Tales from the paddock: Maximilian Buhk: "You have to drive, drive and drive as fast as you can"

Jul 28, 2021

It's just one huge occasion after another in motor racing at the moment: Following two podium finishes for Mercedes-EQ in London and two wins for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 at the Lausitzring, we move straight on to the Hungaroring and Spa-Francorchamps.

  • This is what happened: Results and facts
  • News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams
  • Three questions for Maximilian Buhk
  • Social media news: What's new online?

This is what happened: Results and facts

  • Formula E: A podium for the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team in each of the two London rounds
  • DTM: Philip Ellis and Maximilian Götz win both races at the Lausitzring
  • DTM Trophy: One win and an additional podium for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 at the Lausitzring
  • GT4 France: Mercedes-AMG GT4 one-two in the first race at Spa-Francorchamps, plus another Top Three finish in race two
  • International GT Open: One win and one podium on the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari at Imola

Hungary, here we come: The Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend (30 July ‑ 1 August) is also the last track outing before the summer break. It will be the 36th time that the Hungaroring has hosted a Formula One race. Lewis Hamilton has lifted the winner's trophy at the circuit on the outskirts of Budapest in each of the past three years. His tally of eight victories also makes him the most successful contestant in this particular fixture ahead of Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna on four and three wins respectively. In the 2013 season, Lewis enjoyed his first success in a works Silver Arrow at the Hungaroring, and before that in 2009, he registered an historic maiden F1 victory for a hybrid engine driving a McLaren-Mercedes. Lewis also holds the track record of 1:13.447 minutes (achieved in 2020) as well as the record for the fastest race lap (1:16.627 minutes, also from the 2020 season). The most successful outfit in the Hungarian Grand Prix is McLaren who have eleven winners' trophies on display at team HQ, ahead of Williams and Ferrari on seven each. The Mercedes works team has won five times at the Hungaroring so far.

Facts & figures from London: The penultimate race weekend of the 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship took the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team to London last weekend. Rounds 12 and 13 of the season were contested on the new ExCeL Circuit. After a recent run of disappointing results, the London E-Prix saw the team back on the podium in both races. Nyck de Vries took the runner-up spot on Saturday and on Sunday, securing his fourth and fifth podium finishes in the all-electric racing series. His team-mate was meanwhile experiencing a frustrating day. On Sunday, Stoffel Vandoorne started the second race from pole position and led the E-Prix until the midway point, when he was hit by Oliver Rowland's car and subsequently dropped back to 15th place. The team's UK home race in London is followed by another home fixture in Germany, the double-header in Berlin on the weekend of 14 ‑ 15 August. Ahead of the season finale, Virgin Racing lead the team standings by seven points ahead of Mercedes-EQ in second place. Nyck tops the drivers' standings, six points ahead of second-placed Robin Frijns. So everything is still open in both championships as we head to the season finale.

Double triumph takes Mercedes to the top of the DTM manufacturers' championship: As early as the opening weekend of the campaign, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD and Mercedes-AMG Team HRT had chalked up Top Three finishes to ensure a successful return to the DTM for the brand. In the second fixture on the 2021 calendar hosted by the Lausitzring, the teams did even better. Philip Ellis (SUI) secured his first DTM victory on Saturday in the number 57 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD. For Mercedes-AMG Motorsport, it also constituted the first triumph in the DTM since 25 August 2018. This was followed on Sunday by Maximilian Götz (GER) in the number 4 car of Mercedes-AMG Team HRT recording his first ever victory in the DTM and ensuring that Mercedes came away from the weekend with both wins. The teams fielding Mercedes-AMG GT3s delivered no fewer than seven Top Ten finishes in the two races. On the basis of these solid results, Mercedes-AMG now leads the manufacturers' standings in the series by a margin of 27 points.

An Affalterbach-built car also crossed the finish line first in the DTM Trophy, staged as part of the supporting programme. William Tregurtha (GBR) driving the number 48 Mercedes-AMG GT4 of CV Performance Group won the second race on Sunday. Together with his P3 on Saturday, the result was enough to take Tregurtha to the top of the drivers' standings.

Strong line-up for season highlight in Spa: The TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa (29 July ‑ 1 August) is one of the standout occasions in GT racing. At the world's largest race exclusively for GT3 cars, Mercedes-AMG will field a 13‑strong line-up and have more representation than any other manufacturer on the grid. Against the spectacular backdrop of the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, the teams will be aiming for a first Mercedes victory in the 24-hour race since 2013, when the winners were Maximilian Buhk, Maximilian Götz and Bernd Schneider (all GER) in an SLS AMG GT3 entered by HTP Motorsport. Buhk and Götz will be back in action again for this 73rd running of the event, sharing the cockpit of the #50 Mercedes-AMG GT3 fielded by Team HubAuto with Yelmer Buurman (NED). The car will feature the same livery as 50 years ago in 1971, when the Mercedes 300 SEL 6.8 AMG sensationally finished second overall and winner in its class.

Race wins in GT4 France and International GT Open: Just one week before the season highlight at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, the Customer Racing Teams were enjoying successes on the Ardennes rollercoaster. NM Racing gave Mercedes-AMG Motorsport its first win of the 2021 GT4 France on Saturday. Christopher Campbell (FRA) and Lluc Ibañez (ESP) in the number 15 car worked their way to the front of the field from ninth on the grid, where they proceeded to scrap for victory with Ludovic Badey and Thomas Drouet (both FRA) in the AKKA ASP Team #16. At the finish line, the two Mercedes-AMG GT4s were separated by just 0.116 seconds. The AKKA ASP Team #81 finished fourth in a strong all-round team performance.

Badey and Drouet also took P3 in the second race on Sunday, which also secured them first place in the Pro-Am class. The Jouffruit by Vic' #64 and the AKKA ASP #87 in second and third place respectively ensured a podium lockout for Mercedes-AMG GT4s in this category. Timothé Buret and Paul Evrard (both FRA) in the AKKA ASP #88 provided two further class podiums, finishing third in the Silver Cup on both days.

In the fourth round of the International GT Open, Loris Spinelli (ITA) claimed a second consecutive victory for AKM Motorsport. Driving solo in the number 47 Mercedes-AMG GT3, he won the first of the two races at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. He also made it onto the podium in third place in the second race. Jens Liebhauser and Florian Scholze (GER) driving the number 14 sister car secured their fourth and fifth wins of the season in the Am class. 

Three questions for Maximilian Buhk

Maximilian Buhk was just 20 years of age when he recorded one of the biggest triumphs of his career. Together with Maximilian Götz and Bernd Schneider, he won the 24 Hours of Spa in 2013 driving an SLS AMG GT3 for HTP Motorsport. He still has the distinction of being the youngest winner of this race. Eight years later, Buhk is back in action on the legendary track in Belgium driving the #50 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Team HubAuto in a special anniversary paintjob. He talks to us about the prospects for success and the special challenge posed by the race.

As a member of the crew that won the 24 Hours of Spa in 2013 in an SLS AMG GT3, you have booked yourself a place in Mercedes-AMG Motorsport racing annals. What does it mean to you to be competing this year in the HubAuto car, sporting a livery that commemorates the Mercedes brand's first big success back in 1971?

Maximilian Buhk: It's a fantastic feeling to be one small part of the great racing history that is Mercedes and Mercedes-AMG. Winning the Spa 24 Hours in 2013 remains one of the biggest successes of my career. It's one of the world's coolest tracks, and I'm really looking forward to competing there again this year. And to be going into the 24 Hours of Spa in the anniversary livery commemorating the first major success for the brand in 1971 makes this year all the more special. Especially as I'm convinced that Max, Yelmer and I, with the support of the HubAuto team, have what it takes to be among the front-runners.

What is the winning formula for the 24-hour race at Spa?

Maximilian Buhk: Essentially, it's quite simple. You have to drive, drive and drive as fast as you can, pit as infrequently as possible, avoid making any mistakes or getting any penalties. And then you also need a bit of luck. Doesn't sound all that complicated, does it? But in fact it is.

Many drivers refer to the race in Spa as a 24-hour sprint. What do they mean by that?

Maximilian Buhk: Exactly that - a sprint. The times are long gone when you could - or even had to - drive a 24-hour race at 90 percent of maximum so as to make the car last. Given the high reliability of the modern GT3 cars and in view of the incredibly strong field of contestants in the 24 Hours of Spa, there is only one way to approach the race, namely full throttle from start to finish. There is no other way to win this race.

Social Media News

#F1W12: Anthony Davidson is not only a talented race driver, TV pundit and commentator, but as one of our simulator drivers, he is also an integral part of the team. A while back, Ant stepped out of the simulator and got the chance to drive the W12 at Silverstone.

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

#FactoryFriday: Last Friday, we paid a visit to the graphics department in our paint shop to see what the team there are working on at the moment.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yqn76OKZ8NU

#Accelerate25: A year ago, we swapped our famous silver livery for black to make a statement opposing racism and to emphasise our commitment to greater diversity in our team and our sport. Twelve months on, our work continues and is as important as ever.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Anz2O8CxrWs

#F1RaceDebrief: There certainly were a lot of talking points after the British GP! James Allison analyses the key issues, starting with the incident on the first lap. He touches on the upgrades to the W12, on sprint qualifying and much more besides in our F1 race debrief.

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

#MyJobInF1: In the latest episode of 'My Job in F1', we introduce Ingrid. She is a Senior Simulation Engineer and works on the further development of our simulator, which is a crucial performance tool for the team.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q3EmW0kaRQ

Tales from the paddock
Tales from the paddock