Vettel hedges bets on home victory
Nuerburgring, Germany: World champion Sebastian Vettel believes this weekend`s German Grand Prix could be more wide open than other recent Formula One races but compatriot Michael Schumacher is sure his Mercedes will not win.
The duo are among six German drivers who will take to the Nuerburgring for first practice on Friday with rain pouring down on Thursday and more bad weather expected in the coming days which could shake up the usual order.
Runaway leader Vettel has won six out of nine races this term but lost out to Ferrari`s Fernando Alonso at the British Grand Prix and was involved in a team orders row with Red Bull team mate Mark Webber to make for an intriguing battle.
"It`s difficult to say who will be the strongest," Vettel told a news conference before refusing to rule out doing the same as Webber at Silverstone and trying to overtake his team mate despite being told not to by bosses.
"It depends on the situation of the race," he said with a wry smile.
Being on home soil and at a track where second-placed Webber -- 80 points behind the German -- won his first F1 race two years ago, Vettel said he felt more relaxed than usual.
"People are talking about extra pressure and things slowing you down but in reality I think it`s a positive," he said.
A sell-out crowd is possible at the isolated track in the Eifel mountains in the west of Germany but unconfirmed reports have said the Nuerburgring, which alternates each year with Hockenheim, could be hosting its last F1 race.
"That would be a shame," seven-times champion Schumacher said given his special memories of the track.
Mercedes would like to count themselves as the German national team and Schumacher is looking forward to upgrades boosting his car`s performance but not enough for a man who has failed to shine since coming back from retirement in March 2010.
"I don`t think we are yet in a position to talk about winning races. We are on the way," said the 42-year-old, 10th overall.
Most of the German drivers tried out the famous Nordschleife circuit next to the Nuerburgring which was deemed too dangerous to host F1 races in 1976 but "one of the best in the world" according to Vettel.
Nico Rosberg was thrilled to have the opportunity earlier on Thursday to drive the Mercedes.
"It feels like a go-kart. The only thing was Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1954 German Grand Prix on the Nordschleifethe driving position which was very strange," the Mercedes driver laughed.