Tales from the paddock: High-speed racing at Monza; dress rehearsal at the Nürburgring

Sep 2, 2020

While the Formula One teams and drivers were embarking on the third of three triple-headers in the 2020 season, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport completed a successful dress rehearsal for the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring

  • This is what happened: Results and facts
  • News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams
  • Social media news: What’s new online?

This is what happened: Results and facts

  • Formula 1: One-two victory for Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps
  • NLS: Two Top Ten finishes for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in dry run for the 24-race
  • British GT Championship: Mercedes-AMG GT3 pairing of Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie on the podium at Brands Hatch
  • GT World Challenge America: Indy Dontje and Russell Ward are runners-up in the two Road America races

News snippets

Facts & Figures from Spa: Formula One launched into the third triple-header of the 2020 season last weekend on the iconic rollercoaster circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes Forest. The seventh qualifying session of the year brought Lewis Hamilton his 93rd pole position in 257 Grand Prix starts. Lining up alongside was team-mate Valtteri Bottas in his first ever front-row start at Spa. On Sunday, Lewis chalked up the team’s first victory in the Belgian Grand Prix since 2017, while Valtteri made it a perfect weekend with second place and his best result in Belgium so far. It was also the 50th one-two victory for Mercedes since the return of the brand as a works team in 2010 and the 89th Formula 1 victory of Lewis's career, which puts him just two victories behind record race winner Michael Schumacher (91 victories).

Monza, here we come: One tradition-steeped venue follows another, as the Royal Park of Monza prepares to host the Italian Grand Prix next weekend. One year ago, the home track for Scuderia Ferrari saw Charles Leclerc celebrate his second Grand Prix victory in seven days. Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton are currently tied for the top spot among the most successful drivers at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza on five victories each. Heading the leaderboard for qualifying on the 5.79km track is Lewis on six pole positions ahead of F1 legends Juan Manuel Fangio and Ayrton Senna (five Monza poles each). Mercedes are the third most successful team on the high-speed track in Italy with a tally of seven wins behind Ferrari (19 wins) and McLaren (10 wins). Cars with Mercedes-Benz engines have achieved a grand total of twelve victories in the Italian Grand Prix. Here too, Ferrari top the table on 20 victories. The track record in qualifying is 1:19.119 minutes (Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari, Q3 2018), while the fastest race lap is held by Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari 2004) in a time of 1:21.046 minutes. Last year, Lewis set the fastest lap of the Grand Prix in 1:21.779 minutes - the third fastest time overall and the fastest since 2005.

Instructive dress rehearsal for the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring: The six-hour race of the Nürburgring Endurance Series was not only the standout fixture of the 2020 Nordschleife Series, but also the last opportunity for Customer Racing teams to put in some valuable test kilometres ahead of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring (24 - 27 September). Seven Mercedes-AMG GT3s, including four with extended factory support, made good use of the fifth round of the season to prepare for the biggest draw of the year in three weeks’ time. Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed had the best result of the weekend: Maximilian Buhk (GER), Maximilian Götz (GER), Raffaele Marciello (ITA) and Fabian Schiller (GER) in the number 2 Mercedes-AMG GT3 crossed the line in fourth place at the end of a gruelling six hours. Mercedes-AMG Team HRT delivered a second Top Ten result: thanks to a flawless performance and a shrewd pit stop strategy, Nico Bastian (GER), Philip Ellis (GBR), Hubert Haupt (GER) and Gabriele Piana (ITA) in the number 17 car advanced from 16th on the grid to finish sixth after 41 laps of the 24.35km track.

The Mercedes-AMG GT4 of the BLACK FALCON Team TEXTAR reasserted its dominance in the SP8T class with a fifth victory in as many races. “The driver known as Max”, Marco Müller, Stephan Rösler (all GER) and Tristan Viidas (EST) in the number 155 car recorded their latest class win on Saturday. Third place in SP8T went to Team Hangar Zero by J.v.O. Autosport with their line-up of Phil Hill (GER), Célia Martin (FRA) and Kaj Schubert (DEN).

Podiums in the GT World Challenge America: The Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams made three podium appearances in the two GT World Challenge America races on the Road America circuit at Plymouth. Indy Dontje (NED) and Russel Ward (USA) in the number 33 Winward Racing car were runners-up on both Saturday and Sunday. In the first race of the weekend, the duo also laid down a special milestone for Customer Racing with the 200th pole position in the history of the Mercedes-AMG GT3. In the second of the two 90-minute races, the number 04 Mercedes-AMG GT3 fielded by DXDT Racing also finished in the Top Three. This is was enough for Colin Braun and George Kurtz (both USA) to secure victory in their class ahead of the number 63 sister car (David Askew / Ryan Dalziel) and score valuable points towards the Manufacturers’ Championship of the GT World Challenge.

Rearden Racing in the shape of driver duo John Allen and Kris Wilson (both USA) also celebrated victory in their class in the second of three SprintX races, which were contested at the same venue in the context of the Pirelli GT4 America.

Podium finish and class wins in the British GT Championship: In the fifth race of the 2020 British GT Championship season at Brands Hatch, the RAM Racing duo of Yelmer Buurman (NED) and Ian Loggie (GBR) driving the number 6 Mercedes-AMG GT3 made it onto the podium in third place, a result that also secured them victory in the GT3 ProAm class. The number 69 sister car of RAM Racing car and the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Team ABBA Racing driven by Richard and Sam Neary (both GBR) finished third in their respective classes.

Further successes with the Mercedes-AMG GT4: Nova Race took class victory with the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the Italian GT Championship event at Imola. Luca Magnoni and Tobia Zarpellon (both ITA) finished the three‑hour race in the number 277 car as best in class and were joined on the podium by the crew of the sister car (#207) in third place.

There was also podium finish for a Mercedes-AMG GT4 to celebrate in the Campeonato de España Resistencia at Valencia. Jesús A De Martin Muñoz and Rafael Villanueva in the number 126 car of NM Racing Team were runners-up in class.

Social Media News

#Surprise: Last year our team partner Bose surprised La’Trai in a video. Lewis Hamilton invited him to visit the team in Silverstone this year. Unfortunately, this was not possible, so the champion gave him a personal - albeit virtual - garage tour.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIKEFDgqnMQ

#60Seconds: In the latest episode of our My Job in 60 Seconds series, we introduce team photographer Steve, who has been taking pictures for us since 2010. From Schumacher to Senna and from Hamilton to Häkkinen, Steve has photographed all the great names of Formula One in the course of his impressive career.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC1QKR5zBLg