Hockenheim has a special place in Arian Sutil’s heart, and the Force India driver, who has looked impressive in testing this week, is hoping for a good showing in front of his home crowd.
Since the heart-break of Monaco where he charged through the rain-soaked chaos to fourth place, only to be punted into retirement by Kimi Raikkonen in the closing laps, Sutil has only managed to bring his car home to the chequered flag on three occasions.
Things didn’t get much better for the German at Silverstone last week after he spun in the wet and pitched his car into the gravel. But as he gears up for his home grand prix at Hockenheim, the Starnberg-born youngster is hoping to reverse his fortunes at a track he has a special affinity with.
“I’ve been there with many different cars and had many races there, so it’s really a home race for me. I did Formula Ford, Formula BMW, F3, even the Beetle Cup as a guest starter! So going there in an F1 car will be really nice.”
“It was the first track I ever saw. When I was 12 we went to Aachen, where some of my family lives, and we passed through Hockenheim. It was right when I was starting in karting. I asked my mother to stop there, and I went up to the stand. I was sitting there watching for half an hour, no cars running, nothing at all!”
“At this time the long straights were still there, going into the forests. I was thinking one time I want to drive here, it’s the goal in my life. It was such a special feeling when I was sitting there, just dreaming.'”
Sutil has been punching above his weight in the crucial three-day test ahead at Hockenheim ahead of the Grand Prix, and this bodes well for his chances of a strong result.
He paced fourth quickest on the opening day and on the second day of running he lapped fifth, only a couple of tenths slower than David Coulthard in the vastly improved Red Bull, and a second behind pace-setter Lewis Hamilton.
“It was a good day, and we were able to test several items,” said the 25-year-old after his second day of running. “At the end of the day we also tried a different evolution of suspension set-up, so we’re getting some good experience with the new parts. We can still improve a lot, there is more potential in the car, so overall it looks quite positive for the race weekend.'”