Rival LeWIS Hamilton went on to win his home race – his sixth win there.
By contrast, Vettel has won the German GP just once before.
That was back in 2013, when he was driving for Red Bull.
Last year, Vettel started the race on pole but crashed out from the lead. It was a race that also appeared to signal the start of a catalogue of race-costing errors he has made over the last 12 months.
Vettel is 100 points behind drivers’ championship leader Hamilton, who has backed Vettel to rediscover his form.
“I absolutely believe he’ll rebound,” the 34-year-old Briton said. “You look at the greats playing Tennis and he is one of those [in F1]. He’s had a difficult race, but he’s a four-time world champion.
“He will recover. He will redeem himself if he feels he needs to, and he will come back stronger the next race. That’s what great athletes do.”
What’s the form guide before the race?
It is almost a year since 32-year-old Vettel, who has slipped to fourth in the championship, last won a race.
That was at the Belgian Grand Prix on 26 August when he beat pole sitter Hamilton to victory.
Hamilton heads to Germany this weekend looking to claim a sixth win in his last seven races and increase his drivers’ championship lead, which stands at 39 points.
Hamilton is the most successful current driver in Germany with four wins. No other active driver has won the race more than once.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, will be hoping to convert a run of podium finishes into a first career victory. He has finished in the top three in each of the last four races.
What have the drivers been up to since the British GP
From 26 to 28 July BBC Sport has live coverage of practice, qualifying and the race across the BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra, plus live digital coverage on the BBC Sport website and app – including audience interaction, expert analysis, debate, voting, features, interviews and audio content.
|German Grand Prix coverage details|
|Date||Session||Time||Radio coverage||Online text commentary|
|Chequered Flag podcast: German Grand Prix review – download here once the race has finished|
|Thursday, 25 July||Preview||19:30-20:30 – Download here once the programme has aired||BBC Radio 5 Live|
|Friday, 26 July||First practice||11:00-12:30||BBC Sport online||From 10:30|
|Second practice||15:00-16:30||BBC Sport online||From 14:30|
|Saturday, 27 July||Final practice||12:00-13:00||BBC Sport online||From 11:30|
|Qualifying||14:00-15:05||BBC Radio 5 Live||From 13:00|
|Sunday, 28 July||Race||14:00-16:00||BBC Radio 5 Live||From 12:30|