The Russian Grand Prix, held a fortnight ago, saw Valtteri Bottas & Mercedes emerge victorious, with teammate Lewis Hamilton in 3rd, rounding off the podium.
In Formula 2, Mick Schumacher scored victory on Saturday’s Feature Race, while Sunday saw Guan Yu Zhou win the shortened Sprint Race, his first Formula 2 race win. Formula 2 will not race this weekend, and will be back on 27 November in Bahrain.
This weekend, we find ourselves back at the Nürburgring, after a 7 year absence. The track, located in the Rhineland-Palatinate, in Germany, is a 3,158 km journey by road from Sochi in Russia. Ahead of any on-track action in this week, we have compiled a list of things to look out for…
The Circuit – Nürburgring GP-Strecke
This weekend’s Eifel Grand Prix will be held at the Nürburgring. The Nürburgring is a permanent motorsports complex located in the town of Nürburg, Rhineland-Palatinate. The complex has a rich history, and is renown for it’s North Loop, better known as the Nordschleife.
The track features a total of 14 different configurations, utilising the 2 main layouts, the GP-Strecke, and the Nordschleife. Of the 14 configurations, the longest is the Combined Circuit, clocking in at 25.947km and utilising the Full Track, while the shortest configuration, the Müllenbachschleife, clocks in a mere 1.489km. For the Eifel Grand Prix, F1 will be using the 5.148 km long GP-Strecke, inclusive of the Mercedes Benz Arena.
The official lap record for the GP-Strecke stands at 1:29.468, set by Michael Schumacher in 2004.
Things to Watch:
How much or how little overtaking will we see as Formula One returns to the GP-Strecke? F1’s previous outing at the circuit saw a total of 41 on-track passes.
Given the fast, flowing nature of the track, expect overtaking to be difficult around the narrow circuit, with dirty air in the wake of cars being the chief obstacle for drivers. However, the cambered nature of several corners around the track could provide overtaking opportunities for drivers bold enough to use alternate lines.
The main overtaking points are at the run down to Turn 1, ahead of the Mercedes Benz Arena Complex, alongside the Turn 13 chicane.
Can Bottas carry Russia’s momentum forward?
Can Bottas carry his momentum from Russia forwards? This is the question on everyone’s mind this weekend, after the Finn broke his 8 race win drought a fortnight ago. If the Finn can successfully carry his momentum forward for the rest of the season, he could breathe further life into his title battle with Hamilton.
Bottas arrives at the ‘Ring, with a 2 wins, 2 poles, and 161 points. His biggest rival, and teammate, Lewis Hamilton on the other hand, arrives with 6 wins, 7 poles, and 205 points. Ahead of Russia, the gap between the pair stood at 55 points, and now stands at 44 points. Should Mercedes continue achieving 1-2 finishes, Bottas would need to achieve the fastest lap and the victory, alongside the win for the next 6 weekends in order to overhaul Hamilton in the standings. Should he fail to achieve fastest lap, he will need to win every remaining race this season…
With just 7 rounds to go to the season finale, this leaves Bottas with little to almost no margin of error.
FP1: How will our F2 Title Contenders Fare?
The Eifel Grand Prix also sees 2 young stars in the form of Mick Schumacher & Callum Ilott make their F1 Weekend debuts, with Alfa Romeo & Haas respectively. Both drivers have pushed each other on track in F2, and are currently locked in a battle for the title.
Both drivers know they cannot falter or succumb to the pressure, as all eyes will be on them in FP1, and especially so, since there is a three-way fight for 1-2 seats on the grid…