Will Vettel taste home victory on Hockenheim's return?

By BBC: Wednesday, July 18th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Sports

Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel celebrates his pole position following the qualifying session for the Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the Baku City Circuit in Baku on April 28, 2018. [Photo/AFP]

Hockenheim returns to the Formula 1 calendar after a two-year hiatus this weekend, and what better way to get the German fans through the gates than having one of their compatriots sitting atop the drivers’ championship.

Come Sunday, Sebastian Vettel will be aiming to do what Lewis Hamilton could not at Silverstone - win on home soil.

The headlines were already written for the Mercedes man to claim a record sixth British Grand Prix victory but the prancing horse had other ideas. Instead it was Vettel who held aloft the winner’s trophy to extended his lead this intriguing title race to eight points.

So what does the 2.842-mile Hockenheim circuit bring to the table?

Bust-ups, crashes and emotional drama, it would seem.

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Situated in the Rhine Valley, the original circuit at Hockenheim took drivers on a flat-out thrill ride through lush, green forests. Throw in some ewoks and a couple of speeder bikes instead of F1 cars, and it could easily have doubled-up as Endor from Return of the Jedi.

In 1982, Nelson Piquet was leading the race for Brabham and looked certain for a podium finish; enter Eliseo Salazar. As Piquet attempted to lap the inexperienced backmarker, a clash of wheels sent the Brabham and ATS into a spin and into retirement. The incident had a glimmer of the Hamilton versus Raikkonen, first-lap Silverstone drama about it. The aftermath, however, took a punchier turn.

Brazilian Piquet leapt out of his car like a raging bull, launching himself at the Chilean, fists flying, and with a rather ungentlemanly kick towards a delicate area. If only Instagram had been available back then for these two to sort out their differences.

The dawn of a new millennium saw another Brazilian make the Hockenheim headlines, this time for the right reasons. Step forward Rubens Barrichello, 122 grands prix into his career and still no victory parade. Starting 18th on the grid and having German legend Michael Schumacher as a team-mate.