Motorsport Blog
Topic

Motorsport Blog

Under pressure Mercedes targets 75th pole in China for 150th start as F1 constructor

The Mercedes Formula 1 team is under some pressure from Ferrari, but has the added motivation to succeed in China this weekend; it can reach a nota...

Under pressure Mercedes targets 75th pole in China for 150th start as F1 constructor

The Mercedes Formula 1 team is under some pressure from Ferrari, but has the added motivation to succeed in China this weekend; it can reach a notable milestone of 75 pole positions in the German manufacturer’s 150th start as a constructor in the championship, a truly astonishing statistic that underlines how the Silver Arrows have dominated during two brief periods in the sport.

The adventure began in the 1950s and was picked up again in the 2010s - Juan Manuel Fangio and Sir Stirling Moss scored eight F1 poles for Mercedes during its first stint in the series in 1954 and 1955, while Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton chalked up 66 more since the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix. Incidentally, the last non-Mercedes driver to start from pole in Shanghai was Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull back in 2011.

Mercedes has won 64 F1 races in its first 149 starts – nine from Fangio and Moss, and 55 coming courtesy of Rosberg and Hamilton. Since the start of 2014 it has been the dominant team in F1 thanks to the superiority of its V6 turbo engine, and the Brackley-based team has won the drivers’ and constructors’ championships for the last three seasons.

But as F1 heads to Shanghai for the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix, Mercedes does not head either the drivers’ or teams’ standings thanks to Vettel’s victory for Ferrari in the Australian Grand Prix last time out.

Mercedes has faced criticism for its decision making around Lewis Hamilton’s o pitstop for fresh tyres earlier than his rival, which handed Ferrari track position.

Hamilton called for the stop a due to tyre concerns nd Mercedes agreed on the assumption that Max Verstappen would soon pit to undercut Kimi Raikkonen and clear the road, but it didn't happen.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff punched the desk in frustration and has since outlined his belief that losing to Vettel and Ferrari in Australia would help his team make better choices in the future.

Lewis Hamilton

Speaking ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, he said: "Australia was the first weekend for the new technical regulations, with a new car, new tyres and a new driver. We collected lots more information that will be flowing into all future thinking and will help us make better decisions.

"As a group and as individuals, we are all on a personal development slope in this team. We try to improve every single day. On that particular day in Melbourne, Ferrari were better, so we now have to work out how we can improve again to beat them.”

Wolff also explained that in the time that has passed since the opening round of the 2017 season, Mercedes had been focused on learning from its own performance in Melbourne rather than looking to other teams for inspiration.

Toto Wolff

He said: "The last three years were an outlier in Formula 1 and you need to be careful to manage your own expectations. If you think you are going to cruise to victory in the future, based on a track record of success, you'll be proven wrong very quickly. You need to put the finger in the wound, identify your weaknesses and then respond.

"We achieved a double podium in the first race of a brand new set of regulations - a strong result by any standard. But that doesn't mean we can be satisfied because there are still many areas where we can be better. We have been focused on these during the past week.

“It's not a case of looking at the competition for inspiration but of getting our own homework done to maximise our performance.”

What have you made of Mercedes F1 performances ahead of its 150th F1 start? Do you expect the team to hit back and Ferrari this weekend? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.
shares
comments
Chinese GP set to expose McLaren-Honda weaknesses

Previous article

Chinese GP set to expose McLaren-Honda weaknesses

Next article

Gallery: F1 teams that became defunct in the last 25 years

Gallery: F1 teams that became defunct in the last 25 years
Load comments
The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin Prime

The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon in Texas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement Prime

Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man Anthony Peacock explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it).

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
How Verstappen has become F1 champion material Prime

How Verstappen has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle Prime

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be set to be another close contest.

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Prime

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Prime

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021