Tales from the paddock – Thomas Jäger: “Everyone is looking forward to this race!”

Apr 18, 2018

Preparations for the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring have gone exceptionally well, with Mercedes-AMG Motorsport taking P1 and P3 in the ADAC qualification race. We talked to Thomas Jäger, one of the drivers of the winning number 5 car entered by Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON.

  • This is what happened: Weekend results and facts
  • News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams
  • Three questions for Thomas Jäger
  • Social media news: What’s new online?

This is what happened: Results and facts

  • Formula 1: Valtteri Bottas finishes as runner-up in his 100th Formula 1 race, while the team takes the lead in the constructors’ championship
  • 24h Nürburgring: Luca Stolz, Thomas Jäger, Yelmer Buurman and Jan Seyffarth win the qualification race. Daniel Juncadella, Edoardo Mortara, Renger van der Zande and Dominik Baumann come third.
  • Blancpain GT Series Asia: Two victories for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 at Sepang. Nico Bastian and Patric Niederhauser are winners in the first race, Brice Bosi and Raffaele Marciello in the second.
  • Australian Endurance Championship: Max Twigg and Tony D’Alberto in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 triumph at Bend Motorsport Park

News snippets

Stat-Attack – China GP: The Chinese Grand Prix was characterised by thrilling wheel-to-wheel encounters, spectacular overtaking moves and a winner nobody saw coming in the first half of the race. And although the team left Shanghai still looking for a first victory of the season, China was also where some new milestones were passed, putting the team and the two drivers into the statistics books. The Shanghai race was Valtteri Bottas’s 100th Formula 1 Grand Prix. His P2 finish brought him a 24th podium in the premier class and the 15th in a Silver Arrow. It was also a 20th podium for the team in the Chinese Grand Prix which has been contested since 2004. Lewis Hamilton narrowly missed out on the podium in fourth place but still managed to set a new Formula 1 record for 28 Top Ten results in succession. His sequence of points-scoring finishes began with the 2016 Japan Grand Prix.

Test summary: The start of the DTM season is getting ever closer. Last week (9th ‑ 12th April), the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Team completed their last test before the season opener at Hockenheim (4th - 6th May). Between Monday and Thursday, the 18 drivers representing the three manufacturers put in a total of 4,629 laps – equivalent to 21,173 kilometres. Of these, 1,606 laps (7,346 km) were driven by the six-man Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM squad – more than either of the other two manufacturers and slightly more than in the previous winter test in 2017 at the same venue. Pascal Wehrlein, who was back in a DTM car at Hockenheim for the first time since winning the title in 2015, put in more laps than anyone else. His 319 laps (1,459 km) made him the busiest driver of the test week.

Four victories in two races: GruppeM Racing Team were delighted with their start to the Blancpain GT Series Asia. Nico Bastian (GER) and Patric Niederhauser (SUI) driving the number 999 Mercedes AMG GT3 claimed victory in the first of the two 60-minute races. In the second race of the weekend, the win went to the number 888 sister car with Brice Bosi (LUX) and Raffaele Marciello (ITA) at the wheel. The team success was enhanced by a further victory: Reinhold Renger (GER) and Russell Ward (USA) secured a first victory in class of the season for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 on Saturday. The second such victory of the campaign followed on Sunday, this time for Gilles Vannelet (FRA) and Ringo Chong (SIN) in the Mercedes-AMG GT4 entered by Team iRace.Win.

Great start Down Under: In the 2018 Australia Endurance Championship 2018, the first victory of the season went to a Customer Racing Team. After 78 thrilling laps of Bend Motorsport Park, the number 8 Mercedes-AMG GT3 was the first car to cross the finish line, scoring a victory for Max Twigg and Tony D’A lberto (both AUS) and for the WM Waste Management team of Scott Taylor Motorsport.

Five Top Ten finishers in the ADAC GT Masters: The new season of the ADAC GT Masters has got underway at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. Despite having to contend with difficult track conditions in the first two rounds of the Super Sports Car League, the six Mercedes-AMG GT3 crews put in a creditable performance. The best result of the Affalterbach contingent was achieved by Sebastian Asch and Luca Stolz (both GER) in a car entered by Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing – they narrowly missed out on the podium on Saturday with a fourth-place finish. There were four more Top Ten results on the first race weekend registered by Indy Dontje (NED) and Maximilian Buhk (GER) and by Maximilian Götz and Markus Pommer (both GER) in the two MANN-FILTER Team HTP cars and by Lance David Arnold and Christopher Friedrich (both GER) of Car Collection Motorsport. Friedrich, who finished sixth in the general classification in Race 2, won the Junior trophy for drivers under 25 years of age.

Three questions for Thomas Jäger

Thomas, a victory in the dress rehearsal – is that generally a good or a bad omen?

Thomas Jäger: I’m not superstitious. In any case, it is a fabulous result to round off our preparations. The race was a good indication of what we’re in for in the 24-hour race. We had to go full throttle and it was a close-fought battle for victory. The fact that we ended up on the top rung of the podium is obviously fantastic.

How do you rate the opposition?

Thomas Jäger: In the qualification race, we saw that there is very little separating the top teams. The performance level of the different manufacturers is enormously high. The lap times were similar, and there was plenty of spectacular wheel-to-wheel action on the track. I’m hoping that the 24-hour race itself will be an equally well-matched affair. Of course, there are some imponderables over the long distance. But I am full of confidence for our teams and for the Mercedes-AMG GT3. We have seen in the past that this car is extremely reliable and hardy in endurance events.

What can you tell us about the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport driver line-up for the 24-hour race?

Thomas Jäger: We expect to see seven Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the starting line-up, all of them with strong crews. For Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON, we have a car with three winners of the equivalent race in 2016 – Adam Christodoulou, Maro Engel and Manuel Metzger – plus Dirk Müller who is himself a previous 24-hour race winner. I will be sharing a cockpit with Yelmer Buurman, Jan Seyffarth and Luca Stolz. At Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport, they have Daniel Juncadella and Edoardo Mortara, who are currently competing for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport in the DTM, together with Dominik Baumann and Renger van der Zande who is also named for the team’s second Performance vehicle. The other three drivers in that car are Indy Dontje, Maximilian Götz and Christian Hohenadel. The three Customer Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3s also have experienced drivers. But perhaps even more importantly, everyone is looking forward to this race!

Social Media News

#TheDetour: Thursday night – Lewis – Shanghai – a camera – and lots of gifts. That was our detour. Lewis thanked his Chinese fans for their support and left concealed gifts for them all over the city...

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bec6oevCo4M

#100GP: Honest and frank – that’s how we imagine our fast Finns to be. Valtteri Bottas talks about his 100 Formula 1 races to date.

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

#Journey: Pack your bags and get ready for a journey around the world with our PETRONAS Motorsport Technical Support Engineer. Find out what it really means to be part of a team.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTbojli1Qe4

Tales from the paddock – Thomas Jäger
Tales from the paddock – Thomas Jäger