The Norisring is one of the standout fixtures of the DTM season. A victory and a P2 there were enough to take Edoardo Mortara to second place in the drivers’ championship. In an interview, he tells us about his season so far.
- 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 wins the French Grand Prix on its return to Le Castellet
- DTM: One-two win for Edoardo Mortara and Gary Paffett in the first race at the Norisring followed by a double podium for Mortara and Daniel Juncadella on Sunday
- Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup: Michael Meadows and Raffaele Marciello finish as runners-up in Race 1
Stat-Attack – Le Castellet: After a ten-year absence from the race calendar, the French Grand Prix took place again last weekend. It was also a special race weekend for Mercedes, as it was the first competitive outing for the brand in ‘La Grande Nation’ since the memorable one-two win for Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling at Reims in 1954. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were seeking to emulate this triumph in the return of the event to the Circuit Paul Ricard. In Saturday’s qualifying, the two team-mates booked P1 and P2 on the grid. This was to be the 52nd occasion on which two Mercedes started a race from the front row. Lewis claimed his 75th Formula 1 pole and his third of the year. On Sunday, he converted it into Grand Prix victory number 65, his third of the current campaign and his 44th with the team. Lewis now has winner’s trophies from 23 different host countries – more than any other driver in the highest echelon of motor racing. The previous record holder was seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher. It was also the 300th Formula 1 race, in which a car powered by Mercedes-Benz had taken its driver to a podium finish.
Spielberg, here we come: The Formula 1 teams will be heading straight from the French GP to the next event on the calendar. As early as next weekend, they have the Austrian Grand Prix at Spielberg, the second instalment of the first triple-header in the history of Formula 1. The Red Bull Ring has been a happy hunting ground for the Silver Arrows since the venue returned to the F1 itinerary in 2014. Indeed, all four races have been won by a Mercedes driver (twice Nico Rosberg, one each for Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas). Qualifying has also been dominated by cars powered by Mercedes. In 2014, the first pole position of the revived Austrian GP went to Felipe Massa driving a Williams-Mercedes. Lewis (2015, 2016) and Valtteri (2017) then claimed the P1 spot on the grid three times in a row.
Stat-Attack – Norisring: Eight races into the campaign, the team has already registered five wins. They have won at least one of the two races on each of the four race weekends at Hockenheim, Lausitzring, Budapest and at the Norisring. The three-pointed star is a force to be reckoned with, as was clearly demonstrated at Nuremberg where, in both races, five of the six drivers finished in the Top Ten. There were also some personal firsts to celebrate. On Sunday, Daniel Juncadella claimed a maiden pole position in the DTM. In his 64th DTM race, he then secured a maiden podium for a P3 finish. He was joined on the podium by Edoardo Mortara who, together with Gary Paffett, had made it a third one-two win of the campaign for the team and the 107th in its 30-year DTM history. Next up is Zandvoort, where the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Team will arrive as leader in all three championships.
Successful return to the Nordschleife: The Mercedes-AMG GT3 made a successful return to the Nürburgring Nordschleife in the third VLN round, the 60th ADAC ACAS H&R Cup. The teams and drivers contesting the VLN were back in the Eifel six weeks after the ADAC Zurich 24-hour race. Patrick Assenheimer and Kenneth Heyer (both GER) drove the number 13 Mercedes-AMG GT3 entered by customer sports team AutoArena Motorsport to eighth place at the end of the 28-lap race. This was enough to take them to a creditable third place in their class. An unscheduled pit stop after the first lap had dropped Assenheimer back to P30. But he and Heyer subsequently battled their way back into the Top Ten of the general classification and onto the podium in their class, so all in all, it was a satisfactory outcome. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 was also back in action on the Nordschleife for the first time since the 24-hour race. Customer Sports team AVIA racing Team Mathol Racing e.V. narrowly missed out on a podium in their class as Jochen Herbst, Christian Stingu (both GER) and Domenico Solombrino (ITA) driving the number 170 Mercedes-AMG GT4 finished fourth after 26 laps.
Podium and double victory at Misano: AKKA ASP took second place in the first of the two Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup races at the Misano World Circuit. After finishing third at Zolder and second at Brands Hatch, Raffaele Marciello (ITA) and Michael Meadows (GBR) also made it onto the podium in the third Sprint Cup of the season. Meadows in the number 88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 started the 60-minute race on Saturday from fourth on the grid. The Briton stayed in touch with the leading group and came in early for the changeover to team-mate Marciello. The Italian then put pressure on, gaining two places and closing the gap on the race leader. He was unable to find any way past, however. After 37 laps, Marciello crossed the finish line just 0.6 seconds behind the winner on the day. Nico Bastian (GER) and Jack Manchester (GBR) in the number 90 Mercedes-AMG GT3 also made it into the Top Ten. When the end was signalled to a full-course yellow phase, Bastian was quickest to react, overtaking the one opponent ahead of him and moving into the lead. Despite very fast lap times, he found the opposition on fresh tyres gaining on him. After the driver change, Manchester battled fiercely for the victory in the Silver Cup. Sixth place overall was enough to defend the class victory. The duo thus continue to extend their lead in the Silver Cup. In the second race on Sunday, Denis Bulatov (RUS) and Nicolas Jamin (FRA) in the number 87 Mercedes-AMG GT3 secured the best result of the day with fifth place. Starting from 12th, they fought their way forward with a strong performance to claim the class win in the Silver Cup.
National endurance series: In the Britcar Endurance Championship, Richard Neary (GBR) was determined not to be outpaced. At Oulton Park Circuit, the Briton topped the overall standings in his Mercedes-AMG GT3, taking first place on the podium in both races. Stefano Pezzucchi and Marco Zanuttini (both ITA) and Philipp Zumstein (SUI) also put in strong performances in the 3 Ore Endurance Champions Cup at Monza. Having started from second on the grid, Pezzucchi and Zanuttini secured the class win with fifth place overall. Swiss driver Zumstein in an SLS AMG GT3 also had a successful day, progressing from P13 on the grid to P7 at the finish line. That was also enough for a class victory.
Three questions for Edoardo Mortara
Edo, you won one of the races at the Norisring and you made two podium appearances. That came on top of your victory at the Lausitzring, and you’re now up to second place in the championship. So what are you doing differently by comparison with 2017?
Edoardo Mortara: This season is going a lot better for me compared to last year. 2017 was a very difficult season. But we’ve learnt from past mistakes, and the car is now much more competitive.
The next DTM weekend in Zandvoort coincides with Formula E. As you are now a strong contender for the DTM title, you’ll be missing the closing fixture of the season in New York. Is that a major cause of regret for you?
Edoardo Mortara: Right from the start, I knew that the DTM would take priority over Formula E as far as I was concerned. I don’t regret having to miss out on the Formula E season finale in New York because of the DTM in Zandvoort. I have much better prospects of winning the championship in the DTM than in Formula E. Quite frankly, though, I’m a bit frustrated about the Formula E campaign. I feel sure we could have achieved better results. Unfortunately, there have been too many race weekends on which something has happened to deprive us of points. Hopefully I will get another chance in the future, but at the moment, it’s not an issue for me and I am concentrating fully on the DTM.
Mercedes and BMW are currently fighting for the top spots. Do you think that will change and that Audi too will get involved in the title fight?
Edoardo Mortara: Audi should never be underestimated. I know the brand very well, because I drove for them for many years. I know how strong they can be. They are having problems this year, but I am sure that at some point they will find better solutions for the setup of their cars, which should boost the confidence of their drivers. I’m assuming that they will then be somewhere near the front of the field again. Whether they’ll do enough to influence the destination of the championship, I wouldn’t like to say. But the season is still long.