Around the Nurburgring with Adrian Sutil
Spyker rookie driver Adrian Sutil heads into his home grand prix this weekend hopeful of a strong showing in front of his loyal local fans. One of just five German’s on this year’s grid, it will be a special occasion as he lines up for the first home race and here he talks us around a lap of the famous Nurburgring circuit….
Traction is very important at the Nurburgring, and during the race it’s very hard for the rear tires. We’ve had nine dry races this year, and it would be very interesting to have a wet race now. At the Nurburgring the weather can change very quickly! I’m happy with both options, but I think our chances will better if it rains…
The first corner is a tight hairpin. You’re braking a little bit blind because it goes over a little bump, you can’t really see the apex. You brake very late and go down to second gear. It’s quite an interesting corner for the start, as normally there’s always an accident! Then you go in the new Mercedes arena. It’s a very tricky sector, because there’s a lefthander that’s blind, and you can’t really see when you have to turn in. Then you go downhill and brake for the next lefthander, which is second gear. It’s a really tight one and it’s very important to have a good exit for the following right-hander, which is flat. Then you go on a small straight, so you need to carry a lot of speed.
You are now back on the old circuit, and you come to a complex. There’s a really quick lefthander down the hill, taken in fifth gear, followed by the right-hander which is in third. You have to make a compromise, either going in very fast into the first one, or going in a little bit slower in the first one and then carrying a lot of speed out of the second one onto the straight. There are always two different lines. I think they’re both nearly the same, but it’s not the easiest combination.
Then you go down the hill to the Dunlop Hairpin. It’s a very long corner, even more than 180 degrees – probably about 200 degrees, because it closes a little bit down in the end. It’s important to carry a lot of speed into this corner because it’s so long, and that’s where you will make the time. Maybe it’s not so important to brake as late as possible, just to make sure you have some good apex speed. It’s taken in second gear.
You have to be very early on the power because it goes up the hill, so you need absolutely every extra rev to carry more speed to gain some time up the hill. Then there’s the left/right chicane, which is very easy flat these days. You’re in sixth gear, changing to seventh already. With the V10 it was more of a challenge, but with more downforce and not so much horsepower, it’s easier.
Then there’s another left/right combination. They are very quick corners, and a little bit banked, so you’re very, very fast there. You’re taking them in fourth gear, and you can do both at the maximum. You don’t need to save something in the first for the second one or whatever, you just go as quickly as possible through the first one. It’s followed by a really nice straight, with a little kink. You get up to seventh and then you arrive at the chicane. The nice thing there is that the braking area is up the hill, so you can brake very late. You’re arriving there at 300km/h, and you’re braking at maybe 65-70 meters for a chicane which is taken at about 80km/h at the apex.
It’s really hard deceleration, and it’s an absolutely fantastic feeling to brake so late. You’re in second gear again, and you have to be careful because they’ve changed the curbs over the years and you can’t really attack them any more, because otherwise your front wing will be broken. There’s a quick exit and you accelerate to fourth gear, and then there’s the last corner. It’s a long right-hander that is taken in third, and is very difficult. You just touch the brakes a little bit and carry a lot of speed in, and you go back on the power and run really wide onto the big curbs on the outside.
In my experience it’s one of the most difficult corners, because if you go in too quickly you get understeer in the middle, and sometimes you have a little bit of oversteer in the entry. It’s really easy to make a mistake in this corner and lose some time.