Tales from the paddock – Gary Paffett: “Every time I think about it, I wonder what I could or should have done better”

May 9, 2018

What a spectacular finish to the second of the two DTM races at Hockenheim! Gary Paffett looks back on the high point of the opening weekend and ahead to the next fixture at the Lausitzring.

  • This is what happened: Weekend results and facts
  • News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams
  • Three questions for Gary Paffett
  • Social media news: What’s new online?

This is what happened: Results and facts

  • DTM: Gary Paffett and Lucas Auer score a one-two win in the DTM season opener at Hockenheim
  • DTM: After the first race weekend, Mercedes-AMG lead the constructors’ championship and Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS the team classification
  • Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup: Michael Meadows and Raffaele Marciello finish Race 1 on the podium

News snippets

Barcelona, here we come: Formula 1 returns to the continent of Europe. The Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona sees the familiar motorhomes back in the paddock and also the premier class of motor racing contested on a classic track. The team has had mixed fortunes at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona: Lewis Hamilton (2014, 2017) and Nico Rosberg (2015) have won three of the last four races in Spain, but in 2016 there was also a frustrating double retirement. In qualifying, the balance sheet looks even more respectable, with the last five pole positions all having gone to a Mercedes driver (Lewis three times, Nico twice). In all, drivers powered by a Mercedes engine have registered eight victories and 21 podium finishes at the venue on the outskirts of the Catalan metropolis.

Stat-Attack – Hockenheim I: 30 years after first entering a works team in the DTM (1988), Mercedes-AMG Motorsport made a strong start to its anniversary season. In the first race of the season on Saturday, Gary Paffett and Lucas Auer secured the 105th one‑two finish for the brand in the DTM. This also constitutes the 35th home win at the Hockenheimring. For Gary, it was his first victory since the Lausitzring in 2013. The 2005 DTM champion posted his 21st DTM victory and his fifth at Hockenheim. In a spectacular finish to Sunday’s race, he made the 40th podium appearance of his DTM career and his twelfth at Hockenheim. The team now has a tally of 182 DTM victories and 539 DTM podium finishes. The race weekend brought a strong performance from the team, with all six members of the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport squad scoring championship points.

Ready, steady... The 46th ADAC Zurich 24h race is about to begin. The elite of GT racing will descend on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife next weekend for the ultimate test of endurance. In the line-up for the 24-hour classic in ‘the Green Hell’ are seven Mercedes-AMG GT3s crewed by top-class drivers aiming to repeat the historic quadruple victory of 2016. For the first time, the contingent from Affalterbach also includes three Mercedes-AMG GT4s which will be contesting their separate class.

The race of the year will be ushered in on Wednesday 9th May in the nearby town of Adenau, where the participants will be paraded during the traditional Racing Day. From Thursday 10th May, the teams will be in action on the world’s most scenic and challenging racetrack. In the practice and qualifying sessions, three Mercedes-AMG GT3s will be vying for one of the coveted places in the Top 30 qualifying session on Friday 11th May. The number 4 and number 5 cars of Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON as well as the number 47 and number 48 of Mercedes-AMG Team MANN-FILTER have already staked a claim for inclusion in the spectacular individual time trial.

A must for all fans is the sixty-minute official autograph and interview session with the Mercedes-AMG drivers. It will take place at 1pm local time on Friday at the Mercedes-AMG Fan Base in the Nürburgring paddock. The massive Erlebniswelt visitor centre also offers a varied supporting programme every day.

The race itself will start at 15:30 CEST on Saturday 12th May. You can follow all the action on our Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Facebook page, which also has all the key information about the GT races in which Mercedes-AMG competes. To get in the mood for the #24hNBR, check out our #24hAMG trailer: ‘Prepare for the Ultimate Battle in the Green Hell!’.

Watch video: www.facebook.com/MercedesAMGCustomerRacing/videos/1858244187573086/

Three questions for Gary Paffett

Gary, that was an absolutely epic race last Sunday. Have you had time to process all the overtaking incidents?

Gary Paffett: Every time I think about it, I wonder what I could or should have done better. But then I always come to the conclusion that it was just a great race that will be remembered for a long time. When you are in that sort of race, you don’t think about it – you just concentrate on trying to win. But afterwards, you realise that you were part of something special, and I’m very proud of that. The race has shown the mutual respect between the drivers, because otherwise we would not have been able to drive like that and all come away from it with a good result.

Were you surprised that Mercedes were so strong at Hockenheim, and do you believe that we saw the real balance of power in the field there?

Gary Paffett: I think I would be insulting my engineers if I said I was surprised that we were so good. But obviously we didn’t know what to expect. It was a nice surprise that we definitely were the quickest and most consistent team on both days. On Saturday we made the best of it as a team, though probably not on Sunday, which was a shame and a missed opportunity with some of the cars. The biggest surprise actually was the lack of pace of the Audi. Mercedes and BMW were both pretty close, and Audi seemed to have found some speed on Sunday. But it was definitely pleasing to see that we started the season in such a strong way. I think it is a just reward for all the hard work we put in over the winter.

The next race will take place at the Lausitzring, where Mercedes and you personally have been very strong in the past. What are your expectations this time?

Gary Paffett: If you look at it just based on Hockenheim, then you have to say that Mercedes are looking very strong. I think if you also look at last year, Lucas had a great weekend at the Lausitzring, and he will probably be very strong there. But of course, after my first race weekend, I feel very confident that we can go and can do something similar again. I’ve won at the Lausitzring in the past, and I think we need to look forward to it in a very positive manner. With the new regulations, however, every weekend is also a bit of an experiment. But I certainly don’t expect the performance of the cars and the drivers to change that much from Hockenheim. Hopefully we can have another weekend up at the front.

Social Media News

#PurePitWall: With the Barcelona weekend coming up, let’s take another look at the chaotic race in Baku. This time, Andrew Shovlin (Trackside Engineering Director) answers the major questions about the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd5juRvnEH8

#ChauffeuringThe Boss: Valtteri Bottas and Toto Wolff went for a pleasant drive at Silverstone and discussed some of the big issues in life.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9nVYo9uwiw

#SpectacularMoves: 30 years of the DTM has produced many spectacular moments and overtaking manoeuvres. We look back on some of them...

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCM8Ppz8pNk

#30YearsDTM: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport has been the most successful brand at the Hockenheimring. DTM legends Klaus Ludwig, Roland Asch, Ellen Lohr and Gary Paffett reminisce about 30 years of DTM racing at the Hockenheimring.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYXcBKyYLys

#TheLastRace: The countdown is on. The serious business is about to begin. The smell of burnt rubber wafts over the race track, the engines begin to roar...

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZd0Wk0NP4Y

Tales from the paddock – Gary Paffett
Tales from the paddock – Gary Paffett