Tales from the paddock: Milestone podium in the USA and a return to the Temple of Speed

Tales from the paddock: Milestone podium in the USA and a return to the Temple of Speed
Second half of season gets off to a tough start
Following the mandatory summer break, the F1 teams and drivers were back in action last weekend at the Dutch Grand Prix.
The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team immediately had some difficult challenges to contend with in the sand dunes of Zandvoort, primarily the changeable weather.
The drivers already had to cope with windy and rainy weather conditions on Saturday.
Qualifying took place on a drying track, which resulted in different outcomes for the team’s two drivers.
While George was booking himself a slot on the second row of the grid with P3, Lewis was visibly struggling for confidence and grip with the car.
He also got held up in traffic in Q2 and failed to make it through to the final segment. Consequently, he was obliged to start the race from P13.
From there, however, Lewis staged a strong recovery over the course of a chaotic rain-affected Grand Prix, working his way up to sixth place.
This was preceded by badly timed first pit stops for both drivers in the early stages of the race, which they had started on dry tyres.
It began to rain shortly after, which threw the whole field into confusion.
After switching to intermediates, both drivers dropped to the back of the field, but had worked their way back up into the points by the closing stages.
After the restart, George was in P7 when there was contact with Lando Norris which damaged his left rear wheel and dropped him back to P17.
Monza, here we come! We’re off to the Temple of Speed
From Zandvoort, the Team will proceed directly to the Royal Park of Monza, which will host the Italian Grand Prix this weekend.
This tradition-steeped race will take place for the 74th time this year.
Only once in its history was the fixture moved from the Autodromo Nazionale Monza (to Imola in 1980).
Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton lead the list of the most successful drivers at the Italian Grand Prix with five victories each.
Five other drivers who have contested at least one Grand Prix this season are also listed among the previous winners at the Temple of Speed: Fernando Alonso, Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
The most successful team in the Italian GP is Ferrari (19 wins) ahead of McLaren (11) and Mercedes (7).
The first two wins for the Silver Arrows at Monza were delivered by the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio in 1954 and 1955.
Other victories for the brand with the three-pointed star were registered by Lewis (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018) and Nico Rosberg (2016).
In terms of qualifying, Lewis’s seven pole positions make him the most successful driver, ahead of Juan Manuel Fangio and Ayrton Senna on five each.
In the team stakes, Ferrari top the table in their home race with 22 P1 starts.
McLaren are next in line (11 poles). Mercedes have started the race from the first grid position on seven occasions so far (Juan Manuel Fangio, Lewis twice).
The fastest race lap at the Italian Grand Prix (1:21.046 minutes) was set by Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello as long ago as 2004.
The absolute lap record (1:18.887) dates back to the 2020 season and was clocked by Lewis in the Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance.
Class podium at the IMSA in Virginia
Mercedes-AMG Performance drivers Jules Gounon (AND) and Daniel Juncadella (ESP) sharing the number 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 were once again among the Top Five finishers in round nine of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
In the race at VIRginia International Raceway, which is traditionally reserved for the GTD classes, they started from second place but had to settle for fifth in the GTD Pro category after a glancing contact with an opponent.
In the GTD class, Mercedes-AMG Performance driver Philip Ellis (SUI) and WINWARD Racing team-mate Russell Ward (USA) made it onto the podium.
It was the first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Top Three finish of the season for the team.
Starting from seventh in class, Philip Ellis took over behind the wheel of the #57 Mercedes-AMG GT3 after 46 minutes.
The 30-year-old controlled the car perfectly and steadily gained positions.
After the last round of pit stops, Ellis found himself in fourth place with less than 50 minutes of the race remaining.
From there, he seized third position on the last lap and defended it resolutely to the finish. Philip Ellis: “We tried to preserve our tyres as much as possible while the car in fifth place was permanently behind me. Then, towards the end of the race, we just took our chance. When I was relatively close to the car in front, we could see that he was trying to save fuel, so his pace was getting slower and slower over the last few laps. All in all, it was a very tough race, but the guys gave me the car we needed to get on the podium, so hats off to them.”
The Team Korthoff Motorsports pairing of Mikaël Grenier (CAN) and Mike Skeen (USA) finished eleventh in the GTD class.
Round number: Third place for Ellis and Ward also marks a milestone for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the IMSA Series – WINWARD Racing’s class podium finish is the 30th for an Affalterbach-built GT3 racing car.
Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing recorded a maiden podium finish on its 2017 debut in the North American sports car series when the quartet of Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), Adam Christodoulou (GBR), Mario Farnbacher (GER) and Ben Keating (USA) took third place in the GTD classification in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
News snippets: Results and Facts & Social Media News
IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge & IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge:
Driving the only Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge field, Tim Probert (USA) made it into the Top Five in his class. In the #65 Murillo Racing car, he finished the first race in fourth place in the GT Bronze category. In Race 2, he came seventh in this classification. Murillo Racing were also the best Mercedes-AMG outfit in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak (both USA) brought the #72 Mercedes-AMG GT4 home in eighth place.
Super GT:
In the fifth round of the 2023 Super GT at Suzuka, Tatsuya Kataoka and Nobuteru Taniguchi finished in the Top Five for the first time this year. Sharing the cockpit of the #4 Team GOODSMILE RACING & TeamUKYO Mercedes-AMG GT3, the Japanese pairing came fifth in the GT300 class.
Thailand Super Series:
Alex Liu (MAC) and Philip Ma (HKG) delivered two podium finishes in their class on the fourth race weekend of the Thailand Super Series in Sepang. Driving the number 3 Mercedes-AMG GT3, the KamLung Racing duo finished third in both one-hour races.
Mercedes-AMG goes Gamescom:
Gamescom took place in Cologne in the week of 23 – 27 August. A real Mercedes-AMG GT3 was also on show at one of the world’s largest video and computer games trade fairs which this year pulled in 320,000 visitors from more than 100 different countries. ADAC, promoter of the DTM since 2023, presented the Esports division of the racing series and exhibited the vehicle of Mercedes-AMG Junior driver David Schumacher.
Mercedes-AMG Motorsport

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