Mercedes Boss Doesn’t Want Another Hockenheim Like Debacle in Sochi Amidst Netflix’s Presence

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Mercedes F1 will be attracting more than the usual number of eyeballs and cameras for the Russian Grand Prix on the 27th of September. The Brackley-based outfit will be under the limelight as their Sochi adventure is set to be documented for next season’s Drive to Survive. According to Team Principal Toto Wolff, that could be a bane, based on their past experiences.

The last time Mercedes were followed by the camera crew from the famous Netflix series, it all went horribly wrong. The German Grand Prix 2019, at Hockenheim, was the venue of the debacle.

Both Mercedes cars had a nightmare of a race and ended up with a combined total of 2 points gained (thanks to Lewis Hamilton). What further added to the embarrassment was the fact that the team was celebrating its 125th year in the sport as well as its 200th F1 start.

Recollecting those nightmarish memories, Wolff said, “The Russian Grand Prix will also be the race where Netflix will follow our team for the third season of Drive to Survive.

“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 Netflix episode. But we hope this time we can have great content and a great race.”

Mercedes boss talks about the downside of being on pole in Sochi

both the Mercedes cars doing battle at the front of the grid following a restart in Mugello
Formula One F1 – Tuscan Grand Prix – Mugello, Scarperia e San Piero, Italy -Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race Pool via REUTERS/Claudio Giovannini

The track layout at Sochi is such that those behind the pole sitter are likely to benefit from the tow. And the Silver Arrows, being the dominant force that they are, will most likely book a 1-2 berth in qualifying. But that could, instead, put them at a disadvantage.

Wolff said, “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 the pole sitter isn’t necessarily in the strongest position for the race start.

“You could see it last year when Vettel overtook Leclerc on the run down to turn 2. In 2017, Valtteri beat pole-sitter Vettel from P3.”

Nevertheless, despite the perceived disadvantage, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas should be too strong for any other team/driver to stay in front of them for too long.

However, if we were to witness a race similar to the ones we have seen in Italy, things could get really spicy.

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