Tales from the paddock: An emotional rollercoaster ride, from Le Castellet via Monza to Puebla

Jun 23, 2021
Stuttgart

Motorsport without end: The first Formula One triple-header of the season, untapped potential in Formula E and a successful comeback in the DTM

  • This is what happened: Results and facts
  • News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams

This is what happened: Results and facts

  • F1: Lewis Hamilton celebrates his 170th Formula One podium with a P2 in France
  • Formula E: The Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team continues to lead the team standings after nine of the fifteen races in the 2020/21 season
  • DTM: Three podium finishes for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 contingent in season opener at Monza
  • DTM Trophy: Two runner-up spots for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 at Monza
  • GTWCE Sprint Cup: Timur Boguslavskiy and Raffaele Marciello finish Race 1 at Zandvoort in P2
  • GT4 European Series: One win and a third place for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in Race 2 at Zandvoort

News snippets

From the Côte d’Azur to Steiermark: The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team began the first triple-header of the 2021 Formula One season with a second and a fourth place. After a one-year absence, the premier class of motorsport returned to the Circuit Paul Ricard last weekend. Lewis Hamilton qualified in P2, the same position he eventually ended the race in. Valtteri Bottas crossed the finish line in P4. For Lewis it was podium number 170 of his F1 career. The team has only a short time to analyse the data from the last race before they are back in action – the Styrian Grand Prix (named after the Austrian province of Steiermark) is due to be contested as early as next weekend, 25/27 June. As with last year’s season opener, the Red Bull Ring near Spielberg is hosting two consecutive races. Just one week after the Styrian GP, the Austrian Grand Prix will follow at the same venue. In the 2020 season, the team won both races: Valtteri won the first round, Lewis the second a week later. However, in the two previous years, the Red Bull Ring did not turn out to be a particularly favourable venue for the team, with Max Verstappen winning his team’s home race on both occasions. In total, the team has won six Grands Prix at Spielberg.

Untapped potential: Eight points on Saturday, zero on Sunday – from a Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team perspective, the first ever visit by the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship to the Autodromo Miguel E. Abed near Puebla could certainly have produced a more gratifying points haul. Although Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries came away empty-handed from the second race after a battling performance, the signs were there of untapped potential for future occasions. The usual challenges posed by a Formula E race weekend were amplified in Mexico by some unpredictable racing incidents and by exceptionally difficult track conditions in qualifying. In the first round of the Puebla E-Prix on Saturday, Stoffel and Nyck managed to claw their way back to seventh and ninth place with two strong recoveries. While Stoffel made up 14 positions in the course of the race, Nyck could have done even better if he had not been dropped to the back of the field early on after taking a hit from an opponent. In the second race on Sunday, both drivers were involved in collisions: Stoffel’s front wing was damaged shortly after the start, which compromised his pace, and Nyck had to retire after another driver hit his car from behind. Despite the low points haul in Mexico, the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team continues to top the team championship. However, the lead over second-placed DS Techeetah has shrunk to three points. Nyck and Stoffel are sixth and seventh in the drivers’ standings.

Double podium and tactical masterstroke in DTM curtain-raiser: Three podium finishes at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza ensured that Mercedes-AMG Motorsport got the DTM season off to a successful start. Mercedes-AMG Team HRT and Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD go into the next round at the Lausitzring (23 ‑ 25 July) second and fourth respectively in the team standings. HRT are just six points off the top spot after Vincent Abril (MCO) and Maximilian Götz (GER) finished second and third in the first race.   

One clear lesson to emerge from the season opener was that the outcome of the 2021 DTM will be heavily influenced by the different strategies employed. One of the Mercedes-AMG teams demonstrated in exemplary fashion on Sunday that sophisticated tactics paired with a competitive car can be the decisive factor. Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD saved a third set of tyres for Sunday. Lucas Auer (AUT) brought his #22 Mercedes-AMG GT3 into the pits early in the race and used fresh tyres to gain an advantage over the opposition who left their stop until later. This was the key move that enabled him to finish third on the podium after starting from seventh on the grid.  

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport also chalked up podium successes in the DTM Trophy, which was staged as part of the supporting programme. William Tregurtha (GBR) in the Mercedes-AMG GT4 of CV Performance Group finished second in both 35-minute races. 

Vital championship points in the GT World Challenge Europe: In the GT World Challenge Europe races contested at Circuit Zandvoort, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport registered further podium successes with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and maintained its title chances in the series. In the combined Sprint and Endurance Cup team standings, the AKKA ASP Customer Racing outfit occupies a promising second-place in the team championship. Second place on Saturday for the number 88 car driven by Timur Boguslavskiy (RUS) and Raffaele Marciello (ITA) earned valuable points, as did pole position on Sunday for Marciello and the two sixth places for the #87 on Saturday and the #89 on Sunday. And as a bonus result, the crew of the number 88 also came out on top in the Pit Stop Challenge for the fastest pit stops.

SPS automotive performance, who compete in the Pro-Am class, are also well positioned in the championship. After twelve successive races in which they have finished second or third, Dominik Baumann (AUT) and Valentin Pierburg (GER) in the number 20 the Mercedes-AMG GT3 were at last able to celebrate the elusive class win on this legendary dune circuit. It is a result that takes them to the top of the Sprint Cup class. The championship battle in the strongly contested GT series will continue on the weekend of 2 - 4 July at Misano in Italy with two Sprint Cup races.

Race and class wins for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the Mercedes-AMG GT4: The Customer Racing teams put in a dominant display in the second race of the GT4 European Series at Circuit Zandvoort with a victory, a one-two in the Silver Cup and six Mercedes-AMG GT4s in the Top Ten. Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Jim Pla (both FRA) in the #87 AKKA ASP car started from pole and delivered a commanding lights-to-flag victory. Meanwhile, Timothé Buret and Paul Evrard (both FRA) in the number 89 sister car finished third overall, which was enough to move them up to first place in the Silver Cup classification. Directly behind them in fourth place was the number 15 of NM Racing driven by Lluc Ibañez and Xavier Lloveras (both ESP), who thus made it a one-two in the Silver Cup for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. Sixth-placed Luca Bosco (ITA) and O' Neill Muth (BEL) in the number 34 car of Selleslagh Racing contributed another class podium with a P3 in the Pro-Am category. They had already finished second in their classification in the first race in the morning. In the second race, Benjamin Ricci (FRA) and Mauro Ricci (ITA) in the #61 of AKKA ASP were runners-up in the Am class.

In the second round of the International GT Open at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Jens Liebhauser and Florian Scholze (both GER) in the #14 AKM Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 extended their championship lead in the Am class. The duo finished a respectable seventh and eighth overall in the two races on the rollercoaster in the Belgian Ardennes, celebrating class wins two and three of the current season.

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