The German Grand Prix was a notable absentee from the 2015 calendar, but now that it’s back we at RealSport are taking a look at the top performances at the German Grand Prix. There is a long history behind the German Grand Prix, even though it has jumped between Hockenheim and the Nurburgring – which have also changed greatly over the years due to safety concerns.
- 2009 – Nico Rosberg
Driving for Williams, Nico Rosberg qualified just 15th but pushed his way through the pack to 4th. It was Rosberg’s highest finish at his home Grand Prix and would remain so until he finally got to the top step of the podium in 2014 with Mercedes.
- 2012 – Kamui Kobayashi
A fan favourite for daring, and sometimes misguided, overtaking attempts, Kobayashi started 12th after a rain-affected qualifying but after more than a couple brave and opportunistic passes Kobayashi finished 5th on track, being promoted to a career best 4th after a penalty to Sebastian Vettel.
- 2014 – Lewis Hamilton
After a brake failure during Q1 sent him into the barriers, Hamilton started 20th on the grid. After being cleared to race though Hamilton went out and got a magnificent 3rd place. He shot up to 13th after lap 4 and continued to move up through the pack – including a brilliant double pass of Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo at the hairpin. Hamilton’s recovery drive was a big reason he was able to end up winning the championship that year.
- 1981 – Alain Prost
Prost is our highest non-winner. In just his second year in Formula One, and coming off the back of his first win in France Prost qualified almost half a second faster than anyone else to take pole. While eventual Champion Nelson Piquet would win Prost held off the faster Alan Jones and his Williams – only losing the place when backmarkers got in the way. Prost would keep battling and lapping strongly, finishing 2nd and truly showing his talents.
- 2000 – Rubens Barichello
After an oil leak in his car Rubens Barichello jumped into the spare car and qualified 18th after doing a late lap on a damp track. However after a good start and a few incidents ahead of him Barichello was in 10th by the end of the first lap. He started slicing his way through the midfield and sat in 6th place by the end of lap 5. A pair of safety cars helped Barichello close to the leaders. Then as the rain began to fall Barichello made a bold call to stay out on his slicks, knowing he would have an advantage down the straights. It paid off big time as he held off the charging Mika Hakkinen despite heavier rain on the penultimate lap and took his maiden Formula One win.
- 1976 – James Hunt
The 1976 race will always be remembered for the horrific crash on the second lap that left Niki Lauda in a burning wreck of a Ferrari and nearly killed him. When the race restarted after the crash Chris Amon decided not to race, but Hunt – Lauda’s bitter rival – took to the race win after passing 4 others. This was the last German Grand Prix run on the full Nurburgring Nordschleife, which had become far too dangerous for Formula One.
- 1997 – Gerhard Berger
In a season dominated by Jacques Villeneuve in his Williams and the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher, Gerhard Berger walked into the German Grand Prix and took over the weekend. Berger planted his Benetton on pole with a lap just 0.023 seconds faster than Giancarlo Fisichella in second. No one could touch Berger in the race though, as he took both fastest lap and the race win – it was his last win in Formula One as well as Benetton’s last as a constructor.
- 1957 – Juan Manuel Fangio
To compensate for the skinny tyres on his slower Maserati, Fangio started with just half a tank of fuel, but his skill behind the wheel meant he had a 30-second lead over the Ferrari’s when he pitted. However Fangio’s stop was so long that when he rejoined the Nurburgring he was 50 seconds behind the brilliant Fangio managed to claw it all back and take the win – which clinched the Championship for him.
- 1961 – Stirling Moss
Formula One was a very different world in the 1960’s. In a privately entered Lotus Moss started on the second row but lead every single lap of the massive 14 mile Nurburgring Nordschleife – beating out the Championship leading and massively faster Ferrari’s in a wet race. It was Moss’ last race win in Formula One, and while he never won a championship Moss is still one of the true greats of the sport.
- 1988 – Aryton Senna
Hockenheim used to be far, far longer than it is now. As such it had similar problems to those Spa has today – it can be brutally wet on one section of the track and bone-dry on another. Those kind of conditions can be horrific for drivers, but they are where Senna truly separated himself from everyone else. The rain had stopped before the start of the grand prix but with close and dense trees through the forest straight large sections of the track simply didn’t dry. Senna was dominant, leading from the front and looking every bit the confident star. His team-mate Alain Prost spun off trying to catch him but to no avail. No one was beating Senna that day.