Vettel not concerned by July ‘curse’

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The statistic that is currently doing the rounds in the Formula One paddock is that Sebastian Vettel is yet to win a grand prix in the month of July. This yearly set of whispers takes on extra importance at the world champion’s home grand prix, yet he is unconcerned by this minor blot on his otherwise-excellent CV.

“I think it was much more important what we have achieved the last four years and the last three years in particular.

“So, yeah, I think we’ve have good races in the past here but also in Hockenheim. So in Germany in general. Was always close but not good enough to win yet, but I hope I have a little bit of time left to try again.”

‘A little bit of time’ may be an understatement, considering that Vettel only turned 26 on Wednesday. He then spoke of how special it was to race in front of his home fans.

“Obviously it’s great to come back and especially the last couple of years with more and more people supporting the team, supporting myself. It’s great to come back and really get a feeling of a true home grand prix. So, I’m looking forward to this weekend, looking forward to the support from the fans.”

This will be Vettel’s sixth German Grand Prix, having finished 2nd in 2009 and 3rd the following year.

Teammates James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens earn top-fives at Barber

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For the first time this season, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammates James Hinchcilffe and Robert Wickens earned top-five finishes in the same race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

Hinchcliffe finished third in the Grand Prix of Alabama; Wickens was one spot behind in fourth.

Wickens had one previous podium at Phoenix with his second-place finish. Hinchcliffe’s best result was a fourth in the season-opener in St Petersburg, Fla., so this marked his first podium of the year.

Both drivers needed a little help from the rain.

As precipitation began to fall in the closing stages of the race, Hinchliffe asked his team on a couple of occasions if it was wet enough to pit for rain tires. He was told twice to stay out and was then called into to the pits at the optimal time.

“Solid weekend for us after coming here before – not a great test,” Hinchcliffe said. “Two cars in the top 10 qualifying; two cars, top five in the race. Pretty proud of these boys, everybody on the Arrow car.”

The rain helped Wickens’ race strategy come together.

“I was having to save a lot of fuel in that second stint,” Wickens said. “So once (Scott) Dixon starting getting close to me I was thinking ‘Oh God, I’m going to actually have to give this one up.’ And then the rain came, so the fuel mileage happened naturally. So, yeah, it saved us a bit.”

And while both were pleased with their top-five finishes, drivers are rarely satisfied unless they are standing on the top step of the podium.

Wickens’ top-five finish was hard-fought. After winning the pole at St Petersburg and starting sixth at Phoenix, he failed to advance to the Fast 6 in back-to-back races at Long Beach and Barber – qualifying 10th both times.

“I was a little gutted that we came out in a big bunch of traffic,” Wickens continued. “It made the race fun, but a little frustrating as well because of people off sequence and whatnot. We lost a lot of track position there. Both of us could have been fighting for higher steps on the podium, but we need to do a little better job in qualifying. “