Sebastian Vettel is out to save German pride on Sunday at the British Formula One Grand Prix now that the nation’s football team won’t be in the World Cup final.
Two weeks ago Vettel’s win at the European Grand Prix in Spain came a few hours before Germany crushed England 4-1 in the football showcase event in South Africa.
Germany’s semifinal defeat against Spain has, however, opened the door for another man who could set off a possibly glorious day for Spain ahead of the World Cup final against the Netherlands, Spanish Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso.
However, the men who want to win most at Silverstone are British McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button at their home race.
“Even though I came to Silverstone last year as the championship leader, I still haven’t won this race. I’m second this year, and I can think of nothing better than being able to take a win in front of my home crowd — that would be amazing,” said the title holder Button.
Hamilton said: “To be leading the world championship going into my home race is a fantastic feeling ... The British Grand Prix is one of the best races of the year — it’s going to be a brilliant weekend.
Bring it on.” Hamilton leads an eventful season with 127 points into the 10th of 19 races. Button has 121, the Red Bull duo of Vettel and Mark Webber 115 and 103, respectively, and Alonso 98.
The 5.901-kilometres Silverstone course has undergone changes but a party atmosphere is all but guaranteed among the huge crowds expected.
“The British Grand Prix is a bit of a festival of motorsport — there’s a great atmosphere there, a party vibe, and you meet people who’ve supported you throughout your career, which is always very rewarding,” said Button.
“Of course, the big unknown for this year is the new track configuration. On paper, it looks to have kept most of the classic corners, which is important. We’ve lost Bridge, but we’ve still got Copse, Becketts and Stowe, which is great.”
McLaren must be fancied but Vettel bounced back from some poor weeks when he put Red Bull back on top a fortnight ago. Another success is more than welcome as it is a home race as well for the Britain-based team.
“It is always my aim to win. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. And winning at the home race would be something very special,” Vettel told DPA.
Vettel won the Silverstone race last year and another success would put him right back into title contention.
But Alonso is also hungry for success on the track where the first F1 race took place in 1950 and where Ferrari got their first win a year later from Froilan Gonzalez.
Alonso won the season-opener in Bahrain but has not topped a podium since and was highly upset about various incidents around the safety car phase in front of a home crowd in Valencia two weeks ago.
“The race was ruined by the safety car and everything that followed on from that,” fumed Alonso.
The action starts on Friday with two practice sessions, qualifying is on Saturday and the British GP on Sunday.