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German drivers eying rare success in home GP

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HOCKENHEIM, Germany (AP) — None of the Germans competing in Formula One this season have won the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, giving Nico Rosberg another incentive on Sunday.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel’s win on the Nurburgring circuit last year was his first German GP victory, highlighting the difficulty German drivers seem to have in triumphing at home.

Vettel is one of just three German drivers to have claimed victories on home soil in 60 German GPs. Michael Schumacher’s four wins are more than any other driver, while his younger brother Ralf had one triumph in 2001.

Neither Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) nor Adrian Sutil (Sauber) are likely to win on Sunday, but the other competing Germans, Rosberg and, to a lesser extent, Vettel, have hopes of the victory.

“Last year was special. I tried many times before so it was definitely a good feeling to succeed,” Vettel said on Thursday. “This year should be a very good weekend. Mostly good weather forecast and obviously the whole of Germany still has the German flags from the World Cup around. It would be nice to see a lot of those on the track.”

Vettel’s championship defense has not gone to plan, however. He’s failed to finish one third of his races, and claimed only two podium places from nine GPs.

“Of course we are not the favorites going into the weekend but there’s always a chance of winning,” Vettel said. “For sure, this circuit is very special to me because my home town (Heppenheim) is only 30 minutes from here, it’s where I grew up. I also started go-karting not far from here, just around the corner, so a lot of memories.”

Rosberg leads the drivers’ championship by just four points from teammate Lewis Hamilton. Yet he maintained he was not feeling additional pressure after a momentous week in which he got married and signed a contract extension with Mercedes.

“We also became world champions, which was awesome. In terms of the championship, how do I see it? I just see it as the next race, which is Hockenheim,” he said.

“I really look forward to driving here. I’m here to win, of course. I’m here to try to extend the championship lead. That’s where it ends for me.”