Nurburgring (Germany): Just days after claiming his second win of the season in last weekend`s tumultuous British Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg aims this weekend to complete a perfect set of three `home` wins when he leads the Mercedes team into the German Grand Prix.
After Monaco, where he grew up and lives, and Silverstone, a circuit that is barely 15 kilometres from his outfit`s Brackley base, the Nurburgring, a traditional Formula One venue steeped in history and located in the Eifel mountains, represents the track of his motherland -- and he believes that with the momentum he has generated, he has a great chance of claiming another win.
"We are fast and we are setting the pace and we are growing into the role of being favourites for the races now," said Rosberg. "That is a fantastic feeling and for me, personally, it would be so good, so fantastic, if I can win again to complete a hat-trick of three wins on my home circuits."
Rosberg, 28 last Thursday on the eve of the British Grand Prix, emerged triumphant last Sunday after a spectacular tyre failure had blown Mercedes team-mate Briton Lewis Hamilton out of the lead at his home race after he had taken pole and dominated from the start.
Three other drivers suffered major tyre blowouts during a race that ended in chaos and controversy with some drivers threatening to strike unless the sport made immediate changes to the low-wear, low-durability Pirelli tyres that had failed.
In the end, following interventions by Frenchman Jean Todt, the president of the sport`s ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA), Pirelli announced this week that they will be changing the tyres supplied from those built round a construction of steel to tyres that are made with a Kevlar structure.
In a statement ahead of the German race, Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery said: "Nurburgring is one of the circuits that we have the least experience of, having only raced here once before in
Formula One, but we`re certain that we have chosen the correct compromise between performance and durability by bringing medium and soft compounds.
"These were actually the same compounds that we chose for this track in 2011, but since then the tyres have got softer and faster, so we expect a quicker race time with an average of three pitstops for most drivers.
"The Nurburgring is not on the whole an especially demanding circuit for tyres, but there are still some distinctive aspects to look out for when it comes to tyre management, such as the kerbing on the chicanes.
"And, for this race only, we will bring Kevlar-belted rear tyres, following the incidents at the British Grand Prix."
Pirelli`s confidence in the Kevlar-belted tyres -- together with changes to the ban on in-season testing with current cars -- quelled much of the post-Silverstone unrest which had managed to hide the progress made by Mercedes in moving up to second behind champions Red Bull in the constructors championship.
Mercedes have managed to build momentum based on the speed that has brought them pole in five of the eight events so far this year and two wins, just one fewer than Red Bull.
"Slowly, but surely, we are dropping into the role of being favourites -- which, I think, is fantastic," said Rosberg, son of the original flying Finn and 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg. "We`ve had three years where it`s been difficult, and we learned a lot."
The modern Nurburgring was opened in 1984 and, though it does not present quite the challenge of the old and revered circuit, it does offer a stern examination of car and driver. It demands a compromise in set-up rather than the high-speed approach used at Silverstone and produces a race often run in entirely unpredictable weather.
That may help Rosberg and Mercedes as they bid to overhaul Red Bull and defending triple world champion driver Sebastian Vettel, who has yet to record a home German win in his meteoric career.
Last weekend, he failed to finish in the points for the first time in 15 races -- a setback that will add to his determination to recover and beat Rosberg, Hamilton and Ferrari`s two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso in round nine of this year`s 19 race championship.