How pleasing is it to return to your home country for a Grand Prix?
Nico Hulkenberg: It’s very special to have the German Grand Prix back on the calendar. A home race is extremely motivating, as you carry that extra ounce of determination to do well in front of the home fans. We missed it last season, but now it’s back at Hockenheim, we’ll really enjoy every moment throughout the weekend. Most drivers and teams have a home race at some point in the season, and we’re well prepared for both a busy one away from the circuit, and for the extra pressure for a good result on-track. I’m looking forward to it, and I’ll be aiming for a positive result for the team and for the German fans.
What’s Hockenheim like to drive?
NH: I enjoy this track a lot, and this year with the increased downforce cars, it will be even more fun. It begins with a high-speed turn one, which is going to be quicker than ever in 2018, and then turn two, which is actually an important corner as you need to combine a high minimum speed while getting on the power early to open up the long, curved straight. You need good traction out of the hairpin, which is also the best overtaking spot on race day. Sector three, the stadium section, is special with the packed grandstands and cheering crowd. It’s a tight part of the track, it gets narrow, but it’s fast and flowing so hopefully we can put a show on for the fans.
How do you look back on Silverstone?
NH: We got the maximum from the car in Silverstone, and it was some afternoon! We made a really good start, straight into a high position meaning we had to tweak our race plan. We managed the tyres well, and it was a strong race all in all and pleasing to be back in the points. Ahead of Germany we will be looking at our qualifying pace, as we know the midfield fight is getting close and we have to keep the upgrades coming and hard work in order to stay ahead of our rivals.
After a welcome one-week interlude, Carlos Sainz is refreshed and recharged as he targets a return to the points at Hockenheim.
How much are you looking forward to the return of the German Grand Prix?
Carlos Sainz: I’m happy to be back racing in Germany. I’m especially looking forward to it as we have a few updates there – including a new front wing – to help us get back on the pace we showed at the beginning of the year. Hockenheim is a track I’ve won at in the past, so it’s one I’m looking ahead to. It’s Nico’s home race too, so that’ll be special for him – like for me in Spain – and that will help us both push hard on track all weekend.
What do you like about Hockenheim?
CS: It’s certainly a circuit I enjoy, even though I only have one Formula 1 race to my name there. I’ve had pole positions and race wins at Hockenheim in the junior categories. It’s quite an old-school circuit, which I like. There’s a couple of long straights and fast-sweeping corners. It will be the first time we’ve driven Hockenheim with the wider, higher downforce Formula 1 cars, so a lot of the corners will be faster than what they once were. Turns one and 12 will be especially fast, so that’ll be something to keep an eye on in Friday’s early running.
How hard is the fight for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship proving?
CS: We have lots of things we need to analyse, as the midfield battle is getting tighter and tighter. These last few rounds have highlighted that trend and our current fourth place could be threatened if we don’t keep up the hard work. We had a really good two-thirds of the race at Silverstone and it was a pity we couldn’t bring more points home. We need to keep pushing to secure the fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.