Tales from the paddock: A new speed record and a red safety car

Sep 10, 2020

Records and milestones in Italy: Monza sees the fastest lap ever driven in Formula One; Mugello is where a rather special safety car will make its debut

  • 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

  • Formula 1: Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton finish the Italian Grand Prix in P5 and P7
  • GTWCE: Two podiums for the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams in the six-hour race on the Nürburgring
  • GT4 European Series: Victory for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in Race 1 at the Eifel Forest circuit

News snippets

New record: The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza once again lived up to its reputation as the famous ‘Temple of Speed’. In qualifying, Lewis Hamilton not only claimed his 94th pole position with a time of 1:18.887 minutes but also set a new track record. He then went on to post the fastest lap in the history of Formula One with an average speed of 264.362 km/h. The previous record dates back to the 2018 season, when Kimi Räikkönen reached an average speed of 263.587 km/h at Monza with a lap time of 1:19.119 minutes. Lewis was 0.232 seconds (equivalent to 0.775 km/h) faster than Kimi’s record last Saturday. This had already been beaten in Q2 by both Lewis and team-mate Valtteri Bottas - despite the new Technical Directive restricting engine modes. This means that, on a virtually unchanged track layout, today’s Formula One cars with their V6 turbo hybrid power units are almost five seconds per lap faster than their predecessors with V10 internal combustion engines 20 years ago. This is an impressive leap in performance since the introduction of hybrid engines in the 2014 season, but Formula One never stands still. If you combine Lewis’s three best sector times, his ideal lap time of 1:18,760 minutes would have been more than a tenth faster. F1 fans can already look forward to more records tumbling at the Royal Park of Monza next year.

From Monza to Mugello: The Italian leg of the 2020 Formula One World Championship continues next weekend. After the high-speed track at Monza, the next venue on the itinerary is the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello in Tuscany, which will be staging its first ever Formula One Grand Prix. Since it was opened in 1974, the 5.245 km circuit has hosted various international racing series, including the DTM and MotoGP. Mugello’s only relationship with Formula One to date has been as a test track. The circuit has a number of steep ascents and descents, long full-throttle sections and some extremely fast corners. Situated in a valley, it subjects drivers to quite a rollercoaster ride, especially at the start of the second sector, from Casanova (Turn 6) via Savelli (7) to the two Arrabbiatas (8 & 9). Sunday’s race will be over 59 laps, equivalent to a distance of 309.45 km.

Watch video - Mugello First Laps: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfwAqvnEcY8

Red safety car: The Tuscan Grand Prix makes its Formula One debut as the ninth race of the season, and Scuderia Ferrari will start their 1,000th race in the premier class of motorsport. In acknowledgement of this milestone, the Mercedes-AMG GT R Official FIA F1 Safety Car will be given a new look this weekend with a commemorative red livery. Everything else remains unchanged: with its powerful 4.0-litre V8 twin turbo engine, the Mercedes-AMG GT R driven by Bernd Mayländer has a top speed of 318 km/h and takes 3.6 seconds to sprint from zero to 100 km/h. As it happens, the safety car is also celebrating an anniversary this year - the three-pointed star has adorned its grille in Formula One for a full 25 years.

“The Tuscan Grand Prix will also be the 1000th F1 race for Ferrari, marking the long racing tradition of this great Italian brand,” said Toto Wolff, CEO and Team Principal of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. “We will honour this achievement with a Mercedes-AMG Safety Car in Ferrari red – our nod to a racing history that brought us some of the greatest moments in Formula One. The men and women of Maranello have a proud history to celebrate and we’re paying respect to those celebrations this weekend.”

Podium successes come thick and fast in the GT World Challenge Europe: The Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams made two podium appearances in the GT World Challenge Europe event at the Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit. In the six-hour Endurance Cup race, Timur Boguslavskiy (RUS), Felipe Fraga (BRA) and Raffaele Marciello (ITA) in the number 88 car fielded by Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP were runners-up. They were followed across the line by the number 4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT of Vincent Abril (MCO), Maro Engel and Luca Stolz (both GER) in third place. The two teams laid the foundation for success with excellent starts. Felipe Fraga driving the first stint for AKKA ASP moved up from 13th to third place within the first few corners, while Abril in the number 4 HRT improved from ninth to sixth. Marciello and Engel drove a superb final stint in an exciting climax to book the two podium spots. Also making it into the Top Ten were eighth-placed Maximilian Buhk (GER), Alessio Lorandi (ITA) and Fabian Schiller (GER) in the number 100 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Team GetSpeed Performance.

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport also enjoyed podium successes outside the general classification. The number 90 Madpanda Motorsport driven by Patrick Assenheimer (GER), Ezequiel Perez Companc (ARG) and Romain Monti (FRA) finished third in the Silver Cup, as did the number 87 AKKA ASP car of Fabien Barthez, Thomas Drouet and Jim Pla (all FRA) in the Pro-Am class.

Race victory in the GT4 European Series: NM Racing Team celebrated their second overall win of the season in the GT4 European Series event which shared the billing at the Nürburgring. Lluc Ibañez and Xavier Llloveras (both ESP) in the number 15 Mercedes-AMG GT4 secured the victory of the day in the first of the two one-hour races. Selleslagh Racing Team also contributed to the Mercedes points haul with class podiums on both days. After second and third places on Saturday, cars 31 and 32 recorded a one-two finish in Sunday’s Am class.

Top Five finishes at IMSA event: Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams twice finished in the Top Five on the IMSA weekend hosted by the Road Atlanta circuit. The Riley Motorsports trio of Lawson Aschenbach, Ben Keating and Gar Robinson (all USA) in the number 74 Mercedes-AMG GT3 finished the six-hour IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race fourth in the GTD class. In the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge four-hour race held at the same venue, Indy Dontje (NED) and Russell Ward (USA) finished fifth in the number 35 Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Winward Racing.

Endurance victories for the Mercedes-AMG GT3: HIRIX Racing got the 2020 Japanese Super Taikyu season off to a gratifying start at the Fuji Speedway with a maiden 24-hour race win for the new Mercedes-AMG GT3. The HIRIX line-up of Hisamori Hayashi, Yuuki Nemoto, Shinichi Takagi, Daisuke Yamawaki (all JPN) and Shaun Thong (HKG) brought their number 888 car home ahead of the rest of the field. A class victory for the number 3 Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Endless Sports capped a triumphant start to the season.

In challenging conditions at the Hockenheimring, CP Racing took the GT3 class victory in the 16-hour race of the 24H SERIES. The driver quartet of Charles Espenlaub, Joe Foster, Shane Lewis, Charles Putman (all USA) had even been in contention for overall victory for much of the race. The win was enough to take them to the top of the GT3-AM class in the global 24H SERIES Continents championship.

Podium successes in Brazil and the Czech Republic: Customer Racing teams twice finished on the top rung of the podium in the second round of Endurance Brasil. The Mattheis Motorsport pairing of Xandinho Negrão and Ricardo Zonta (both BRA) advanced from eighth on the grid to second place in the course of the four-hour race in Curitiba, thereby securing victory in the GT3 class. In the GT4 class, the Scuderia 111 duo of Atila Abreu and Leo Sanches finished first ahead of Racing M3’s Alexandre Auler and Guilherme Salas to make it a one-two victory for the Mercedes-AMG GT4. Meanwhile, Piotr Wira (POL) in a Mercedes-AMG GT4 fielded by Good Speed Racing Team was finishing third in both of the two ESET V4 Cup races hosted by Brno in the Czech Republic.

Social Media News

#RaceDebrief: What a topsy-turvy race! The Italian Grand Prix has given us a lot to mull over. Andrew Shovlin and James Vowles talk about the problems that Valtteri experienced with traffic, the closure of the pit lane and much more besides.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7PFXCwLkdQ

#F1Explained: Last weekend, the new Technical Directive restricting engine modes came into force for the first time. Hywel Thomas, Managing Director at HPP, explains how it operates and the implications it could have for performance in the field.

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

#RenaissanceFoundation: Lewis Hamilton met with the boys and girls of the Renaissance Foundation and talked about how he overcomes challenges, confronts negativity and is working to leave a positive legacy.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vCq3N2qVTM

Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Italian GP 2020. Lewis Hamilton
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Italian GP 2020. Lewis Hamilton
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Italian GP 2020. Lewis Hamilton
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Italian GP 2020. Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes-AMG GT3 #85, CP Racing
Mercedes-AMG GT4 #15, NM Racing Team
Mercedes-AMG GT3 #85, CP Racing
Xavier Lloveras (left) und Lluc Ibañez, NM Racing Team at the podium ceremony
#31 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Selleslagh Racing Team
The #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP at the start of the 6-hour-race at the Nürburgring
#32 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Selleslagh Racing Team
Mercedes-AMG GT3 #4, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT
Mercedes-AMG GT3 #100, GetSpeed Performance
Vincent Abril, Maro Engel and Luca Stolz (from left), Mercedes-AMG Team HRT, at the podium ceremony
Mercedes-AMG GT3 #90, Madpanda Motorsport
Raffaele Marciello, Timur Boguslavskiy and Felipe Fraga (from left), Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP, at the podium ceremony
Gar Robinson (left) and Lawson Aschenbach, Riley Motorsports, at the podium ceremony
#4 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Winward Racing
#74 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Riley Motorsports
#35 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Riley Motorsports
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Tuscan GP 2020. Safety Car
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Tuscan GP 2020. Safety Car
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Tuscan GP 2020. Safety Car
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Tuscan GP 2020. Safety Car
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Tuscan GP 2020. Safety Car
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Tuscan GP 2020. Safety Car