Sebastian Vettel arrived at the German Grand Prix expected to tick another box on his F1 to-do list: that of a home race victory.
But from the off things didn’t go to plan, as Vettel endured a distinctly flat weekend, qualifying off the front row for the first time this season and taking the chequered flag a rather average fourth.
So who else has rocked up at their home event expected to rule the roost only to fade under the pressure of national expectancy or suffer the cruelest of bad luck? The Badgerometer is here to find out…
In at five is Jenson Button and his hugely disappointing 2009 British Grand Prix. He’d dominated the opening races of the season, his Brawn car proving untouchable, and he seem rejuvenated as a driver, clearly beating teammate Barrichello in the process. But then, along came Silverstone, with over 300,000 fans, the majority wearing the distinctive white, black and fluorescent yellow caps, looking for a second home win for a British driver in two years (Hamilton did the business in a rainy 2008).
It wasn’t to be. His previous domination appeared to be a distant memory – he finished the race not in 1st, or either of the other podium steps, but down in 6th. Barrichello kept the Brawn points-haul going with a 3rd, but the hopes of a home win that British fans were looking for were dashed.
Since his brilliant performance there at the wheel of a Minardi in 2002 Mark Webber has tended to make a bit of a mess of things at his home grand prix. 2010 stands out especially, as Mark had a mega car and qualified well but still ended up coming home ninth and with bits of McLaren lodged in his chassis.
He dropped a position at the start before an ill-judged tyre change dropped him to sixth. He then went off trying to pass Lewis Hamilton, dropping him to eighth, but then recovered, passing a number of cars to run fifth.
Then came the late race collision, as he nurfed Hamilton in to the gravel and followed the McLaren in for good measure. He needed a new nose, got a slap on the wrists from the stewards and duly finished a lacklustre ninth.
And, of course, he’s still never bettered that fifth place he scored back in ’02.
We’ve got to hit you with a tragic one now: Jochen Rindt arrived at his home grand prix in 1970 on top of the world. He was the clear championship leader after winning the previous four races, and was naturally favourite to triumph on home soil. He scored pole, but his engine expired 20 laps in, robbing him of a shot at victory.
Whilst disappointed, Ridnt could have been forgiven for thinking he’d get another crack at his home event but it was not to be: he died just three weeks later at the Italian Grand Prix, eventually becoming F1’s only posthumous champion.
After coming so close in 1996, 1997 was Jacques Villeneuve’s year and he ended up as World Champion (in spite of some pretty major attempts to stop him from a certain legendary German).
As well as grabbing his first and only F1 title in ’97, Jacques was also looking to make amends for his previous outing at the Canadian Grand Prix and give his fans a home victory – but it wasn’t too be…
…in fact he didn’t even get near the chequered flag, retiring from the race on only the 2nd lap. The first lap was eventful for Irvine, Magnussen and Hakkinen too – here’s how it all went a bit wrong for them and Jacques, who fittingly left the race after a meeting with the ‘wall of champions.’
While your mind’s back on ’97, the podium for the the Canadian GP was Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), Jean Alesi (Benneton) and Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan) – great times.
Rubens Barrichello has several nightmare home grand prix on his CV. Of his first ten home races Rubens finished a grand total of one (1994). 2004 saw him finish third, but having started from pole this too was a poor result. And in 2009, on pole again, he finished ninth.
Of all these nightmares we’ve picked 2003 as the worst. Rubens started from pole aboard the Ferrari, lost the lead at the start, then caught and passed David Coulthard. Rubens was now on fire, setting a series of several fastest laps to lead by over twenty seconds.
Then, naturally, on lap 47 Barrichello’s car ground to a halt, a problem with his fuel system having shut the Ferrari down. Rather than trudge back to the garage he watched the remainder of the race – which ended in total chaos – from the marshal’s post he’d stopped near, alone with his thoughts.