Tales from the paddock: From a thrilling encounter in Interlagos to the unfamiliar setting of Doha

Nov 17, 2021

The 2021 Formula One season is building up to a spectacular finale: after the emotional rollercoaster of São Paulo, the team face the terra incognita of Doha next weekend.

  • 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

  • F1: Lewis Hamilton wins the São Paulo Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas in third
  • IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Michael de Quesada, Daniel Juncadella and Daniel Morad finish the race in fourth place
  • Super Taikyu: Endless Sports celebrate title win in the ST-Z GT4 class

News snippets

Facts and figures from Brazil: The F1 circus proceeded directly from Mexico City to São Paulo, where the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team was to experience a veritable rollercoaster ride of emotion. The third and final sprint weekend of the season once again brought about a change in schedule and procedure. Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest qualifying time on Friday, which would normally have earned him the frontmost grid spot in Saturday's sprint qualifying. But a few hours before it was due to get underway, Lewis was disqualified from qualifying. As a result, he had to start the race from the rear of the grid. From there, he fought his way up to fifth place in bravura fashion. However, due to an engine change and the five-place grid penalty this incurred, he was obliged to start the Grand Prix from tenth. Once again, he overcame the handicap to stage a fantastic recovery, overtake race leader Max Verstappen on the track and win the São Paulo GP ahead of the Red Bull driver and team-mate Valtteri Bottas. It was Lewis's 101st GP win in F1 and his 80th as a member of the Mercedes factory team. At the same time, he had the satisfaction of reducing the gap to Verstappen in the Drivers' World Championship to 14 points. Furthermore, the combined efforts of Lewis and Valtteri resulted in a double podium which enabled the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team to extend their lead over Red Bull in the Constructors' World Championship to eleven points. With three race weekends still to come this season, both World Championships are wide open.

Doha, here we come: The third stop of this final Formula One triple-header in 2021 is Doha where the Qatar Grand Prix will be contested for the first time next weekend. As the Losail International Circuit makes its debut as a venue for the highest echelon of the sport, the drivers face the challenge of 57 laps on this unfamiliar 5.38 km track, equivalent to a distance of 306.66 kilometres. The circuit is located on the outskirts of the Qatari capital Doha and was opened in 2004. In that same year, it hosted the Motorcycle World Championship for the first time and has continued to do so ever since, except for the Covid-affected 2020 season. The track consists of 16 corners and has a flowing layout. At more than a kilometre in length, the home straight offers the best overtaking opportunity as the cars approach Turn 1. In addition to MotoGP, Losail International Circuit has also played host to the Superbike World Championship, the WTCC and the GP2 Asia series. Qatar is the second newcomer on this year's itinerary; in early September, F1 made its return to Zandvoort which has undergone a complete rebuild. The third revelation of the campaign comes with the new street circuit in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of December.

Successful conclusion to the IMSA season at Motul Petit Le Mans: In the final round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in the US state of Georgia, the number 28 Mercedes-AMG GT3 fielded by Alegra Motorsports booked its best result of the season. After starting from ninth position, the driver trio of Michael de Quesada (USA), Daniel Juncadella (ESP) and Daniel Morad (CAN) finished the ten-hour race in fourth place. The marathon on the high-speed circuit was characterised by a string of on-track incidents that triggered no fewer than ten full-course yellows. One of them was a multi-vehicle pile-up that took out the #32 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Gilbert / Korthoff Motorsports and the #57 of WINWARD Racing: the damage to the two cars was so severe that both were forced to retire.

The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge held its season finale at Road Atlanta on Friday. Kenny Murillo (USA) in the #56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 excelled himself in qualifying by securing pole position for his team. However, an unnecessarily bruising encounter with an opponent ultimately ended the race and expectations of victory for Murillo and co-driver Eric Foss. The number 65 Murillo sister car driven by Brent Mosing and Tim Probert, finished the so-called Fox Factory 120 in a respectable ninth place. Trenton Estep and Mark Kvamme (all USA) in the number 18 CB Motorsports registered the best finish of the day with a P6. Mercedes-AMG ended the season third in the manufacturers' standings.

Endless Sports celebrate title win in Super Taikyu: Endless Sports secured the title in the ST-Z GT4 class in the final race of the Super Taikyu season at Okayama International Circuit near Mimasaka. Togo Suganami, Yudai Uchida and Hideki Yamauchi (all JPN) in the number 3 Mercedes-AMG GT4 put in a strong performance to finish fourth in class, maintaining an eight-point advantage over their pursuers to the last act of the season. It is the third ST-Z title in successive years for the Japanese series winners. Third place in this class went to Takaki Hamada, Daisuke Matsunaga and Yuja Motoshima (all JPN) in the number 500 Team 5ZIGEN GT4 who finished the season finale eleventh overall.

Podiums and class wins in Campeonato de España Resistencia and UAE Procar Championship: NM Racing enjoyed a successful end to the season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, taking victory in the C2 class. Debutant Eric Alanis and Alberto De Martin (both ESP) in the #108 Mercedes-AMG GT4 progressed from sixth on the grid to fifth overall in Sunday's two-hour race, thereby delivering the best finish in their class.

While this particular GT4 series is now taking a break for the winter, another competition got underway this weekend. The Dubai Autodrome in the metropolis of the same name in the United Arab Emirates hosted the season opener of the UAE Procar Championship on Friday. On the 5.37km desert circuit, local favourite Omair Al Mheiri (UAE) in the #79 Dragon Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 made it onto the podium in both of the 25-minute races, finishing as runner-up and in third place respectively. Al Mheiri is in second place in the overall standings after the first of a total of six rounds this season.

Social Media News

#INSIDEAMG: Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were in for a day full of surprises during a visit to Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach - building engines, driving snazzy cars and much more besides. The latest episode of INSIDE AMG shows what they got up to there.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=deYDd8jjLfU

#28 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Alegra Motorsports, and #32 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Gilbert / Korthoff Motorsports
#32 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Gilbert / Korthoff Motorsports
#57 Mercedes-AMG GT3, WINWARD Racing
#28 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Alegra Motorsports
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, São Paulo GP 2021. Lewis Hamilton
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, São Paulo GP 2021. Lewis Hamilton
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, São Paulo GP 2021. Lewis Hamilton
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, São Paulo GP 2021. Lewis Hamilton Valtteri Bottas
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, São Paulo GP 2021. Lewis Hamilton
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, São Paulo GP 2021. Lewis Hamilton
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, São Paulo GP 2021. Lewis Hamilton Valtteri Bottas
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, São Paulo GP 2021. Lewis Hamilton
#108 Mercedes-AMG GT4, NM Racing Team
#79 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Dragon Racing
#3 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Endless Sports, and #500 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Team 5ZIGEN
#500 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Team 5ZIGEN