2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
USPA NEWS - Valtteri fights back to the podium,
Lewis claims P5 in dramatic Azerbaijan Grand Prix 
Valtteri fought back from P20 on Lap 1 to snatch P2 on the finish line at the Baku City Circuit
Lewis came home in P5, after a pit stop for a loose headrest dropped him from the lead 
Lewis (139 points) trails Sebastian Vettel (153 points) by 14 points in the Drivers' Championship, with Valtteri (111 points) a further 28 points back in P3 
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (250 points) leads the Constructors' Championship by 24 points from Ferrari (226 points) in P2

Valtteri Bottas -
Today was a crazy race, especially for me. I had a puncture on the first lap after the contact with Kimi on Lap 1. I was a lap down, then had to overtake the field under the Safety Car. The second Safety Car after that really helped me out and, step by step, I moved forward from there. My main goal today was to fight for the win but that went out of the window after the first lap. I was actually last at one point, but I got my head down, gave it absolutely everything and tried to get the absolute maximum out of every single corner. We didn’t quite manage to win but P2 from where we were is a great feeling. Importantly for the team, we scored more points in the fight with Ferrari and I got some good points for myself as well.

Lewis Hamilton -
It’s difficult to swallow a result like this after a strong weekend. I drove my heart out today right to the line - I gave it everything. I know the team will be devastated about the issue with the headrest, but what we have to take away from this weekend is the great performance we have shown. We all feel that pain, but it’s on me to gather my thoughts and try and lead the team through this adversity. We’ll pull together and move forwards. I’m proud of my performance and I hope we can take the speed we’ve shown this weekend forward. I definitely didn’t brake-test Sebastian. I controlled the pace under the Safety Car and, just like with the other restarts, I slowed down in the same place on the entry to T15. At that point, it is up to me to control the pace and then I felt a bump from behind. But that wasn’t the issue for me – everybody saw clearly what happened after. All the young kids in other series look up to us, as champions, to set an example and that is not the behaviour you expect to see from a multiple champion. But we know that when times get tough, true colours show, and we have managed to apply some good pressure in the last weeks. Personally, I want to do my talking on the track and win this championship in the right way. More than ever after this weekend, I believe we can.

Toto Wolff -
When the winner was at one point in P17, and the guy in second was a lap down and last after lap two, then you know it's been a crazy day! Our big picture from today is that we extended our lead in the constructors' championship by 16 points and confirmed we have a very fast race car. But that isn't what people will remember. For Lewis, it was a really eventful race. With the Vettel incident, I think the FIA has made its decision during the race and we can't rewind the race now. Emotions cook high in the moment but it doesn't change the relationship between our two teams. Then he was leading after the red flag when we had the problem with the headrest and had to change it; that cost him the win but we need to investigate what exactly happened there. It is never about blame; we look at the process to see what we can improve, then go to the next race better and stronger, and this is what we will do again as a team. But we should be encouraged with the pace Lewis had. As for Valtteri, it just goes to show you can never give up. He did a sensational job from a lap down and it was the perfect finale to steal P2 on the line. But nevertheless it could have been P1 and P3 today, so we need to learn our lessons and keep pushing for the next race in Austria.

Toto Wolff -
When the winner was at one point in P17, and the guy in second was a lap down and last after lap two, then you know it's been a crazy day! Our big picture from today is that we extended our lead in the constructors' championship by 16 points and confirmed we have a very fast race car. But that isn't what people will remember. For Lewis, it was a really eventful race. With the Vettel incident, I think the FIA has made its decision during the race and we can't rewind the race now.
Emotions cook high in the moment but it doesn't change the relationship between our two teams. Then he was leading after the red flag when we had the problem with the headrest and had to change it; that cost him the win but we need to investigate what exactly happened there. It is never about blame; we look at the process to see what we can improve, then go to the next race better and stronger, and this is what we will do again as a team. But we should be encouraged with the pace Lewis had. As for Valtteri, it just goes to show you can never give up. He did a sensational job from a lap down and it was the perfect finale to steal P2 on the line. But nevertheless it could have been P1 and P3 today, so we need to learn our lessons and keep pushing for the next race in Austria.
James Allison, Technical Director -
It was a bittersweet race, more sweet than bitter on balance given how much worse it could have been, but it hurts to cost ourselves the win because of a detail like a loose headrest. Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, both cars were fast and had the pace to convert the promise of their qualifying positions - and in the end we still brought home a useful haul of championship points. But we now can't wait to get back out on track in a fortnight's time in order to chase the full reward that the car's pure performance deserved this weekend.

Toto Wolff -
When the winner was at one point in P17, and the guy in second was a lap down and last after lap two, then you know it's been a crazy day! Our big picture from today is that we extended our lead in the constructors' championship by 16 points and confirmed we have a very fast race car. But that isn't what people will remember. For Lewis, it was a really eventful race. With the Vettel incident, I think the FIA has made its decision during the race and we can't rewind the race now.
Emotions cook high in the moment but it doesn't change the relationship between our two teams. Then he was leading after the red flag when we had the problem with the headrest and had to change it; that cost him the win but we need to investigate what exactly happened there. It is never about blame; we look at the process to see what we can improve, then go to the next race better and stronger, and this is what we will do again as a team. But we should be encouraged with the pace Lewis had. As for Valtteri, it just goes to show you can never give up. He did a sensational job from a lap down and it was the perfect finale to steal P2 on the line. But nevertheless it could have been P1 and P3 today, so we need to learn our lessons and keep pushing for the next race in Austria.

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix - Saturday - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Lewis storms to Azerbaijan Grand Prix pole, as Valtteri completes a front-row lockout Lewis claimed his 66th career pole position to move into second on the all-time pole list It is Lewis' first pole in Baku, the fifth of the 2017 season, and his seventh in 10

Lewis storms to Azerbaijan Grand Prix pole, as Valtteri completes a front-row lockout

  • Lewis claimed his 66th career pole position to move into second on the all-time pole list
  • It is Lewis’ first pole in Baku, the fifth of the 2017 season, and his seventh in 10 races
  • Valtteri will start from P2, as the Silver Arrows took a second front-row lockout of 2017
  • Lewis completed a single run in both Q1 and Q2, then two runs in Q3 – all on the SuperSoft
  • Valtteri did one run in Q1, two runs in Q2 and two in Q3 – exclusively on the SuperSoft
  • Lewis Hamilton
    My pole lap in Montreal was pretty special, but I think this one here tops that. My first run in Q3 was actually really good, but I was a bit greedy into the last corner, locked up and cost myself time. After the red flag, there was a lot of pressure on that final lap. All weekend we’ve struggled to switch the car on over a single lap, but it was an all or nothing moment so I just gave it everything I had. Valtteri was on a great lap as well, so when I came across the line and saw that I had pole, it was such a good feeling. Even if that time had only been enough for P2 it was a lap to be proud of. We were struggling yesterday but we made a lot of changes overnight. A big thank you to the team who stayed late last night to get the car to where it is today – they did a fantastic job.

    Valtteri Bottas
    It’s disappointing to lose pole as that was the target today. It was looking good before the late red flag, but Lewis produced a great lap and mine just wasn’t good enough. That final run in Q3 was the first time we had tried to do a flying lap on the first lap, because of the temperatures, and I couldn’t get them to work as well as Lewis did - I just couldn’t find that grip out there. But what I’m most proud of today is the huge effort the team put in overnight to switch on the car. We were quite lost on Friday but we made some changes and turned the weekend around. Going into the race we have a fantastic starting position and I’m expecting a good fight with Lewis.

    Toto Wolff
    This is a fantastic qualifying performance after a tricky start to the weekend yesterday. The team did some great work overnight to put the car right in the sweet spot – and both drivers put in a strong performance. We had planned to do one long run in Q3, because that looked like the best way to get the maximum from the tyres, so the pressure was really on after the red flag with just one timed lap possible. That was the big pressure moment and both guys delivered – Valtteri found a quarter of a second then Lewis produced one of those hammer laps to take pole. Tomorrow, though, is another story again. The race pace is a bit of an unknown after some scrappy sessions yesterday, but we are in the best starting positions. Now we need to make a clean getaway then make the most of our opportunities in the race.

    James Allison, Technical Director

    A diva our car might be but the engineering team and drivers are gradually learning how to talk to her. This was a pretty impressive performance with both cars, and especially the performance on the last run, when we were able to set a competitive time on the first lap using tyres which have been tricky to warm up sufficiently during the rest of the weekend. This is not an easy track, and it has not been an easy weekend so far, but today’s result is a good indication of the steady progress we have made through each session. We will be aiming to build on that tomorrow.

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix - Friday - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix - Friday - Daren Frankish - USPA News

More work to do in Baku

  • Lewis was fifth fastest in the morning session, with Valtteri in P6
  • Valtteri ended the day with the second fastest time in the afternoon session, with Lewis P10
  • Both drivers ran the Soft, SuperSoft and Medium compound tyres in FP1
  • Both drivers then used the Soft and SuperSoft in FP2

Driver

Chassis No.

FP1

FP2

Valtteri Bottas

F1 W08 EQ Power+/03

19 Laps

1:45.737

P6

32 Laps

1:43.462

P2

Lewis Hamilton

F1 W08 EQ Power+/05

16 Laps

1:45.497

P5

23 Laps

1:44.525

P10


Valtteri Bottas

Practice one was quite tricky: we were struggling with the setup of the car and it wasn’t so well balanced. Today, we needed multiple laps in a row to generate the temperatures we want for a good balance. FP1 wasn’t a happy session, but we made some changes ahead of FP2 and the car definitely felt more comfortable. We are moving in the right direction and hopefully we’ll make another step this evening. We’ll work hard and if we can find those gains we’ll be right up there fighting for pole position.

Lewis Hamilton
It was a difficult day out there. This circuit is a tough one and we had a few challenges that we tried to work through today. We’ve clearly still got lots of work to do ahead of qualifying, but Valtteri’s time in FP2 looked promising, so there is obviously pace in the car, which is encouraging. Now it’s just a case of getting our heads together tonight to work out exactly how to extract that pace across the entire weekend.

James Allison, Technical Director

It was a scrappy day punctuated every few seconds by dozens and dozens of off-track frolics. The associated yellow flags interrupted the rhythm at a circuit where it is quite challenging to get temperature into the tyres, especially the fronts, and that as much as anything dictated your position on the leader board today. However, we have work to do overnight to make the car’s handling sweeter, as both drivers were struggling to get temperature into the front tyres and, as a consequence, suffering with front locking. There is going to be a lot more lap time to come from all of the front runners as the track rubbers in and the drivers gain in confidence. It’s already close at the front, so I expect that those who work well overnight, and keep a cool head tomorrow, will be rewarded in qualifying and the race.

USPA NEWS - Battle continues with Round Eight of the 2017 season from the Baku City Circuit.  

Toto Talks Azerbaijan -   
Seeing all the analysis that had been done after Monaco come together so well in Canada gave us great satisfaction. Now, it’ s about maintaining that momentum.  That’s the nice bit and also the difficult bit in Formula One. The last race doesn’t count any more. You’re being benchmarked constantly on the current performance. Public companies issue reports four times per year. We do it 20 times, on a very public platform – the race track.  When you have a bad day, you can either be downbeat about it or pull yourself up and start to act on it. This is what we have done. We moved on – and these are the days that make you progress much more than the good days. Like the old saying goes, success is a lousy teacher. Every time we’ve had a difficult weekend we have come back stronger. And that speaks volumes for the people in this team.  In this season, where it’s so close, you need to take it one race at a time and try to have the best package at each race – chassis, Power Unit, and drivers. This is how we are approaching it and that’s the only way.  It’s a long Championship. There will be weekends that are good and ones that are not so good. It’s about making the best out of it each time – maximising the points that are on the table during the difficult times and bringing the trophies home when everything does come together.  Lewis is in the best place I have seen him during any of the last five years since he joined the team. Not only because he had a great weekend in Montreal – but because he is coping so well with the difficult days. This is what the very best are made of. When the fight gets tough, they get over it quickly and maximise their opportunities.  Likewise, Valtteri is in a strong position. You would never think he joined the team very last minute over the winter and, after, seven Grands Prix, he has exceeded even our expectations. He’ s been on pole, won a race and challenged Lewis on both Saturday and Sundays. For him, it’s now just about putting it all together every single weekend and I have no doubt he will do that.  In terms of the car, we’ve joked about it being a bit of a diva. But it’s a good car – though sometimes it can be difficult. This is something we have to accept so that we can understand and appreciate the many positive characteristics that it has. I believe our car is the fastest on the grid and I wouldn’t want any other.  It’s always interesting to discover new places and I really didn’ t know what to expect going to Azerbaijan for the first time last year. They’ve done a great job with the circuit, the city centre is beautiful, the infrastructure works well and our hosts look after us well, so I’m looking forward to going back again. 

Featured this Week: 
Tackling Track Surface -   The bond between driver and race car might be the most prominent in the paddock. But just as important a relationship is that between the cars, their tyres, and the black stuff below – the track surface. And it’s an important one too. It’s those chunky Pirellis that connect the car to the circuit, and the interaction between tyre and track surface that generates grip.  Barely a Grand Prix media session passes without mention of track surface in relation to car set-up – usually in reference to the eternal quest for the perfect balance. Different track surfaces completely transform the grip generated by a tyre, influencing everything from set-up to strategy. So, naturally, it’s crucial for teams to understand how that interaction will develop each weekend. On a particularly ‘smooth’ track (as seen in Baku or Mexico City, for example), the surface is less abrasive, tyre wear is expected to be lower and it’s generally a lot easier to look after the rubber – aside from under extremes of temperature – meaning that softer compounds are a viable option. This is due to the fact that, when the tyre is compressed into the track surface under load, there is no part of the rubber moulding into the ground.  When tarmac is laid, it contains stones and bitumen. Initially, the bitumen serves as a layer over the stones, making it very smooth. But, as time continues to pass, the surface becomes increasingly worn. This natural evolution of a track surface creates significant variations in tyre behaviours.  Bahrain and Barcelona are both examples of what engineers would term a ‘rough’ circuit, where the peaks and troughs of the aggregate on the surface can be seen. When a tyre runs over this surface it stresses the rubber, which not only has an effect on grip levels but also increases sliding – which in turn increases the wear rate of the rubber. Circuits which feature high-speed corners, high cornering loads and old tarmac are particularly aggressive on wear – Suzuka being a prime example.  Ultimately, Formula One engineers aren’t phased by either type of surface. What matters is that they understand what type of surface they’ll be racing on so that they can then set the car up to generate the right kind of grip. Even at two similar circuit configurations, running a car with an identical set-up would yield a completely different balance at each venue if the tarmac were different. And in terms of strategy, the nature of the track has a significant influence on wear and degradation. The other notable multiplier in the mix is temperature. New tarmac is typically very dark in colour. And because it’s so dark, it reaches a very high temperature in direct sunlight. In Baku last year, for example, track temperature peaked at 55°C – approaching the point at which it starts to become extremely difficult to keep the tyres under control. As the surface became too hot, teams began to struggle with a loss of grip, which directly hurt wear and degradation and subsequently influenced strategy calls on the pit wall.  Extremes of temperature don’t always affect tyre performance in the same way on different track surfaces, however. In fact, even the fundamental science behind such calculations can’t explain every aspect of the relationship between temperatures, tyres and the track surface. It’s a constant learning curve for every team in the pit lane – and one which will need to be mastered for a successful weekend in Baku. 
2017 Canadian Grand Prix
Lewis leads Valtteri in stunning Silver Arrows 1-2 in Montreal 

 Lewis took his 56th career victory today – his sixth at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, and third of the 2017 season. Lewis scored his fourth career Grand Slam, claiming pole, the victory, fastest lap and leading every lap of the Grand Prix. Valtteri came home in second to secure the Silver Arrows’ first 1-2 of 2017 Lewis (129 points) closes the gap on Sebastian Vettel (141 points) to just 12 points in the Drivers' Championship, with Valtteri (93 points) a further 36 points back in P3.  Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (222 points) lead the Constructors' Championship by eight points from Ferrari (214 points) in P2.

Lewis Hamilton - 

It’s been such an incredible weekend.  I just couldn’t be happier with how it’s gone and I’m so grateful for this result. We came away from Monaco and we were scratching our heads, but we pulled together and look what we achieved. We came here with a much better understanding of the car and we delivered a real blow to the Ferraris. Valtteri did a fantastic job too and this is our first one-two finish together. We’ve scored a big load of solid points and it’s well deserved. It’s crazy to think I had my first pole and win here 10 years ago. The race actually felt very reminiscent of 2007, in terms of how it unfolded. It’s a long race here, especially when you’re out there on your own, but I knew the car would hold together and it did perfectly.  

Valtteri Bottas -

I’m so happy for us as a team to bounce back the way we did this weekend. It’s so impressive to see how the team has reacted in the last two weeks – how it’s worked and improved. I’ve never seen a group of people so determined to win and to get back on top, so to get the one-two finish today, it’s amazing. I tried my best to be aggressive and to get ahead of the Ferraris off the start and it worked, but I had a bit of a lock-up there which compromised my first stint. I lost some time behind the Red Bull and then the Force India after the stop, so we went for the Soft tyre for the second stint, but I didn’t quite have the pace. But I brought the car home for some great points.  

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport -

 That feels absolutely great. We have finally taken a 1-2 finish and done so at a track that we expected would be difficult for us – and which certainly was for us last year. Lewis delivered a stellar performance this weekend: a pole lap that was almost scary when you watch the onboard, then a totally dominant race. Likewise, Valtteri struggled with the car yesterday but he got everything right today to complete a perfect day for our team. Ever since Monaco, the guys and girls in the factory have been flat out. There was no weekend and people working 24/7 to better understand our problems – credit goes to so many people. So to bounce back in this way shows the calibre of the group that we have in the team. But the secret to this weekend was to keep the ball flat, stay calm, analyse our problems and come up with solutions. So this is the time to keep our feet on the ground, keep working hard and take it one race at a time. We saw some encouraging signs today but we need to working in just the same way to translate them into more success in Baku.  

James Allison, Technical Director - 

 Not every Grand Prix win can deliver the same breathless cut and thrust of the race we saw one month ago in Barcelona – but this is nonetheless an extremely satisfying team result after the disappointment of Monaco a fortnight ago. We came racing back on all cylinders here and made important headway in both championships. It’s our first one-two finish of this season and will allow us to approach the next race in Baku with a spring in our step.

2017 Canadian Grand Prix - Saturday - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Lewis storms to Canadian Grand Prix pole to equal Ayrton Senna's career total. Lewis stormed to his 65th Formula 1 pole position to equal his hero Ayrton Senna's long-standing pole total. It is Lewis' sixth pole position at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and his fourth of the 2017 season.

Lewis Hamilton
Honestly, I’m so happy. Montreal has been very good to me over the years. It was such a close battle with the Ferraris - they have been so quick this weekend. I dug down deep… It was a great lap, a sexy lap! I can't quite believe that it all came together so well. After such a tough time in Monaco, we learned from our mistakes. I owe this one to all the team back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth. I was just shaking when I was presented with Ayrton’s helmet. For many of you, Ayrton was your favourite driver. He was mine too. To receive this and match his record is a great honour. 

Valtteri Bottas
Firstly, a big congratulations to Lewis for his 65th pole position today. It’s a great achievement to match Senna. I was really trying hard, but it was a tricky day for me. I struggled with the balance of the car and wasn’t really happy in FP3. We made some changes and the car was much better in qualifying, but then in Q3 when it came down to getting those last hundredths and tenths, the car became unstable again. I just couldn’t get that lap together. The long runs seem okay though, so once again, I’m expecting it to be very close in the race with Ferrari. It’s all about tomorrow. 

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
I’m very pleased indeed with how the team has worked this weekend. We have improved the car from session to session, made good decisions with the set-up and, with a sensational lap from Lewis on top, pole is the reward. We spent the first half of qualifying working out which timed lap was the optimum for tyre performance and, in the end, settled on the first timed lap. It was all on the line for Lewis in that final run, so to find three tenths was very impressive; it takes him to a very significant milestone in his career, level with Ayrton Senna in terms of pole positions, which I know means a lot to him. For Valtteri, third on the grid is a strong starting position but he wasn’t as comfortable with the car today. It was very closely matched with Ferrari and I’m sure we will see more of the same tomorrow. I am always the skeptic when it comes to making predictions – but that’s the mind-set we need to cover all the bases tonight and have a strong race. 

James Allison, Technical Director 
This is another race weekend where we knew that we were right in the fight – but had no idea if we had enough performance to put our car on pole position. What makes it such a sweet feeling is to see two immaculate laps and a really commanding performance from Lewis. Valtteri was unable to improve on his final run, but nevertheless retained a strong P3 which puts us in good stead for the Grand Prix. The feeling of being on pole is absolutely fantastic but, of course, we have it all to do again tomorrow.
USPA NEWS
Silver Arrows back on song in Montreal. Lewis topped the morning session with Valtteri just 0.237s shy in P3. Lewis ended the day with the second fastest time in the afternoon session, with Valtteri fourth quickest. Both drivers ran the SuperSoft and UltraSoft compound tyre in FP1. Lewis then used the SuperSoft and UltraSoft rubber in FP2, while Valtteri ran on the Soft and UltraSoft tyres.

Lewis Hamilton - 
It’s been a pretty good first day for the team. The Ferraris are looking fast here and as the times show, it’s super close at the top right now. I feel like we are still just a little bit behind the red cars at this early stage of the weekend, but we’ll be pushing as hard as we can to close the gap ahead of qualifying on Saturday. After a tough weekend in Monaco, the main thing is that our car is already feeling a lot better around Montreal. It should be game on for the rest of the weekend.

Valtteri Bottas - 
After Monaco it was really nice to start this weekend with a positive feeling from the car. I think that we are looking quite competitive here, but it’s only practice. After practice two, it’s clear we still have a bit more work to do with the UltraSoft tyre to get more laptime out of those. But the car felt good on the Soft tyres that I tried. We’ll focus on finding that edge of extra performance from the UltraSoft and fine-tuning the set-up overnight. Otherwise I really enjoyed it and had good fun out there, but it’s the next two days that count.

James Allison, Technical Director - 
We had a trouble-free day with both cars which allowed us to get through our planned practice programme. As always on the first day in Canada, conditions were tricky owing to the low grip levels and the circuit seemed particularly dirty today. That factor, plus the number of cars on a short lap, made it difficult to put together consistent and meaningful running. Nevertheless, what we have seen so far suggests that we will have another ding-dong battle on our hands, like at the first six races – and it is very hard to predict who will come up with the goods on Sunday.

2017 Canadian Grand Prix - Preview - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - 2017 Canadian Grand Prix - Preview - Battle continues with Round Seven of the 2017 season from the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Toto Talks Canada "Yesterday's home runs don't win today's games, so said Babe Ruth and he was right.

2017 Monaco Grand Prix

2017 Monaco Grand Prix - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Valtteri just falls short of the podium, as Lewis fights back to seventh. Valtteri came home in P4, behind Daniel Ricciardo, but ahead of Max Verstappen, after an intense battle with the Red Bulls in Monte Carlo. Lewis battled from P13 on the grid to claim seventh at the chequered flag.

Valtteri just falls short of the podium, as Lewis fights back to seventh.

 Valtteri came home in P4, behind Daniel Ricciardo, but ahead of Max Verstappen, after an intense battle with the Red Bulls in Monte Carlo Lewis battled from P13 on the grid to claim seventh at the chequered flag. 

Sebastian Vettel (129pt) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 25 points from Lewis (104pt) in P2 Scuderia Ferrari (196pt) lead the Silver Arrows (179pt) by 17 points in the Constructors’ Championship


Valtteri Bottas 

Missing out on a first Monaco podium is painful. It’s been a long week and we’ve worked so hard, so it’s disappointing to miss out. I was stuck in the traffic while Daniel [Ricciardo] was running in free air and ultimately, that cost me a place on the podium. It’s been a really tough weekend for us and we’ve just been missing pace. Ferrari were very strong this weekend and for whatever reason, their car seems easier to operate, so we have work to do. We have to learn from this, but there’s a long year ahead. Hopefully this will be our worst weekend this season. Canada should be a different story. 

Lewis Hamilton 

I’m really, really happy that I was able to fight back to seventh. The strategists said P10 was probably the maximum today, so it feels great to have beaten that target. To score six points, considering where I was on the grid after a disastrous day on Saturday is a good recovery. Today it was impossible to overtake and I tried everything to get past Carlos [Sainz] at the end! I’m just grateful to have ended up in P7. I went on the radio at the end there to make sure the team know that this battle isn’t over. We’ll be sure to push those red cars hard next time out in Canada. We’ve got a real fight on our hands, but there are still 14 races to go.  

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport  

Ferrari dominated the race today and first of all we must congratulate them for that performance. But our job is to analyse what happened to us this weekend and then to understand it. Today was a day of damage limitation and the drivers did that as well as they possibly could have done. Valtteri drove a controlled and consistent race. He was unfortunate to lose P3 at the pit stops but, with two cars, Red Bull had the chance to pincer him and they made that work. We successfully covered Verstappen but then Ricciardo was able to unleash some lap times that we just couldn't match. As for Lewis, he did a great job to take every opportunity that came his way and climb to P7, which was the maximum of our expectations for him today. There were also glimpses of competitive lap times during the later part of the race on the super soft tyre. But the reality is that we were in and out of the working window of the tyres this weekend and that made our performance too inconsistent overall. We have limited the damage and need to work hard to understand our weakness and come back much stronger in Montreal in two weeks' time.  

James Allison, Technical Director 

 Both drivers did their utmost today to gather as many valuable points as possible for the championship ahead. But it is clear that this weekend we didn't give them the equipment necessary to do better. This has been a tough week for us and we now need to go back to the factory and make sure we do everything in our power to ensure it remains our weakest result of the year - and that we can return to form in Canada.

2017 Monaco Grand Prix - Saturday - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Valtteri scores P3 in Qualifying, as Lewis misses out on Q3. Valtteri will start tomorrow's Monaco Grand Prix from P3, after missing out on pole by 0.045s in a tight-fought Qualifying. Lewis completed a single run in Q1 and two runs in Q2 - like Valtteri, all on the UltraSoft.

Valtteri Bottas 
This weekend has been a bit tricky for us. We started well in FP1 before getting a bit lost with the set-up in FP2. Then it was difficult to get a lap together in Qualifying as well. It takes two to three laps to build the temperature up and find the right balance and feel for the car. It was very close today but Ferrari seems to have the upper hand here – they were very strong this afternoon. Of course it would be nice to start on the front row but anything is possible from P3 on the grid. It’s difficult to overtake here but it’s definitely a race of opportunity. Tomorrow is Monaco, where anything can happen.  

Lewis Hamilton 
 I really struggled with the car today and I just don’t think the opportunity was quite there for me. It was a little bit unfortunate with the yellow flag, but it doesn’t really matter now if I could have gone faster. I think that lap may have just got me into the top 10 but I would have struggled to make it into the top five with the pace that I had. Valtteri didn’t have any struggles today so I’m a bit confused and I can’t pinpoint the problem at the moment. I’m feeling pretty deflated right now but I’ll try again tomorrow. It’s great that Valtteri extracted a good lap. We just need to identify why I wasn’t able to be up there too. Onwards and upwards.  

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport 
Two very different qualifying results today for Lewis and Valtteri. With Lewis, you could see even from the TV pictures that he was struggling with the car and nearly lost it a couple of times in qualifying. We don’t know at the moment what went wrong: we took a false turn with the set-up on Thursday and, since then, although we tried to retrace our steps, we never got it back on track for him. Of course he was unfortunate with the yellow flag for Vandoorne in Q2, as he was on course to make it through the session, but the car never felt good for him after FP1 and that made it tough to put together the laps. Tomorrow’s race will clearly be a case of damage limitation for him and trying to maximise his points score; but he will fight to the last lap. For Valtteri, it was quite a different outcome. The result he achieved didn’t look possible for much of the session but he really pulled out a fantastic lap on the final run in Q3 – and came just a few thousandths shy of a place on the front row. Ferrari are clearly in the driving seat for tomorrow but we will be in the hunt, too. 

James Allison, Technical Director  
That was an excellent lap from Valtteri who wrung every last drop of performance out of the car this afternoon and gave us a fighting chance in the race with a P3 grid position. Clearly we have a significant job of work on our hands to understand why the car was so difficult to drive for Lewis – and to figure out what we can do with the limited adjustments we can make, and the slightly greater freedom in race strategy, to recover as good a result as possible tomorrow.

2017 Monaco Grand Prix Preview - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Battle continues with Round Six of the 2017 season from the Circuit de Monaco Toto Talks Monaco Featured this Week: Monaco - One of a Kind (Includes Driver Video) Stat Attack: Monaco and Beyond Toto Talks Monaco "It's always good to come away from a race weekend with a points advantage, no matter how small.

USPA NEWS - Battle continues with Round Six of the 2017 season from the Circuit de Monaco  Toto Talks Monaco Featured this Week: Monaco – One of a Kind (Includes Driver Video) Stat Attack: Monaco and Beyond

Toto Talks Monaco 

“It’s always good to come away from a race weekend with a points advantage, no matter how small. But the gap is just that: very small. We are in a massive fight with Ferrari. On one side, this is very exciting and challenging. But on the other side, it is going to stretch us to our limits. You cannot base your current assessment on the balance of power on just Barcelona. “It was painful to lose 15 valuable points with Valtteri retiring from P3. We’ve identified the root cause of the problem, which was the turbo. We haven’t seen that defect before, which shows you that you need to be double diligent. This is a technical sport and if you stretch your limits, you’ll encounter technical problems.  “If you look at the results, both Pascal and Esteban had a really good weekend. Pascal made the one-stop strategy work and could have been P7 – but P8 is still very good for him and very valuable points for Sauber. I’m happy to see how Pascal has fitted into the team. He speaks highly about the team and is on a great learning curve. “As for Esteban, Force India have been very successful in scoring regular points. Esteban is making a good contribution to that. He will really need to stretch himself to beat Checo (Pérez), who is the benchmark for him, but I’m interested to see how that battle develops. They’re pushing each other to new levels and Force India will be the beneficiary. “We expect Monaco to be a completely different ball game to Barcelona. The circumstances, working environment and driving challenges are completely different to anywhere else – and you need to get everything exactly right if you want to perform to your maximum around those streets. Not every factor is under your control, either, so you need to turn fortune in your favour at the right time if you want everything to come together.  “Monaco is also one of our busiest races. We welcome many guests, executives and partners, who all contribute to our success in different ways. It’s extra special to have this group cheering for us, so we look forward to their support at the track. “Every weekend will push us to the limit; this is the new reality of Formula One in 2017. The last three years were extraordinary. But this season I have re-discovered why I love the sport. I love the intense competition. This competition means that you won’t be winning easily – but that you’ll have a fierce fight on your hands. Because of that, the feeling is even greater when you manage to come out on top, as we did in Spain.  “If we get the job done in Monaco, I’m pretty sure we’ll bring down the garage roof. We’re all properly fired up for this fight, so let’s see what we can do…” Featured this Week: Monaco – One of a Kind  Monaco is a race like no other. You don’t need to be an F1 aficionado to know that much. The tight, twisting circuit that threads its way through the famous streets of Monte Carlo is a one-of-a-kind throwback to the eras of Fangio or Caracciola. And even now, decades later, this remains the crown jewel of the Formula One calendar.  It’s the race every single driver on the grid wants to win – or win again, in Lewis Hamilton’s case. But victory in the Principality isn’t quite like winning anywhere else. The greatest Grand Prix of them all offers a unique challenge not only to the drivers but the teams as well. Monaco is the ultimate drivers’ circuit – a track all about precision. Drivers spend hours at the factory ahead of the race studying and preparing for this one race. Some go even further…  “I’ve been doing this for a long time now,” says Lewis. “I spend a lot of time at the factory with the engineers to understand past races. Just the other night, I was driving around the track in my Smart car, visualising the circuit. It’s not so easy, though, when there are lots of cars around!” As Lewis explains, racing at Monaco is all about peaking at exactly the right moment. A driver must feel his way into the weekend, building up confidence and momentum as the track develops. From the moment they turn left out of the garage on Thursday morning in FP1, this process begins. They’ll push that bit harder, flirt that fraction closer with the barriers and brake a touch later, as they find more time from within themselves.  “The most important thing is that you have to learn to walk before you run,” says Lewis. “You have to build up to the pace so that, by the time you work up to that second run in Q3, you’re at 100%.” You’ll often see drivers who are quick in the earlier sessions crash out on Saturday morning in FP3 where they’ve pushed just that bit too much, too early. Monaco is not a circuit that forgives. If you misjudge your braking or your turn-in point even by a matter of millimetres, you’ll end up in the barriers. And if you lose a session in Monaco, you’ll struggle to recover from it.  “It’s one of those weekends when you really need to be on the top of your game,” explains Valtteri. “You need to be so focused on what is a mentally exhausting weekend. You need to be focused on every single car of every single lap, because one mistake will cost you.” Then there’s the added challenge of 2017’s wider, heavier, faster cars. “We have new cars this weekend which are wider and faster, so that’s going to be a massive challenge,” says Lewis. “In trying to push the car as close as you can to the limit, it’ll be a real test of your awareness of where the car is. I’m sure there will be some brushing of the barriers…”  Monaco is the one race of the year when the Grand Prix can almost feel like a side show to the main event. Amongst the boat parties and the superstar celebs, having a distraction-free weekend is a huge part of the challenge for the drivers. To combat this fatigue, the engineers spend a lot of time ensuring that their drivers are able to break up their time and switch off. It’s tough, with Monaco a busy weekend from a media and marketing perspective. But this is crucial in allowing the drivers to relax and get away from what is a very intense weekend, with immense pressure.  “It’s a circuit which is all about mental strength,” says Lewis. “You need to be sharp and clear. Experience counts here too – that helps massively in setting the car up.” Ultimately, Monaco is a weekend all about compromise, from the engineering setup to the cars themselves. The pit wall, for example, sits one story above the compact garages rather than overlooking the start finish-line as it does at every other circuit.  While engineers don’t necessarily need to see the cars to engineer them these days, instead relying on bespoke software for strategy and live feeds for visual aids, they do like to be able to see the garage. In Monaco, the occupants of the pit wall have to rely on cameras to show them what is going on. It may seem simple – but good communication becomes even more important in that environment. Logistically, too, Monaco is tricky to say the least. A distinct lack of garage space means the engineers share their office with front wings, floors and hydraulic systems. The frequent support races during the weekend mean they also have to deal with a near constant level of noise, as cars fly past while important debriefs are underway.  There’s not much space downstairs either. The tyre technicians, for example, have to work down in the harbour – carrying all of the tyre sets up to the pit lane as and when they’re needed because there is simply not enough space in the garage. These factors heap extra pressure on what is already a tough weekend for the team. Track position takes on an even greater level of importance and must be considered in any strategy move here. When you’re in the lead of the Monaco Grand Prix, it’s all about protecting that position and managing the advantage. The last thing you want to do is offer the trailing car clean air and an opportunity to pass through strategy. .  In fact, you’ll often see the leader driving within their means through fear of storming into a lead, only to see their advantage wiped out when they’re left on worn tyres later in the stint. This year’s tyres offer a new challenge, as teams expect to be able to complete the entire race distance on either the UltraSoft or SuperSoft. That low degradation rate means a smaller delta between the tyres, which will only make it trickier to pass.  All these factors converge to make Monaco the stiffest test a driver can face in F1. Amid the yachts, glamorous guests and VIP events, it all comes down to mastering those 3.337 km of undulating tarmac. “Monaco is always a great challenge,” smiles Valtteri. “We live for these kinds of challenges.”
2017 Spanish Grand Prix
Mixed emotions after tense Barcelona battle, as Lewis claims victory but Valtteri retires. 

Lewis took his 55th career victory today – his second at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and second of the 2017 season. 

Valtteri experienced his first retirement as a Silver Arrows driver with a mechanical failure on lap 39 Lewis set the fastest lap of the race for the third time this season – the 50th Formula One fastest lap for the three pointed star. 

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (161 points) lead the Constructors’ Championship by eight points from Ferrari (153 points) in P2 Lewis (98 points) closes the gap on Sebastian Vettel (104 points) to just six points in the Drivers’ Championship, with Valtteri (63 points) a further 35 points back in P3


Lewis Hamilton 

It’s been a really good weekend and a great way to bounce back from Russia. It was the rawest fight that I can remember having in a long-time. I loved it, this is why I race. This is what made me get into racing in the first place. This is what the sport needs to be like every single weekend. To have a close battle like that with a four-time champion is awesome. I lost out on the start and had to watch Sebastian fly by. He was so fast out in front and it was such a push to keep in touch with him and not let him pull away. I was able to manage my tyres in the first stint and keep relatively close, then it was tricky to keep up on the Medium tyre and then after the second stop. We came out so close together which was super tight into Turn 1. He didn’t give me much space, it was close! I thought Seb would get me at the end of the final stint but I was able to do it. I have to congratulate my team today, with the strategy and the pit stops, as well as everyone back at the factory that has worked so hard to deliver these upgrades, enabling us to be so close in this fight with Ferrari.  


Valtteri Bottas 

It’s been a tough weekend. We had problems straight from practice, when we had to swap to the old engine on Saturday morning. Then today we had an engine failure in the race. We don’t know any more than that at this stage. We knew it was a risk switching back to the old Power Unit in terms of the mileage but we didn't if we wanted to qualify yesterday. At least we got more points than Ferrari today in spite of the retirement. The first corner was very tight. I had a good start but there was no were to go. I tried to avoid the collision but I touched Kimi. Lewis was on a different strategy while I was running long. We tried to execute a one-stop which is why I was lapping slower at that point. It could have been a rewarding strategy but with the Virtual Safety Car the guys in front had a free pit stop. We should have both been on the podium today. It’s always disappointing when you don’t finish but we’ll pick ourselves up and move on.  


Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport  

That was an epic Grand Prix. Racing simply doesn’t go more wheel to wheel – and we were treated to some fantastic racing for the win. Today’s win was one for the whole team: an amazing drive from Lewis, great calls by our strategy team, good defensive driving by Valtteri, the fastest pit stops of the race and a quick, consistent upgraded car. Everything clicked and came together for us. It wasn’t an easy race after we lost position at the start: we were on the back foot, so when Vettel covered the early undercut, we sent Lewis long and took the medium tyre – to give us options at the end with another set of softs. Then we made perfect use of the VSC and took a risk to run nearly half the race on a set of softs: we thought it would work out but it was always going to be tight. After that, it came down to some brilliant driving and then managing the tyres and engine just right to the final lap. But it was not a perfect day: we lost one car with a technical failure and Valtteri struggled with a damaged car after the contact at Turn One. In spite of that, he drove well and the one-stop approach could have worked out for him until the VSC happened. But it was a day when only one Ferrari finished, so in spite of the retirement, we built up our championship lead. But this was Lewis’ day with a supreme drive. People have been asking me if Lewis is now back. The truth is he has never been away – and today’s showed it.  


James Allison, Technical Director  Grands Prix

 like that are why we go motor racing. Winning is always lovely. But when you win a proper 12 round heavyweight fight in this kind of style, and along the way answer all sorts of questions about tyre degradation, following other teams and the car’ s handling – and then see a driver at the peak of his craft like Lewis was today – there’s nothing better than that. It was a body blow not to get our second car home and we will be looking carefully at what happened to Valtteri. But the sweetness of winning is some compensation for the bitterness of that retirement.

2017 Russian Grand Prix
Valtteri claims his first Formula 1 victory with Lewis fourth in tense Russian Grand Prix.

 Valtteri took his maiden Formula One victory today after jumping the two Ferraris off the start, then edging out Sebastian Vettel in a nailbitting, race-long battle.

Lewis produced a battling drive to finish P4 after struggling with overheating throughout the race.

 Today’s result marks the 400th podium finish for Mercedes-Benz Power in Formula One.

 Lewis (73pt) is P2 in the Drivers' Championship, 13 points behind Vettel (86pt) in P1 Valtteri is in P3 (63pt), with Kimi Raikkonen fourth (49pt) Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (136pt) lead the Constructors’ Championship by a single point from Scuderia Ferrari (135pt).

Valtteri Bottas -

It’s going to take a while to sink in. Normally I’m not that emotional but hearing the Finnish national anthem was very special for me. It’s all a bit surreal, the first win and hopefully the first of many. It was definitely one of my best races ever. The pressure from Sebastian wasn’t too bad; the main issue was with the lapped cars, trying to get past those. It was tricky to pass them without losing time. I also had a lockup with about 15 laps to go that hurt the pace, but it was manageable. I asked for a bit of radio silence just to get on it and focus. I’m sure this victory will give me lots of confidence going forward. I knew I could do these results, I always trusted my ability, but this result confirms it.  


Lewis Hamilton - 

A big congratulations to Valtteri. He did an exceptional job today and he really deserves it. He’s been fast all weekend and he’s done such a good job for the team. He’s a fantastic teammate to work with and it’s such an amazing feeling winning your first Grand Prix. For me it was a very tough weekend. I just wasn’t quick enough. I’ve never had cooling issues like that before but it meant I was out of the race from the get-go. I think I had the pace to fight with Kimi, but the car just kept overheating. Ultimately, if I had better pace then I would have been further up. At least I got some good points for the team. I’m just hopeful that I can pick up the pace at the next race.  


Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport - 

A fantastic first win for Valtteri this afternoon and an amazing day for him. He controlled the race perfectly: a great start, then a perfect restart after the Safety Car and a fantastic first stint where he built the gap on the UltraSoft. But then it got tense: we stopped, didn't quite have the pace on the SuperSoft, hit traffic and it needed nerves of steel to handle the pressure in those final laps with a four-time champion closing in. But in the joy of Valtteri's first win, the result was also a reminder that we still have work to do. Lewis had to manage temperatures from very early on, which meant he couldn't unlock the potential of the undercut around the stops. After that, it was a question of managing the race and collecting the points. But it's clear we didn't give him the car to do the job this weekend and it is a priority for us to sort this out before Barcelona.  


James Allison, Technical Director - 

 We’re all so pleased to see Valtteri on the top step of the podium. A driver’s first win is always very special but especially when it comes like it did this weekend, off the back off some difficult sessions. That makes victory all the sweeter. Our happiness is tempered though by the fact that we couldn’t get Lewis into a position where he could be properly competitive. It’s a reminder to us that we have more work to do before we can put a car on the track for both Saturday and Sunday that we know is going to absolutely top rank competitive, which is what we’ll need to do in this, such a hard-fought and competitive season.

SATURDAY

Scuderia Ferrari edge the Silver Arrows in tense Sochi Qualifying shootout. Valtteri Bottas claimed P3 on the grid, with the top three cars covered by just 0.095s . Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow's Russian Grand Prix from P4. Both drivers completed a single run in Q1 on UltraSoft tyres, a single run on the UltraSoft in Q2, then two runs on the UltraSoft in Q3. 

Valtteri Bottas -
I think we can see Ferrari were quicker today. We were close in the end, but not close enough. All weekend they've had the upper hand and they've managed to extract more out of the tyres. They are looking very strong here and, as we’ve seen so far this year, Ferrari have a good race pace and we expect it to be the same tomorrow. We made an improvement from yesterday: it wasn’t quite enough but I think the changes we made overnight should help us in the race. Tomorrow is where it counts and starting on the second row is still not a bad place to begin the race. There’s a very long run down into Turn 2 and a lot of slipstreaming. Ferrari is ahead today, but hopefully not tomorrow.  

Lewis Hamilton -
I just wasn’t quick enough today. It was all in the last sector, I was losing half a second there. I’ve been struggling there all weekend with the balance and it’s been tough to utilise the tyres. We’ll go back to the drawing board tonight and try and improve. Ferrari did a great job. They look quick on race pace and my race runs weren’t great yesterday, so it’s going to be tough. But we’ll give everything we’ve got. Sochi isn’t the easiest track to follow on, but there are long straights which should offer the opportunity to move forward. That’s our goal. I’m on the dirty side of the grid so I haven’t done myself any favours off the start. But that was the best job I could do today. We’ve got a real race to look forward to. There’s no point being upset; we’ll channel our positive energy and hopefully Sunday will be better.  

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport -
Today’s result showed that, while Ferrari and ourselves are a long way ahead of the other teams, it’s still a work in progress for us to get the car into the right window and performing consistently. We made a good step compared to yesterday but this afternoon, the top three were covered by less than a tenth of a second and Valtteri could even have been on pole with his final lap until a small mistake in the last sector. As for Lewis, he hasn’t been happy with the car, finding it tricky to drive, and this is a place where you need to feel good with the car to hook it all up. So we start from the second row tomorrow and now it’s our job to look forward and see what the race can bring. As the hunters and not the hunted, maybe we have some different cards we can play to chase the race victory.  

James Allison, Technical Director -
It always hurts when you’re not at the front and even more so when the gaps are so small. After struggling yesterday in practice, we did a good job to unlock the performance of the car overnight and made a good step forward relative to our competitors and Ferrari in particular. However, it wasn’t quite enough to get either car on the front row. We will knuckle down this evening, prepare thoroughly and look forward to a strong race tomorrow in what are expected to be broadly similar conditions.  Valtteri Bottas It’s been an interesting day. It’s a very different situation here with the asphalt and the temperatures compared to what we experienced in Bahrain. We were learning about the tyres on long runs and short runs and it seems like over one lap we still have work to do to get the maximum out of the UltraSoft tyre - that’s our focus tonight. But we can’t forget how important the race is.  We have started the weekend in the right way. The car feels good and the balance is there. A good start but we definitely need to work hard to find some lap time for qualifying.  Lewis Hamilton Bit of a difficult day for us. We managed to complete everything that we needed to do on our runs, but in terms of the balance of the car, the Ferrari seemed very, very fast on the long runs, so we need to work out how we can improve our pace. But there’s still everything to play for. The tyres feel very peaky, so it’s easy to drop out of the window of performance. But when they’re working they seem to be good. 

James Allison, Technical Director -
We enjoyed plenty of useful running with both drivers having untroubled sessions – completing our planned programme. But it’s pretty clear from both the long run pace and the set-up runs that we have got a bit of work to do to be on equal terms with Ferrari. As normal we will set about cutting that gap overnight and hopefully we will have a car that is able to get the job done on Saturday and Sunday. There are clear avenues that we need to work on to make sure we are properly competitive tomorrow. If we get that right it’ll be close just as it has been all year.
FRIDAY

Valtteri Bottas -
It’s been an interesting day. It’s a very different situation here with the asphalt and the temperatures compared to what we experienced in Bahrain. We were learning about the tyres on long runs and short runs and it seems like over one lap we still have work to do to get the maximum out of the UltraSoft tyre - that’s our focus tonight. But we can’t forget how important the race is.  We have started the weekend in the right way. The car feels good and the balance is there. A good start but we definitely need to work hard to find some lap time for qualifying. 

Lewis Hamilton -
 Bit of a difficult day for us. We managed to complete everything that we needed to do on our runs, but in terms of the balance of the car, the Ferrari seemed very, very fast on the long runs, so we need to work out how we can improve our pace. But there’s still everything to play for. The tyres feel very peaky, so it’s easy to drop out of the window of performance. But when they’re working they seem to be good. 

James Allison, Technical Director -
We enjoyed plenty of useful running with both drivers having untroubled sessions – completing our planned programme. But it’s pretty clear from both the long run pace and the set-up runs that we have got a bit of work to do to be on equal terms with Ferrari. As normal we will set about cutting that gap overnight and hopefully we will have a car that is able to get the job done on Saturday and Sunday. There are clear avenues that we need to work on to make sure we are properly competitive tomorrow. If we get that right it’ll be close just as it has been all year.


USPA NEWS

PREVIEW

2017 Russian Grand Prix Preview 
Battle royal continues with Round Four of the 2017 season from the Sochi Autodrom. The 5.848-kilometre (3.634 mi) circuit is the third-longest circuit on the Formula One calendar, behind Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and Silverstone in the UK.

Toto Talks Russia 
"You need to be able to draw a line under a tough weekend. It’s very painful to lose a race like that. There were too many marginal losses that we encountered and these cost us the victory. But they are down to us to fix. You need to be careful not to spend too much time thinking about these setbacks, but rather work on solutions for the future. That’s important.  "Of course, you need to keep both feet on the ground. Second and third place is definitely not a disaster. But if you have a car and two drivers capable of winning races and it hasn’t materialised, then it feels painful – and this is how it should feel. "We know what weaknesses we need to tackle and where we need to be even more diligent for the coming races in order to win. You have to confront each issue, analyse it properly and come up with a plan for how to avoid repeating those mistakes in the future. This is an exercise which we have done a number of times over the last few years.  "I’m delighted for Pascal and for how he bounced back in Bahrain. He’s still not completely pain free but, considering that fact, he had a brilliant weekend. He had a great qualifying and a really solid race. It’s just a matter of time until he scores his first points for Sauber. I’m very happy about that. He’s proven all of the critics wrong. As for Esteban, he has a very strong teammate in Checo Perez to benchmark himself against and that is exactly what he’s doing at the moment. He’s on the right trajectory.  "It’s very good to see people talking positively about Formula One. Clearly, the close fight between Ferrari and Mercedes is something that is interesting for the fans. It’s interesting for us too. This is why we go racing – because we’re racers and we thrive on the competition and the battle.
"It’s a totally different kind of track this weekend in Sochi and, in this season with these new regulations, you can’t take anything for granted. The trophies of previous years don’t guarantee that we’ll be winning in Russia when you have a very fierce competitor like we do in Ferrari. We’ll take it one step at a time, start the weekend well and hopefully have a good result on Sunday." Featured this Week: 2017 Race Starts  It’s no secret that the new era of cars introduced for the 2017 Formula One season are tougher to handle out on track. But a lesser-known, if equally significant challenge is getting these mighty beasts off the line.  New restrictions governing the influence of engineers over race starts is the latest move to reduce so-called ‘driver aids’. For 2017, there are new limits on clutch control, as well as the movement and location of the steering wheel paddles. The target? To make the relationship between what the driver does with the clutch and the amount of torque that gets transferred through to the racetrack much more direct. Drivers still use a single clutch paddle. But, unlike previous years, clutch control is now a linear relationship. Gone are the clever engineering maps to help find a clutch position – that special sweet spot for the perfect getaway. Previously, a driver only needed to drop the clutch in the wide zone – a launch map setting predetermined by an engineer – for a clean start. Now, they have to control the torque themselves with the steering wheel paddle, making it a very direct relationship between what the driver wants and what he gets.  To that effect, the rules have been tightened on teams using any kind of steering wheel reference to assist drivers with race starts. The movement of the clutch paddle is limited to 80mm and it is forbidden to set a position in the motion of the clutch paddle that feels different, or where the driver can hold it in a particular position to get a specific torque. This has been achieved through the introduction of a significant exclusion zone around the paddle, meaning the driver can’t access anything else whilst using the clutch. Fundamentally, the driver operates the paddle by himself without any external reference.  It’s now completely up to the driver to position his hand and feel the torque of the car as it accelerates. Those drivers who have a feel for modulating the torque to the rear wheels, keeping the wheel spin under control and accelerating smoothly will get better starts. Those who are a bit too aggressive will get wheel spin. It’s all down to the men at the wheel. Given the extent of the challenge, it may therefore come as something of a surprise to see how little variability there has been between drivers and teams over the first three races of 2017. The biggest single loss off the grid so far this year has been by Sergio Pérez, who dropped three positions in the wet start in China – the weather adding another variable. In contrast, the two McLarens were quick off the line in Shanghai, both gaining three spots each. The Silver Arrows have lost just one position in three races thus far – Lewis dropping behind Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari in Bahrain under braking into Turn 1. In the same race, Pascal Wehrlein was shuffled down the pack on his first full race start of 2017, before battling his way back through the field to P11 by the flag. So how has this been achieved? Simply put, a major contributor is that drivers are doing more practice than ever before. It’s the typical Formula One case study – present a set of world class athletes and the world’s very best engineers with a challenge and they’ll rise to it.  Being the world’s quickest racing driver does not automatically equate to being able to pinpoint release a paddle to nail that perfect start. Practice makes perfect.  More so than ever in 2017, a driver’s start is a result of hard work over pure luck. Teams have reimagined starts into a science through systems, technology and practice. And the perfect start is a result of hard work and dedication from the drivers, continuously working with their engineers to perfect this procedure. The outcome of a driver’s race can be determined by what they do in those first three seconds. They now have more control over this aspect of racing, so they’ve taken on more responsibility. And as the early data shows, they’re stepping up to the challenge – just as one would expect the world’s best to. However, looking ahead to Sochi this weekend, the long run down into the braking zone at Turn 2 – the scene of last year’s opening lap accident – provides another new challenge. 501m covers the sprint from pole to Turn 1 in Bahrain; 458m in Shanghai and, for Melbourne, a relatively short 383m dash before sweeping into the first corner. Sochi on the other hand is a 1,029m stretch from pole to the Turn 2 apex. This brings with it some entirely different challenges. Factor in the increased drag of the 2017 cars, for example, which will affect each car on the long run into the first braking zone. The man on pole will take a big hit to those following from the second row and further back, who can make use of the tow to take advantage of, or even negate the effect of, a poor start. With a run down into Turn 2 at twice the distance of Bahrain, the opening seconds of the Grand Prix may prove the most exciting and variable we have seen so far in 2017...
2017 Bahrain Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton -
It’s been a challenging weekend. The start of the race was OK but Sebastian was in my blind spot so I didn’t know where he was and I lost a position there. It was really hard to follow but we generally had similar pace. Under the Safety Car, I just misjudged it myself the situation; that was my fault, so my apologies to the team. I had good pace in the second and final stints and we honestly thought we could catch Sebastian. But the five second penalty made that twice as hard. I believe it was the right choice to go with the Soft in the final stint. I think that was the best call as I still had a long way to go. Our guys have been making good calls all year so far. I tried my best to recover from the mistake but it wasn’t quite enough. We still come away with good points.
Valtteri Bottas -
Not a good day. We had an issue with the tyre pressures at the start. I don’t know what it was but I could really feel it in the first stint and was sliding around as early as Lap 2. The pace wasn’ t good and Sebastian put us under real pressure. I tried to extend the first stint but I couldn’t keep up with the pace. The second stint was better but I was still struggling with oversteer and then I couldn’t get the rear-end to work in the last stint. Under the Safety Car at the first stop there was a problem and we lost some time in the stop; maybe otherwise I would have just been in front but I know that the team will investigate the issue. I had some good racing with Sebastian after the restart but unfortunately it was just for a short moment. I’ve not had the race results that I’d been hoping for so far, but will be targeting a strong weekend in Sochi. 

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport -
Today’s race reminded us once again that we are in a very different competitive situation this year, racing against Ferrari – and I am confident that this is a challenge we will rise to as one team. After a winter of massive regulation change, we have been in the hunt for race wins at every weekend and that is the big positive for us. But today was another reminder that we need to get everything right in order to deliver. That’s a challenge we relish as sportsmen and women. Ultimately, this was a day of marginal losses which cost us the win – however, as we saw particularly with Lewis, the pace was there in the car at the times when we were able to extract it. Our first loss came on the grid when a generator failure left Valtteri with too high starting pressures; that limited his pace in the opening stint, meaning we could not open a gap to the field and, with Lewis running behind Vettel, our strategic choices were pretty limited. We were on the back foot and then Ferrari played the undercut perfectly to come out ahead. We got lucky with the Safety Car which gave us an opportunity to recover but a problem with the wheel guns meant we lost time and positions with both cars. With the cars running different tyre compounds, we had to make the tough unpopular call for Valtteri to let Lewis pass; it’s not something we like to do but, when the moment comes that the race win is in danger, we will always do what we need to in order to get it. After that, we offset Lewis’ strategy as much as possible to give him the chance of closing down Sebastian in the final laps, but after he had served the five-second penalty, it left him with too much to do. We leave Bahrain with a lot more learning and still more work to do, in order to perform at our best and convert the car’s speed into race wins. 

James Allison, Technical Director -
It’s always disappointing when you don’t convert your grid positions into a result. We had a handful of small setbacks which collectively cost us. In a season where the battle is very close on race day, these errors meant that we didn’t manage to convert our opportunities into the victory that we’d hoped for. But the important thing is that the pace is there in the car and now we’re just looking forward to getting to the next race in Russia and the opportunity to make good on what we didn’t manage to achieve tonight.
2017 Bahrain Grand Prix - Saturday
Valtteri Bottas I’m really happy with my first Formula One pole. It’s my fifth season in the sport now, so it took a few races. But we got it and hopefully it is the first of many. It feels good. I didn’t realise it’d been nearly 10 years since a Finn was last on pole. I’m very proud as always to drive for Finland and represent my country. It’s not an easy track to get everything right. It’s quite a technical and there are a few tricky corners. But I I’ve been getting more and more comfortable with the car and managed to get the lap together. Thankfully it was good enough for pole. I just want to say a big thanks to the team for giving me this car. It’s great that we’re both starting from the front row.  We’ve done a really good job this weekend to focus on the evening conditions and really maximise the lap time in the car.  We’ll enjoy this for a short period of time – but the main focus is the race tomorrow. There is no point to start dreaming just yet. It’s all about getting the maximum out of the race. As a team we can be really strong tomorrow.
Lewis Hamilton

A big congratulations to Valtteri. He’s been working so hard and he’s gelled so well with the team. Today he was just quicker than me and did the better job, so hats off to him on his first pole. My lap felt great but it was so close out there. I was losing quite a bit of time through the first sector, which is unusual as it’s usually a very strong sector for me. Overall it was a great battle and that’s exactly how close qualifying should always be. It forces us to be on the absolute limit. I’m happy with the job I did and it’ s great for the team to lockout our first front row. Today we had a bit of a margin over the Ferraris but generally in race trim they seem to be a bit quicker, so we expect them to be closer tomorrow. It’s definitely going to be tight. Looking after the tyres is difficult, so whether it is a one or two stop race will be interesting to see. Hopefully we’ll have a great battle tomorrow.

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport -
That’s a fantastic result in a really close qualifying session with some great competition between the drivers. I’m very pleased for Valtteri. It was a tough race last weekend in China but he has been chipping away at his qualifying performances and he did a great job this evening, finding the last few hundredths on his second run in Q3. As for Lewis, he couldn’t quite improve on that final run – but for the first time this season we have both cars on the front row of the grid. The gap to Ferrari looks pretty good here but their drivers were complaining of understeer, so perhaps they have gone with more of a race set-up in mind. And then there’s Red Bull. You always have to have them on the radar because they have all the resources they need to be fighting at the front. Tomorrow’s race will be all about surviving on the tyres and making the right decisions in terms of strategy. We’re starting from the best possible positions and we now need to get the heads down and work hard to convert it into podium finishes tomorrow.

James Allison, Technical Director -
A first pole for Valtteri and it feels excellent. It’s lovely to have a front-row lockout and it’s a great reward to Valtteri for three excellent laps in qualifying today. We are all really happy. The gap to Ferrari is a little larger than in the first two races but rather than being surprised we’re just grateful for that small bit of breathing space. It will be different again tomorrow when everyone has their cars full of fuel – then we are sure to have our work cut out. We’re expecting the weather to change a fair bit for tomorrow, both windier and cooler. But it will be normal fare for Bahrain – tough on the brakes, tough on the drivers. It’ll be a long, hard toil, but hopefully we’ll end up at the front. It’s going to be super tight.
2017 Bahrain Grand Prix - Friday
Soaring temperatures, searing competition on opening day in Sakhir.
Lewis ended the morning session in P10 with Valtteri P14.
Valtteri set the second fastest time in the afternoon session with Lewis fifth quickest Both drivers ran the Medium and Soft compound tyre in FP1, the Soft and SuperSoft in FP2
Valtteri Bottas Today overall went well. Obviously, it’s difficult to learn much in FP1 with the extremely high temperatures, as the main sessions are under the lights in the evening when it’s much cooler. But we got some good data out of FP2 with short runs and long runs. The car was feeling good. We can definitely make it better but it was a positive start and I’m looking forward to qualifying. It was very hot today and the track normally improves quite a lot as you lose some of the sand, so I’m sure tomorrow we will go a lot quicker. How quick, we will find out. It’s definitely tougher than before, driving in the heat with these new cars. But I’m used to being in a Finnish sauna, so it’s no problem! It seems like the same trend continues here with it being so close with Ferrari. But Red Bull are looking good too and the whole pack is pretty close, if you look at the top six particularly. It looks like every little thing that we are going to be fine tuning today with the setup and anything extra we can find is going to be crucial for qualifying and the race.

Lewis Hamilton -
A pretty normal Friday, really. It was incredibly hot early on, with some of the very toughest conditions – both physically and in terms of working with the tyres. We got through that and then it was much cooler in the afternoon, giving us a much better representation of what qualifying and the race will be like. I was able to get a much better understanding of where the car is in FP2. It was very close, with Ferrari fastest. In race trim they seem a couple of tenths quicker, so I’m expecting a great battle tomorrow and then again on Sunday. We’ll work as hard as we can to try to close that gap. I have a great group of fans here and I tried to wave to them every time I went out. Their smiles really make a big difference.

James Allison, Technical Director -  
This is a pretty tough circuit at the best of times. But it is unseasonably hot this year, which made it a brutal day for both the cars and the drivers. Despite the heat, we had a very good look at the car this morning on a really hot track, before running through our normal FP2 programme in conditions more like those that we expect to see during qualifying and the race. I think we can see that it is going to be another really tight weekend between ourselves and Ferrari – a weekend where the smallest of mistakes could make the difference between the outcomes. It’s so exciting to be part of this fight, which is so tight and fought between two great teams. I hope that we can get everything together so that we are the ones that come out on top.

Daren Frankish - Daimler AG.
© 2017 Daimler AG. All rights reserved.

Lewis claims first victory of 2017 with Valtteri sixth in topsy-turvy Chinese Grand Prix

  • Lewis took his 54th Formula One victory today – his fifth at the Shanghai International Circuit, his first of the 2017 season and the third Grand Chelem (pole position, race win, fastest lap, leading every racing lap) of his F1 career
  • Valtteri produced a battling drive to finish P6 after a slow stop followed by a spin on cold slick tyres in wet conditions relegated him to P12 in the early stages
  • Today’s race marked the 150th Formula One start the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows
  • Lewis (43 points) holds a joint lead in the Drivers’ Championship with Sebastian Vettel, while Valtteri (23 points) sits P4 after two races – two shy of Max Verstappen (25 points) in P3 and one clear of Kimi Räikkönen (22 points) in P5
Lewis Hamilton -
My pole lap put me in a great position and then the start was just fantastic. I’m really happy with my starts right now so I want to keep that up! During the race I needed to keep my composure in some really tricky conditions out there. After the pit stop under the Safety Car the speed was low and the tyres were very cold, so it would have been very easy to make a mistake, so I’m just grateful that I didn’t. In those final 20 laps Seb and I were just pounding around as fast as we could, exchanging fastest lap times, that’s what racing is all about. In the future there will be times when we don’t have a Safety Car and we won’t have that gap. I’m excited for that. It’s very close and there were times when it was hard to match Sebastian. It has been a fantastic weekend and I’m so grateful for the effort the team has put in for us to be where we are today. It’s very overwhelming when you have a weekend like this, because I’m just a single link in the chain and there are hundreds of people who are involved to put me up here on the top step. Big congratulations to everyone, especially those back home, I hope they’re celebrating and feeling the spirit and the fight. 

Valtteri Bottas -
I’m very disappointed with today. I made a good start but it didn’t go so well from there. Yes, we lost some time in the pit stop but it was nothing compared to what we lost with my mistake. I was trying everything I could to get temperature in the tyres behind the Safety Car but went too aggressive and lost control of the car. It was entirely my fault. I’m really sorry for the team and the points we lost today. It took few laps to get the tyres working after the spin but in the end my pace was okay. I think we made the right choice sticking with the Soft tyre for the second stint. The car was good today – a winning car, obviously. But the laps were running out as I was getting closer to the cars in front and I couldn’t recover enough of the time I lost. I’m leaving for Bahrain tonight and I’m glad the next race comes soon. Once you’ve done a mistake it’s done, so you try to forget it and do everything you can to make up for it next time, so I will take a look in the mirror at myself and come back stronger. 

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport  -
This was a great drive by Lewis and a great result. Pace-wise, things looked pretty good out there today in all conditions, although there wasn’t much between us and Ferrari when we were running in free air. For Lewis, it was a pretty drama-free afternoon: he was managing the pace in the right way, our strategy was spot on and, on an afternoon when there was lots of scope for making mistakes, he didn’t put a foot wrong. As for Valtteri, his spin behind the Safety Car was unfortunate and cost him a lot of time. Mistakes like this happen but it was encouraging to see he had the pace in the car after that and could at least battle back to the position he held before the spin. Now he needs to forget about it and concentrate on the next race. Overall it’s now 1:1 for us against Ferrari and the development race is on. This is just the beginning… 

James Allison, Technical Director  -
Every single victory in Formula 1 feels great but this one is particularly satisfying after coming away from Melbourne without the win - it’s nice to get that monkey off our back. Our strategy calls were all tidily executed in what was a complicated race early on with the wet-dry track. Lewis drove faultlessly today but Valtteri unfortunately paid a heavy price for a small mistake behind the Safety Car. He raced well from that point forwards but his Grand Prix was heavily compromised by his early spin. We head to Bahrain on a high but we know we will be back to square one in terms of fighting a very strong opposition. We know that we will have to be absolutely on top of our game to do well there. All focus now on the next race and trying to repeat this great result.

Daren Frankish - Daimler AG.
© 2017 Daimler AG. All rights reserved.
Formula One back with a bang, as Silver Arrows score double podium in Melbourne.  Lewis Hamilton came home in P2 at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit to claim his 105th Formula One podium finish. Valtteri Bottas completed a double podium for the Silver Arrows in P3 on his debut for the team, taking his career tally of top three finishes into double figures. Lewis (18) sits P2 in the Drivers' Championship, seven points shy of Sebastian Vettel (25), with Valtteri (15) a further three points behind in P3 Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (33) trail Scuderia Ferrari (37) by four points in the Constructors' Championship

Lewis Hamilton -
A big congratulations to Sebastian and Ferrari. I know this win has been a long time coming for them. This shows we’ve got a real race on our hands this season and it’s a challenge we will relish. It’s going to be great for the fans. We had a really good start which is fantastic. It was nice to get a good getaway. But I was struggling with grip from the get-go. Sebastian was able to always answer me in terms of lap time and just go quicker. Towards the end of the first stint I caught some traffic and that overheated the tyres. I struggled for grip to the point where I needed to come in, plus the gap was closing up and I was sliding around a lot. We made the call to pit, because otherwise I think Sebastian would have come past me anyway. After my stop I got caught in some traffic which was unfortunate but that’s motor racing.
Valtteri Bottas -
There are always things that could have gone better on the day but it’s a good starting point for my journey driving for Mercedes. As a team I think we did a really good job with the car we had. But Ferrari were quicker today, there’s no doubt about that. They’ve obviously done a great job over the winter. From my side the main issue was the first stint. I felt like I was always sliding around on the UltraSoft tyre - missing front and rear grip - especially after 10 laps. That wasn’t easy. But once we stuck on the Softs I had a great feeling with the car. It was behaving really nicely and it felt really nice to drive. It’s a shame it was just a bit too late. But overall this race wasn’t a disaster. It’s good to start with a podium with a new team and every position is important for the Championship. There’s a long season ahead. I have my points and I’ll do better next time. I’m looking forward to China.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport -
 Some races you win, some races you lose, and when the days come where another team has done a better job, you need to accept that with humility and recognise their performance. Today, Sebastian and Ferrari were well-deserved winners. From the early stages of the race, it was clear that Sebastian was very quick because Lewis wasn’ t able to pull away. Sebastian came into the window where the undercut was possible and we had the feeling at that point that the tyres were not lasting. It was the team’s impression on the pit wall looking at the data and Lewis’ in the car, too. So that was when, with all the clear risks of coming out in traffic, we took the decision to come in. We were between a rock and a hard place, really, and we went for it. But Ferrari played it very well – and they had the quicker car today. After that, we seemed to pick up in performance on the Soft tyres. Lewis managed everything perfectly and I must compliment Valtteri, too – he showed really good pace, made no mistakes through the whole weekend and got his first podium with the team in his first race. Now, the job for us is to learn the lessons from this race, understand why we didn’t perform to our maximum today and keep working hard to improve the car in every area.
James Allison, Technical Director -
 If it wasn’t already clear after qualifying, then it’s certainly clear now that this is going to be a season of very small margins. We got a good getaway from the flag. But credit to Ferrari today, they had a very quick car and we just weren’t quite good enough to stick with them. We won’t panic, though. It’s race one of a long season and we scored some very good points with both cars today. We’ ll be determined to come back stronger in China and make sure those small margins go our way next time.

Daren Frankish - Daimler AG.
© 2017 Daimler AG. All rights reserved.


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