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Mercedes hoping for no Netflix repeats

NEWS STORY
23/09/2020

What could possibly go wrong? It was the much-anticipated weekend where Netflix was given full access to the Silver Arrows, and the team's home race at Hockenheim was given added significance by the fact that the Three Pointed Star was celebrating 125 years in motor sport.

Unfortunately, things didn't go to plan.

Sporting a special retro livery and all team members wearing period costumes, things were looking good when Lewis Hamilton took pole, ahead of Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas, the two Ferraris, which were widely tipped to grab pole both suffering technical issues and qualifying tenth (Leclerc) and 20th (Vettel).

On Sunday, heavy rain before the start turned the race on its head, with Hamilton spinning off and damaging his front wing, and subsequently being hit with a time penalty for entering the pits incorrectly. To add to the Briton's misery, he subsequently spun again.

To compound the team's woes, teammate, Bottas went off at Turn 1 just a few laps after Hamilton had been caught out at the same corner, the Finn, who had been running 4th at the time, suffering suspension damage that put him out of the race on the spot.

With this in mind, team boss, Toto Wolff is hoping that as Netflix prepares for another - possibly historic - weekend shadowing his team, there are no repeats.

"The Russian Grand Prix will be the race where Netflix will follow our team for the third season of Drive to Survive," said the Austrian. "Last year, they shadowed us at Hockenheim where we celebrated our home race and 125 years of motorsport - and had our worst race of the season.

"That made for a very entertaining episode," he admits, "but we hope that this time we can have great content and a great race.

"Sochi has been a good circuit for us in the past, and we hold a strong track record there," he adds, the German team having won all six events since Russia joined the schedule in 2014.

"The Autodrom has a fairly unusual layout and it's one feature in particular that makes it special: the long run from pole to the first braking zone. It means that the pole-sitter isn't necessarily in the strongest position for the race start as the cars behind him benefit from the tow.

"You could see it last year when Vettel overtook Leclerc on the run down to Turn 2 and in 2017, when Valtteri beat pole-sitter Vettel from P3. Our qualifying pace has been really strong this year, but this strength could easily turn into a vulnerability on race day."

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