Heat on for German Grand Prix

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As temperatures across Europe soar, the Formula One season revs along as usual, with the championship arriving in Hockenheim for today’s German Grand Prix.

It was at this race 12 months ago that Sebastian Vettel’s season derailed when the home favourite crashed out of the lead in changeable conditions.

It was also the race that saw Lewis Hamilton ascend from 14th on the grid to take one of his finest victories to date.

For the Mercedes team, the weekend marks something of a celebration. The race will be its 200th grand prix start, but the team is also celebrating 125 years of motorsport with a special, once-off livery on its cars that harks back to the team’s early years of motor racing and the first motor race, a point-to-point event from Paris to Rouen in France.

On track, however, it’s business as usual and the Silver Arrows expect a stern challenge from their rivals Ferrari and Red Bull, especially their young drivers Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen.

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Formula one standings

“Max is not a youngster necessarily in the sport any more. While he’s young, he’s been here for a few years,” said five-time champion Hamilton.

“Charles is in only his second season and I can see him only getting stronger. We’re already seeing some great performances from him.

“Whether or not Ferrari are going to pick up their pace – I don’t know. Last year, here, it was quite close between all three of us. Ferrari was slightly quicker.”

Hamilton leads the drivers’ standings with 223 points to his team-mate Valtteri Bottas’ 184. Verstappen is on 136 and Vettel is a further 13 points behind.

Mercedes have a nearly unassailable lead in the constructors’ standings. They have 407 points, and are followed by Ferrari on 243 and Red Bull on 191.

For Red Bull, the season has been one of pleasant surprises. Their switch to Honda has proved fruitful with a handful of podium finishes and a race win under their belt, courtesy of Verstappen.

“At the end of the day, second is always better than third, but we’re here to win,” Verstappen said. “Of course, we want to be in front of Ferrari, but what we want even more is to be in front of Mercedes.”

Across the paddock, Vettel believes his Ferrari team has made a stride forward and could cause an upset for Mercedes this weekend as he looks to banish last year’s bad memories.

“I think we are in a strong position to start the weekend,” Vettel said. “I think we’ve seen some recent races in which we’ve been very strong in terms of qualifying and race pace.

“I’m fairly open-minded, let’s see where it goes,” he said.

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German Grand Prix

That upset could very well become a reality. The heatwave that has seen temperature records smashed across Europe means the weekend will be hot and humid; a thorn in Mercedes’ side.

They were off the pace in Austria as they were unable to keep their cars as cool as Red Bull’s and Ferrari’s, and that might happen again this weekend.

The German Grand Prix starts at 3.10pm today.

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