Hockenheim a turning point for Alonso

July, 18, 2012
07/18/12
1:19
PM ET

The 10th round of the Formula One campaign means a stop at the Hockenheimring, a venue that featured considerable controversy upon F1's most recent visit, in 2010.

Although Fernando Alonso was declared the winner, the result cast Ferrari in a very negative light, as team orders had played a large role in Felipe Massa's relinquishing the overall lead. For Massa, it had the potential to be a very significant victory with Ferrari, and, had he won, it's anyone's guess as to how his career would have played out the next several seasons.

In reality, it has been Alonso who has shined since that day, winning six events since that controversial show compared with no wins by Massa. In addition, Alonso has tallied 515 points since, which dwarfs Massa's total of 200, and the Spaniard arguably has been the most impressive driver this year, considering that he is the only man to collect points in every grand prix so far this season.

He once again will look to excel in Hockenheim, Germany, at a circuit that is now a fraction of its former self in regard to distance. Once a venue that sent cars rocketing through the forest, the track is less than 3 miles after the long straights into the woods have been abandoned.

Still, it is generally held in high regard, especially by German drivers such as Nico Rosberg, as he explained to reporters, "Hockenheim is always very special for us, and especially for me. I was born in Wiesbaden, near Hockenheim, and I have really good memories of the previous Hockenheim races. Before my Formula One career, I won quite often at this circuit, and I will never forget my father's last DTM race in 1995. I joined him on the roof of his car driving through the Motodrom -- and that was the moment when I thought to myself, 'How cool is that?' and decided to become a racing driver like him."

It will mark a milestone event for two drivers, as Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen will be participating in their 100th grand prix weekend in Formula One. Hamilton is primed to become just the fourth McLaren driver (along with David Coulthard, Mika Hakkinen and Alain Prost) to reach 100 events with the constructor, and he is the only one of the four to start all of his first 100 career races solely with McLaren.

Hamilton arguably experienced more highs and lows in his first few seasons than many drivers do in the course of an entire career. In his rookie season, he missed the championship by a single point, but he was at the top by that very same margin the next year. It was a remarkable sequence of events, and it displayed his ability to fight back after coming so close to the ultimate achievement.

Now, his 100th grand prix comes amid discussions of his future, and he will have to decide whether he wishes to stay with the famed squad or pursue opportunities elsewhere.

Meanwhile, rumors continue to swirl pertaining to Vettel and a possible future with Ferrari. Although the constructor is undoubtedly the most successful in the sport's history, that has not been the case recently. Indeed, since the start of 2011, Vettel has outperformed the entire Ferrari team in some regards.

In that span, Vettel has nine more wins and five more podiums and even has earned nearly the same amount of points. Ferrari has made a bit of a comeback this year, thanks in part to Alonso's brilliance, but Red Bull is still the prime constructor, as indicated by its 64-point advantage in the standings.

But there are elements outside of performance, of course, and no doubt those could factor into Vettel's eventual decision.

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