Motor

Vettel looks to please German fans

Defending champ Sebastian Vettel sits third in the Formula One points standings.
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HOCKENHEIM, Germany (AP)

Sebastian Vettel has never won his home race at the German Grand Prix despite winning the past two Formula One championships. He can change that Sunday.

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It's a chance for Michael Schumacher to win his first race in the third season of his comeback at Mercedes. Schumacher has a record four victories at the Hockenheim circuit, but the German car manufacturer is still waiting for its first home win since 1954.

The German Grand Prix will mark the halfway point in the season. In the first nine races this season, only two drivers have a pair of wins: championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and Mark Weber of Red Bull.

Alonso has 129 points and Weber, who won the last race in Britain, has 116.

Vettel, who has only one win this season with Red Bull to be third on 100 points, will be racing close to his hometown of Heppenheim.

''Hockenheim is only half an hour away from my hometown, so I have a lot of friends and family there and it's always a special crowd to race in front of,'' Vettel said. ''I've driven on that circuit in different series and it's always been great. The campsites near the new circuit are fun, and it's special to meet the fans there. I haven't won the German GP before, and, of course, I would like to.''

Webber said he was looking forward to racing against the German drivers.

''It's always a good atmosphere,'' he said. ''There are plenty of German drivers on the grid, and the support for them is always massive.


''There's a long, long straight around the back into the hairpin, so we have a high top speed there and it's always important to get the last sector together due to the combination of corners in quick succession.''

Schumacher said there might not be a home advantage but there was a feeling of being at home.

''As a German driver, you know that all the fans will be behind you, and that's a good feeling,'' said the seven-time F1 champion, who was the last German to win at home, in 2006. ''It makes you proud and pushes your motivation even higher.

''Hopefully, there will be many Mercedes workers on the tribune, and we want to make them extra happy. We've made it our target to give everyone a cause to celebrate.''

Schumacher's third-place finish at the European GP in Valencia, Spain, last month was the best showing since his comeback and showed that the 43-year-old veteran might finally have a competitive car.

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