The four-time world champion’s error-ridden season reached boiling point at the British Grand Prix, after colliding with Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.
He returns to a track where an unfortunate lapse in concentration, not only cost him momentum in the race for the championship but was also the first error in a series of costly mistakes up to now.
Midway through the season, Vettel finds himself a staggering 100-points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who in the form of his life, clinched an unrivalled seventh victory of the season and a record sixth home race win.
“You think you’d get used to something like that, but it feels like the first time”, the 34-year-old said. “Jeez, I couldn’t have done it without these guys (the fans) and my team.
“There’s nearly 2,000 people who make this possible and I’m just a chink in the chain and I’m super proud to be a part of this.”
Hosting its first Grand Prix in 1970, the Hockenheim circuit is 4.574km long and has cemented its place in the furniture of Formula 1.
The demanding track begins with a fast-right hander that last year saw Charles Leclerc complete a 360-degree spin in style, after mounting the outside kerb.
The key overtaking zone will be at the Turn 6 hairpin after the long straight with DRS assistance will test the ‘last of the late breakers.
The weather could be the deciding factor ahead of the German Grand Prix. Friday should see temperatures soar with up to 38°C air temperature in practice, followed by similar conditions for qualifying. A stormy Sunday could cause challenging conditions, with ‘unpredictable’ the word of the weekend.
What happened last year?
In 2018, polesitter Vettel was in a commanding position at the front of the field, as his championship rival Hamilton was busy fighting his way back through the grid after a disastrous qualifying saw the Brit outside the top ten.
The race, and in hindsight the championship, turned on its head after Vettel helplessly drifted into the gravel trap with Hamilton remarkably clinching victory that day.
Valtteri Bottas had the pace to clinch his first victory of the season but was controversially instructed by the Mercedes team to hold position, a decision that confirmed the Finn as second fiddle to Hamilton.
The unpredictable weather from last year looks set to return and could shake up the grid once more.
When can I watch it?
Free practice 1: 10:00 – 11:30
Free practice 2: 14:00 – 15:30
Free practice 3: 11:00 – 12:00
Qualifying: 14:00 – 15:00
All times BST.