Tales from the paddock: Success on and off the racetrack

A win and an accolade for Lewis Hamilton: Victory in Barcelona and Laureus Athlete Advocate of the Year Award for his inspirational work – plus further triumphs for the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams

  • 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 Spanish Grand Prix; Valtteri Bottas takes third place
  • Qualifying round for the 24-hour race: Maximilian Götz, Daniel Juncadella and Fabian Schiller in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 finish fourth
  • GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup: Maro Engel and Luca Stolz win round two at Magny-Cours; Timur Boguslavskiy and Raffaele Marciello join them on the podium

Facts & figures from Barcelona: The first double-header of the 2021 F1 season took the premier class of motorsport across the Iberian Peninsula from Portimão to Barcelona last weekend. On Saturday, Lewis Hamilton yet again made F1 history when he beat Max Verstappen by 0.036 seconds in an incredibly close qualifying session to claim the 100th pole position of his Formula One career. With a tally of 129 poles, Mercedes is now the third most successful team in this department, with only McLaren (155) and Ferrari (228) having started a race from pole position more often. On this occasion, Lewis and Valtteri Bottas had to go flat out on Sunday to regain the positions they had lost at the start and finish the Spanish GP in first and third place respectively. For Mercedes, it was victory number 100 from pole position, making them only the second F1 team to pass this particular milestone. For Lewis, it was his 98th win in Formula One and his fifth in successive seasons at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Ayrton Senna is the only other driver to have achieved the feat of winning the same fixture five years in a row, namely in the Principality of Monaco, which is set to host the fifth race on the 2021 F1 calendar in just over a week’s time.

Disappointment in Monaco: Motorsport is characterised by highs and lows, and this was especially apparent on Saturday in an extremely tense and eventful Monaco E-Prix. The race was contested on the Grand Prix Circuit for the first time in the history of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. There were plenty of overtaking manoeuvres and standout moments over the course of the 26 laps, but not for the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team; the seventh round of the season brought two retirements and a zero points haul. However, the team, which has already won three races this season, is not letting this get them down. After all, it is setbacks and disappointments such as these from which the team can learn the most and bounce back stronger in the future. The team will get its next chance to excel on 19 and 20 June in the next two rounds of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Puebla, Mexico.

Groundwork laid for standout event of the season on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife: For the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams, the 24h qualifying race turned out to be an encouraging dress rehearsal for the ADAC TOTAL 24h race at the Nürburgring. Four Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the Top 12 constitute a solid team result in the final practice run on the Nordschleife under race conditions. The best-placed Mercedes-AMG GT3 was the number 7 Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed driven by Maximilian Götz (GER), Daniel Juncadella (ESP) and Fabian Schiller (GER) who mounted a strong recovery from 14th on the grid to finish fourth. Schiller was a double starter, also entering the six-hour race at the wheel of the number 8 sister car. Together with co-drivers Dirk Müller (GER) and Matthieu Vaxiviere (FRA), he steered the #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3 to ninth place. The two Mercedes-AMG Team HRT cars (#4 and #6) finished just outside the Top Ten. Patrick Assenheimer (GER), Adam Christodoulou (GBR) and Manuel Metzger (GER) finished 11th in the number 4, while Nico Bastian (GER), team owner Hubert Haupt (GER) and double starter Assenheimer in the number 6 crossed the line in 12th. Over the course of the race weekend, the teams had been experimenting with various settings and setups with an eye to the main event, the 24-hour race in just under four weeks at the same venue. The highlight of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife season will be contested on the weekend of 3 – 6 June.

Return to the top in GT World Challenge Europe: After a successful start to the Sprint Cup season in Magny-Cours (France), Mercedes-AMG Motorsport is well on course to defend its title in the GT World Challenge Europe. Raffaele Marciello (ITA) of Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP partnered by Timur Boguslavskiy (RUS) took third place in the second race of the weekend, which was enough for Marciello to open up a four-point gap at the top of the drivers’ standings. The best performance in the race itself was delivered by Maro Engel and Luca Stolz (both GER) of Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport who secured a commanding lights-to-flag victory.

A class win in the Silver Cup for overall fifth-placed Jim Pla (FRA) and Konstantin Tereschenko (RUS) in the number 87 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of AKKA ASP Team as well as second place in the Pro-Am class for SPS automotive performance’s Dominik Baumann (AUT) and Valentin Pierburg (GER) rounded off a successful Sunday at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours.

In Saturday’s night race, the teams had already posted four Top Ten finishes and three class podiums. Rik Breukers (NED) and Ezequiel Pérez Companc (ARG) in the number 90 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Madpanda Motorsport finished fourth overall and second in the Silver Cup ahead of the Toksport WRT pairing of Juuso Puhakka (FIN) and Oscar Tunjo (COL) in the number 7 car. As on Sunday, the SPS automotive performance duo in the #20 car were runners up in the Pro-Am class.

Thanks to the strong performances of the Customer Racing teams at Magny-Cours, Mercedes-AMG consolidated first place in the GT World Challenge global manufacturers’ championship, which is contested by six highly reputable automotive giants. Further points towards the manufacturers’ championship were accumulated last weekend in the GT World Challenge Australia. Broc Feeney (AUS) and Prince Jefri Ibrahim (MAS) in the #888 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Triple Eight Race Engineering twice finished third in class at Bend Motorsport Park.

The GT World Challenge Europe can now also be watched on German television. Sky will show the races live and screen highlights on its new motorsport channel Sky Sport F1. There will also be news coverage on free-to-air TV channel Sky Sport News. The first live broadcasts are scheduled for the Sprint Cup races at Zandvoort on 19 and 20 June.

Sprint premiere and further class successes: The Customer Racing teams were in fine form on the opening race weekend of the Chinese GT Super Sprint Challenge at the Shanghai International Circuit. Lin Nan (TPE) in the number 96 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Phantom Pro Racing made a couple of podium appearances (P3 and P2) in the two 25-minute sprint races. Xiuping Xi (CHN) in the #57 car of FFA Racing made it a double podium in the second race with third place.

In the GT4 class, the Mercedes-AMG GT4s celebrated a one-two victory and a podium lockout. Yang Ruoyu (CHN) in the number 47 Team 777 ByClimaxRacing Mercedes-AMG GT4 won twice ahead of team-mate Li Donghui (CHN) in the #74, while 300Plus Motorsport’s Vincent Lin (CHN) made it a full house for Mercedes-AMG podium in race two.

Teams fielding the Mercedes-AMG GT4 also enjoyed Top Three successes in France. In the GT4 France event at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, Olivier Jouffret and Eric Tremoulet (both FRA) of Team Jouffruit by Vic’ Team were second across the finish line in Saturday’s race. There were also podium successes in the classes: the CD Sport #74 driven by Sébastien Baud and Enzo Joulié (both FRA) took P2 and P3 in the Silver Cup, while Timothé Buret and Paul Evrard (both FRA) in the AKKA ASP #88 added another P3. Meanwhile, Jihad Aboujaoudé and Shahan Sarkissian (both LIB) in the number 4 and CD Sport team-mates Paul Parantheon and Aurelien Robineau (both FRA) in the number 3 were finishing second and third respectively in the Am class.

In the ESET Cup Series, this time hosted by the Slovakiaring, Olimp Racing’s Marcin Jedlinski the number 77 Mercedes-AMG GT3 reigned supreme in the GT class. Two P3 finishes and a runner-up spot in the general classification were enough for him to claim wins three, four and five of the campaign.