The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, also known as the ‘Temple of Speed’, in due course to the blistering speeds cars can achieve here. Mercedes AMG’s champ Lewis Hamilton took his 94th pole position but also did something very special in the process. The brit set a new track track record, clocking the mercedes as 1:18:887 which is coincidentally the fastest lap in Formula 1’s history averaging 264.362 km/hr, beating Kimi Raikonnen’s record of 1.19.119 at the same track two years ago. Hamilton beat Raikonnen by 0.232 seconds or 0.775 km/hr. Despite being limited by engine modes both Lewis and Valterri Bottas were faster than Kimi Raikonnen in Q2. Goes to show that todays cars with V6 turbo Hybrid power units are averagely 5 seconds faster than their V10 ICE engines from two decades ago. This is a massive leap in performance figures since the Hybrid engine introduction in 2014.
If the best purple sectors by Lewis are combined from his qualifying session, he would have been a tenth faster than the time he posted. Monza adds yet another laurel to its name in the fastest circuit category. The Italian Grand Prix, resulted in a rare grid drama with a red flag and standing start, which saw the last few laps being enthralling, with Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly narrowly managing to hold off Carlos Sainz in the McLaren to win his first race and a unique podium with Gasly, Sainz and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll on P3, becoming one of the youngest podiums of all time in the sport. The two Mercedes, driven by Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton finished the Italian Grand Prix in P5 and P7 respectively after the grid upheaval.
For the second leg, the sport moves to Tuscany, to the Mugello Circuit, which holds its first Grand Prix ever, an different track with lots of ups and downs and fast straights and chicanes. The Tuscan GP also becomes the 1000th race to be attended by Scuderia Ferrari, who for celebrating the occasion have adorned their cars and drivers with a retro-burgundy colored livery and overalls. FIA in its bid to celebrate its oldest and most successful team’s unparalleled achievement, has changed the color of the Mercedes-AMG GT-R Official FIA F1 safety car to the signature color of the Prancing Horse, Red. This welcome change comes at a rather special time, as the 3-pointed Star has now served as the Official F1 safety car for 25 years.
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.
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.
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.
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