round 11 of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Hamilton (223 points) leads the championship by 39 points over his teammate Valtteri Bottas (184 points) after a dominant performance by Mercedes at Silverstone. Bottas grabbed pole position ahead of Hamilton, and led during the early stages of the race, despite Hamilton putting him under tremendous pressure, before pitting on Lap 16 for a new set of medium-compound tyres, giving Hamilton the lead, before a safety car four laps later gave Hamilton a “free” pit-stop, and a strategic advantage in that he was able to pit for a new set of hard-compound tyres, and go to the end of the race on that set, while Bottas had to pit again (since he hadn’t used at least two of the three available tyre compounds), and with Hamilton showing superior speed, the five-time world champion was able to cruise to victory.

This weekend in Germany, it is a must win for Bottas, given that Hamilton will be very hard to beat in Hungary in just over a weeks’ time, to remain a realistic hope of winning his first world championship.

Max Verstappen (136 points) is third in the world championship for Red Bull Racing-Honda after finishing the British Grand Prix in fifth after recovering from the collision with Vettel in the middle of the race, and remains ahead of the four-time world champion in Vettel (123 points), and his teammate at Ferrari in Charles Leclerc (120 points), who managed to claim third at Silverstone behind the two Mercedes.

Behind the Top Five in the championship, Verstappen’s teammate Pierre Gasly (55 points) is sixth after finishing fourth at the British Grand Prix, his best race finish since joining Red Bull at the start of 2019, while McLaren-Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. (38 points) is seventh in the standings, pulling away in the lead of the battle of the rest so to speak, ahead of Kimi Räikkönen (25 points) of Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari, his teammate at McLaren-Renault Lando Norris (22 points), who is ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo (22 points) based on two sixth-place finishes compared with one, to complete the Top 10.

Looking at the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes (407 points) have extended their lead over Ferrari (243 points) to 163 points, with Red Bull Racing-Honda (191 points) closing to within 52 points of Ferrari. Behind the Top Three, McLaren-Renault (60 points) continue to pull away from Renault (39 points), who likewise continue to pull away from Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari (26 points), while we have a great battle for seventh between Racing Point-BWT Mercedes (19 points), Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (19 points), and Haas-Ferrari (16 points), with Williams-Mercedes (zero points) sadly behind this battle, and last in the Constructor’s Championship.

So, who is going to win the 2019 German Grand Prix?

Mercedes are the favourites, but it is going to be an absolute scorcher at the Hockenheimring, with maximum temperatures set to be around 34 to 39 degrees Celsius, at least on Friday, if not on Saturday as well, which will bring both Ferrari and Red Bull Racing-Honda back into the discussion, but as I currently write this preview, there is set to be rain on Saturday and on Sunday, with the temperature set to drop to around 25-26 degrees Celsius for Sunday.

It is set to be an exciting weekend, and perhaps one of the races of the season, and with a point to prove, especially after the last three races since Canada, and after crashing out of the lead in the German Grand Prix last year, I predict Sebastian Vettel will get Ferrari’s first race win of 2019, and his first race victory since the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix.

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2019 German GP (MotoGP) – Preview

Maverick Viñales claimed Yamaha’s first race victory of 2019, and their first since the 2018 Australian Grand Prix by winning last weekend at Assen, while for his teammate Valentino Rossi, it was another shocking race, crashing out and taking out Takaaki Nakagami, making it a third-straight Did Not Finish, and you have to wonder if the seven-time premier class world champion, and nine-time world champion across all classes is thinking about retirement, or at least his future within the sport.

However, it was another podium finish for defending world champion Marc Márquez, his seventh of the season after finishing second at the Dutch TT, but will be aiming for a 10th-straight victory across all classes, and his seventh victory (all in a row, which would be a German Grand Prix record for wins in a row in the premier class) in the premier class at the Sachsenring, and move to within one of Giacomo Agostini’s eight German Grand Prix victories in the premier class at the 2019 German Grand Prix, Round Nine of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship.

Márquez (160 points) leads the championship for the Repsol Honda Team by 44 points over Mission Winnow Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso (116 points), who struggled at Assen, finishing only fourth, and you sense it will be another race of damage limitation in Germany for him and his teammate Danilo Petrucci (108 points), who is third in the standings after finishing sixth last weekend.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR rider Álex Rins (101 points) is fourth in the world championship after having his run of 16-consecutive race finishes come to an end, crashing out of the lead of the race on Lap Three to see his slim championship hopes really start to slip away.

Behind the Top Four, there is a good scrap for fifth in the championship between Rossi (72 points), Petronas Yamaha SRT rider Fabio Quartararo (67 points) after a second-straight podium finish in an impressive rookie season, also becoming the youngest rider to start on pole position in consecutive races, Viñales (65 points), and Jack Miller (60 points) from Alma Pramac Racing, who finished ninth in Assen, his worst performance when he has finished a race in 2019.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pol Espargaró (60 points), and LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (52 points) complete the Top 10 in the world championship.

So, who is going to win at the Sachsenring?

You cannot go past Marc Márquez to win for the 10th-straight year across all classes, and for the seventh-straight time in the premier class in Germany, but he will have the lessons of what happened at the Circuit of the Americas firmly at the front of his mind. Behind Márquez, I think that Fabio Quartararo and Álex Rins will be in the best position to complete the podium before MotoGP heads off on its mid-season break.

2018 German GP – Preview

After a brilliant, and somewhat chaotic British Grand Prix at Silverstone blighted by a number of incidents, where Sebastian Vettel claimed just his second victory at the British Grand Prix, the first for Ferrari at Silverstone since 2011, and his fourth of the season despite a exceptional comeback drive from Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton to finish in a sensational second after being tagged by Vettel’s teammate Kimi Räikkönen on the opening lap, forcing him to last place, Round 11 of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship takes place at the Hockenheimring in Hockenheim in Germany with the championship well and truly poised.

Vettel (171 points) leads the world championship by eight points over Hamilton (163 points), with Räikkönen (116 points) third in the standings after finishing third at the British Grand Prix despite receiving a 10-second time penalty for turning around Hamilton on the opening lap. Räikkönen leads a four-way battle for third in the championship separated by 23 points with Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer driver Daniel Ricciardo (106 points), who finished fifth at Silverstone, Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas (104 points), who finished fourth, and Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen (93 points), who unfortunately had to retire (classified in 15th) from the British Grand Prix due to brake issues after completing 46 of 52 laps after being in third position for much of the race.

Behind them is a tight battle for seventh in the world championship separated by just three points between Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg (42 points), who finished an impressive sixth at Silverstone, McLaren-Renault’s Fernando Alonso (40 points), who finished eighth, and Haas-Ferrari driver Kevin Magnussen (39 points), who was ninth at the British Grand Prix, while Hülkenberg’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. (28 points) is 10th in the championship despite crashing out following a collision with Magnussen’s teammate Romain Grosjean at Copse after 37 laps in what was deemed a racing incident.

Looking at the Constructors’ Championship, Ferrari (287 points) have extended their lead over Mercedes (267 points) to 20 points, while Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer (199 points) sit in an ever-comfortable third. Behind them, Renault (70 points) have consolidated fourth-place in the championship, while a titanic battle is forming for fifth in the championship between Haas-Ferrari (51 points), Force India-Mercedes (49 points), and McLaren-Renault (48 points), with only three points separating the three teams.

Then it is Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (19 points), Sauber-Ferrari (16 points), and Williams-Mercedes (four points) completing the standings.

So, who will win the German Grand Prix?

It is a hard one to pick given that the characteristics of both the Ferrari and the Mercedes should suit the Hockenheimring, as should Red Bull’s car, but if I was going to tip someone to win, it would either be Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton.

2018 German GP (MotoGP) – Preview

After an extraordinary, and entertaining race at the TT Circuit Assen with Marc Márquez claiming his fourth victory of the season to extend his lead in the world championship, and his second Dutch TT success in MotoGP, Round Nine of the 2018 FIM MotoGP World Championship takes place at a venue where Márquez has won at for the last eight years across all classes (all from pole position), including the last five MotoGP races there, it is of course the Sachsenring, and it is the German Grand Prix.

Márquez (140 points) leads the championship by 41 points for the Repsol Honda Team ahead of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi (99 points) after his fifth-place finish in Assen, and is ahead of his teammate Maverick Viñales (93 points), who claimed just his second podium finish of the season at the Dutch TT, finishing third. Both Rossi and Viñales are the only two riders within two wins of Márquez in the championship, and slowly look like slipping out of title contention.

Johann Zarco (81 points) is fourth in the world championship for Monster Yamaha Tech 3, and leads a group of six riders separated by just 10 points, including Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso (79 points), LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow (79 points), Dovizioso’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo (75 points), Alma Pramac Racing rider Danilo Petrucci (71 points), and Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Andrea Iannone (71 points) after all of them with the exception of Petrucci, who crashed out on Lap 17, finished inside the points in an exciting race.

Behind this group, Jack Miller (55 points) completes the top 10 in the championship for Alma Pramac Racing after finishing 10th in Assen, a race which he won famously in extremely wet and tricky conditions back in 2016, while Alex Rins (53 points), who finished a superb second behind Márquez for Team Suzuki Ecstar, the best result of his premier class career to date, is 11th in the standings, but the biggest talking point in MotoGP is the future of Dani Pedrosa.

Pedrosa (41 points) sits 12th in the world championship for the Repsol Honda Team after finishing 15th in Assen, continuing his annus horribilis in 2018, and is set to announce to the motorsport world his future in MotoGP going forward, with some signs pointing towards retirement, and other signs pointing towards him signing for the new satellite Yamaha team for 2019 called the SIC(Sepang International Circuit)-Ángel Nieto Team.

In my view, I feel Pedrosa may not have his mind into top-level motorcycle racing, or in other words MotoGP racing anymore due to  the accumulation of injuries suffered over the years taking its toll on his ability to ride a motorcycle to the absolute limit, and I think he may well announce his retirement from MotoGP at the end of this year.

However, I believe Pedrosa would have been better suited to have left the Repsol Honda Team years ago, and going to either Yamaha, or if it had happened more recently, Ducati because I felt he would have been able to get that one thing that was missing on his career CV, and that is the MotoGP World Championship.

I believe if he was onboard the factory Ducati last year, and had been fit for the entire season, he would have beaten Marc Márquez to the 2017 world championship, instead of falling short like Andrea Dovizioso did last year.

In my opinion, he has wasted a number of his prime years on a bike not entirely suited to his riding style, continuing to sign contracts with the Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) and the Repsol Honda Team blindly without really working out what was best for him. Now, with Pedrosa leaving the Repsol Honda Team at the end of the year, he can finally (for himself) work out what is best for him.

Sadly, the chances of him winning the MotoGP World Championship may have sailed by for good!

As for my predictions for the Sachsenring, I think Marc Márquez will win for the ninth year in a row, and for the sixth time there in MotoGP in an entirely dominant weekend.

2017 MotoGP German GP – Preview

This weekend, the ninth round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship will take place at the Sachsenring in the town of Hohenstein-Ernstthal near the German city of Chemnitz, and with the mid-season break fast approaching, a number of riders will be looking to achieve good results to consolidate or improve their position in the world championship.

The MotoGP field heads into the ninth round of 2017 with a new championship leader with Andrea Dovizioso leading on 115 points, which is the lowest for a world championship leader in the premier class after eight rounds since the current points-scoring system was introduced back in 1993.

Dovizioso leads by four points over Maverick Viñales (111 points), with Valentino Rossi (108 points), and Marc Márquez (104 points) all within 11 points of the championship leader, and is unsurprisingly the smallest margin covering the top four riders in the premier class after eight rounds since the current points-scoring system was introduced back in 1993.

Dovizioso will be looking to secure his third victory of the season this weekend, but has never won at the Sachsenring across any of the classes. His best performance at the German Grand Prix has been two third-place finishes back in 2012 and 2016 respectively.

Viñales too has never won the Sachsenring in his career to date, with his best performance at the German Grand Prix being two third-place finishes 2011 and 2013 in the beginner’s class (125cc/Moto3). However, Viñales will be desperate to grab his fourth victory of the season after crashing out of the Dutch TT under a week ago.

Rossi, unlike Dovizioso and Viñales, has had plenty of success at the Sachsenring, winning five times across all classes, although his last race victory at the German Grand Prix came back in 2009. However, if Rossi won for the seventh time at the Sachsenring, he would become the second-oldest rider to win back-to-back races in the premier class after winning the Dutch TT last week.

Márquez has also had plenty of success at the German Grand Prix, the most successful rider in fact, taking pole position and winning the race in the last seven years across all classes at the Sachsenring. However, he hasn’t got a pole position in the last five races, which is his longest streak without a pole position since joining the premier class back in 2013.

This weekend would seem like the perfect time and place to end that record, but other than Dovizioso, Viñales and Rossi, Márquez will be facing stiff competition from his teammate Dani Pedrosa, who too has a fantastic record at the German Grand Prix, winning it six times across all classes.

However, Pedrosa, who is currently fifth in the championship on 87 points, 28 points behind championship leader Dovizioso will be desperate to achieve his seventh victory at the Sachsenring as he looks to keep in touch with his championship rivals at a track where the Repsol Honda Team have won for the past seven years.

Other riders to look out for this weekend to challenge for the podium and possibly a race win include Johann Zarco (77 points), Danilo Petrucci (62 points), Jorge Lorenzo (60 points), and Cal Crutchlow (58 points).

Zarco won the Moto2 race last year at the Sachsenring, but Petrucci, who has never won a race, Crutchlow, and more surprisingly Lorenzo have never won at the Sachsenring across any class.

The German Grand Prix is a particularly big weekend for Lorenzo if he wants to get back into the world championship battle, trailing his teammate Andrea Dovizioso by 55 points heading into the last 10 races of the season.

He has had a real struggle to adapt to his factory Ducati, and has been rather inconsistent, finishing in the top six on only three occasions in 2017, with his only podium of the season so far coming at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez.

If Lorenzo can improve his form on the factory Ducati, he can still be a major player in the 2017 MotoGP World Championship, but you feel it has to start this weekend by claiming his first victory at the Sachsenring, a track where he has claimed six podiums across all classes.

However, I am tipping a resurgent run by Marc Márquez at arguably his favourite circuit on the calendar, and I believe he will dominate at the Sachsenring once again to win for the eighth time.

 

MotoGP Practice on Friday at 9:50am, and 2:00pm local time (5:50pm, and 10:00pm AEST). MotoGP FP3 on Saturday at 9:55am local time (5:55pm AEST), FP4 on Saturday at 1:30pm local time (9:30pm AEST), Q1 and Q2 on Saturday at 2:10pm and 2:35pm local time (10:10pm and 10:35pm AEST). MotoGP Warm Up on Sunday at 9:40am local time (5:40pm AEST), and MotoGP race on Sunday at 2:00pm local time (10:00pm AEST).