Local teams eager to hit back

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THIS weekend’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim will mark the halfway stage of the 2012 FIA F1 World Championship season with the title race still wide open.

Fresh from competition at Silverstone two weeks ago, the F1 circus rolls into Germany this weekend with the local teams looking to improve on a poor weekend last time out.

The 2012 season is proving to be on of the most competitive F1 campaigns for many years and although Fernando Alonso leads the battle for the crown, the race to catch him is fierce with at least five other drivers still confident that they have a strong chance to lift the title.

Brackley’s Mercedes AMG Petronas team have tasted the victory champagne once so far this season when Nico Rosberg won the Chinese Grand Prix.

The local team have seemed to struggle during the last handful of races despite Michael Schumacher’s recent run of high finishes.

A podium finish for the former seven-time world champion in Valencia four weeks ago was followed by a strong qualifying performance at Silverstone.

For the team, Hockenheim marks the second home race of the season for the team in back-to-back events. Silverstone marked the occasion as the track is close to the team’s headquarters, while Hockenheim hosts the German Grand Prix – home race for Mercedes-Benz.

Leading up to the race, Schumacher said: “This is the biggest race of the season for us for sure.

“We wanted to perform well at Silverstone because all of the family and friends of our hard-working staff come and cheer us on.

“However, the German Grand Prix is a massive event for Mercedes-Benz and we want to do well.

“Our season has been up and down and we need to find a consistent level to perform. For me the last two races have been much better and I really want that to continue at Hockenheim.

“We all know that we will have many fans cheering us on and we want to give them something to enjoy.

“Nico and I will be driving our Mercedes cars as fast as they can possibly go.”

Despite a recent run of bad results, Rosberg is still in with a shot at winning the world title despite sitting in sixth and 54 points behind the leader.

He added: “We want to be in a position to fight for a podium finish this weekend.

“We believe that is possible and when practice starts on Friday we will find out how good our pace is and how fast everyone else is as well.”

After a below-par British Grand Prix, the Silverstone-based Sahara Force India team are also hoping for a strong German Grand Prix.

Their driver Nico Hulkenberg said: “The German Grand Prix is always special for a German driver and I hope I will have a good weekend at my home race.

“I would like to leave the circuit on Sunday evening with a good number of championship points.”