Edoardo Mortara returned from his home races at Misano having made two podium appearances. In this week’s interview, he sums up his season so far and looks forward to the final three weekends of the 2018 campaign.
- This is what happened: Results & facts
- News from the Mercedes-AMG motorsport teams
- Three questions for Edoardo Mortara
This is what happened: Weekend’s results & facts
- Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton is runner-up in the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix
- DTM: Paul Di Resta wins the first night race in DTM history
- DTM: Edoardo Mortara on the podium in his two home races at Misano
- Intercontinental GT Challenge: One-two finish for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the 10-hour race at Suzuka
Stat-Attack – Spa-Francorchamps: The 2018 Formula 1 season resumed after its official summer break with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Lewis began the second half of the campaign with his 78th pole position in the highest echelon of the sport and set two new records at the weekend: he is now the outright leader in terms of pole positions on the rollercoaster circuit in the Ardennes (five) and has also started from the front row eight times there. His pole was also the 350th occasion on which a Mercedes-Benz-powered car has started from the front row. On Sunday, Lewis secured the tenth Formula 1 podium finish for his team in the Belgian Grand Prix and the 25th for Mercedes power.
Monza, here we come: Formula 1 continues this coming weekend with the Italian Grand Prix on the high-speed circuit of Monza. Over the past four years (2014 2017), the track in the royal park at Monza has proved to be a happy hunting ground for the team, with a Silver Arrows driver winning each time (three for Lewis, one for Nico Rosberg). Going back even further to 1954 and 1955, the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio registered two victories in the Italian Grand Prix driving a W 196. Lewis has dominated qualifying for the past four years: from 2014 to 2017, the four-time world champion has consistently started from pole. Lewis has had six poles in the Italian Grand Prix, more than any other driver. In terms of victories, he is currently equal second with Nelson Piquet (four each). Only Michael Schumacher has more wins in Italy to his credit (five).
Stat-Attack – Misano: An unfamiliar racetrack, the first two night races in the history of the DTM, and then rain to complicate the situation even further: the team faced plenty of challenges on its first competitive outing at Misano in Italy. Despite that, the team set a new record as early as Saturday’s qualifying session when a Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM booked pole position for the eleventh time in only the 13th race of 2018. No other manufacturer has started from pole more frequently in the course of a single season. The record had previously stood at ten poles and was set in the 1994 season, again by the brand with the three-pointed star. Paul Di Resta became the ninth Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM driver in succession to start the race from P1 – this is also a new record. The Scot made best possible use of the position later on Saturday, winning the first ever DTM night race.
Perfect weekend in the Suzuka Intercontinental GT Challenge: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport celebrated a one-two win in the 10-hour race at the Suzuka Circuit, which was enough to take the team to the top of both championship tables – drivers’ and manufacturers’ – in the Intercontinental GT Challenge series. Race winners were Maro Engel (GER), Raffaele Marciello (ITA) and Tristan Vautier (FRA) in the number 888 Mercedes-AMG GT3 entered by Mercedes-AMG team GruppeM Racing. At the end of the round three of four in the 2018 season, Marciello and Vautier top the drivers’ standings on 58 points followed by Engel in second place on 43.
They were followed across the line 31.635 seconds later by the number 43 Mercedes-AMG GT3 entered by Mercedes-AMG team STRAKKA Racing in second position – Maximilian Götz (GER), Álvaro Parente (POR) and Lewis Williamson (GBR) had made it a one-two finish for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport in Japan. 20 years after the historic win by Bernd Schneider and Mark Webber driving a Mercedes-Benz CLK-LM in the Suzuka 1000km race held as part of the 1998 FIA GT Championship, the crews of cars manufactured in Affalterbach were back on the top two rungs of the podium in the Japanese endurance classic.
No fewer than five of the seven Mercedes-AMG GT3s that had lined up on the grid finished in the Top Ten, and three more class victories were recorded: Tatsuya Kataoka, Kamui Kobayashi and Nobuteru Taniguchi (all JPN) of Mercedes-AMG team GOOD SMILE won the Asian championship (P5 in the general classification); Kenny Habul (AUS), Mikaël Grenier (CAN) and Luca Stolz (GER) of SunEnergy1 Racing came first in the Pro-AM class (P10 in the general classification); Norio Kubo, Atsushi Sato and Ryosei Yamashita (all JPN) of SATO, YAMASHITA-SS/Rn-Sports won the AM class.
The one-two victory for Mercedes-AMG brought a maximum points haul at Suzuka and turned a seven-point deficit into a nine-point lead in the Intercontinental GT Challenge manufacturers’ championship. The final and decisive race will be hosted by Laguna Seca Raceway in North America on the weekend of 26th – 28th October.
Three questions for Edoardo Mortara
Two podium finishes and highest-scoring Mercedes driver – what are your feelings after your home fixture at Misano?
Edoardo Mortara: I’m feeling good. Especially after the two difficult race weekends at Zandvoort and Brands Hatch where I didn’t manage to unlock the full potential of the car. So it was all the more gratifying to have a very good weekend again, especially with it being on home turf. Now I’m going to concentrate fully on the upcoming races in the DTM.
You’ve closed the gap at the top of the championship. Do you have the title on your mind, or are you taking each weekend as it comes?
Edoardo Mortara: My focus is always on the next race. I want to enjoy every single weekend, like the one at the Norisring and this most recent one at Misano. I’m looking forward to the next three venues. The Nürburgring, Spielberg and Hockenheim have been pretty good for me in the past. The championship is not an issue for me at the moment, because I’m still quite a few points off first place.
Did you think that you might get this close to the championship lead again? And was there a time this season when you wrote off your chances of winning the title?
Edoardo Mortara: Going into the race weekend at Zandvoort, I was only a few points behind Gary in the overall standings, and I was the best qualifier. But then we had a lot of bad luck, and not much was going our way. In the circumstances, we should have scored more points. But you must never give up, and as long as I’m in with a chance, I’ll be going flat out. Nothing is settled until the end of the season.