Tales from the paddock – Maro Engel: “Watching is more nerve-wracking than actually driving”

May 16, 2018

Maro Engel claimed a third career podium in the Nürburgring 24 Hours. There were some dramatic moments along the way...

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

This is what happened: Results and facts

  • Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas secure the team’s first one-two victory of 2018
  • Formula 1: After five out of 21 races this season, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport lead the drivers’ and the constructors’ world championships
  • 24h Nürburgring: Two podium finishes for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing on the Nordschleife. Manuel Metzger, Adam Christodoulou, Maro Engel and Dirk Müller took second place, while Luca Stolz, Thomas Jäger, Yelmer Buurman and Jan Seyffarth joined them on the podium in third.
  • Blancpain GT Series Asia: Two wins for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand. Patric Niederhauser and Markus Pommer won the first race, followed by victory for Alexander Mattschull and Maximilian Buhk in the second

News snippets

Stat-Attack – Barcelona: The opening fixture of the European season not only brought the team its first one-two victory of 2018; in qualifying on Saturday Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas had already made it a Mercedes lock-out on the front row. For Lewis, it was his 74th pole position in the highest echelon of the sport. He then converted it on Sunday into his 41st victory from pole – a new record. Up to last weekend, it was a distinction he shared with Michael Schumacher, each of them on 40 wins from grid position one. For Lewis, it was his third victory at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and, after Baku, the second of this season. Valtteri played a supporting role in the team’s 36th one-two victory since 2010, at the same time registering his 25th podium finish in Formula 1.

Double podium in the big race of the season: Summer sunshine at the start followed by heavy thunderstorms, a hectic finale and joy for Mercedes-AMG at the end – this year’s 24-hour race at the Nürburgring would be hard to beat in terms of action and drama. On a rain-soaked track, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON took second and third place in a high-class finish. In addition to the sensational double podium, there were two other Top Ten finishers in the general classification of the world’s biggest car race, as well as two convincing class wins by Mercedes-AMG GT4 cars, which were competing in the ‘Eifel Marathon’ for the first time.

To read the complete race report: media.daimler.com/marsMediaSite/en/instance/ko.xhtml?oid=40385738

Unbroken sequence of victories in Asia and Australia: GruppeM Racing Team remain on course for success in the Blancpain GT Series Asia. After their victories in the first two races of the campaign, the team also came away from the second round in Buriram, Thailand, with the maximum haul of points. Patric Niederhauser (SUI) and Markus Pommer (GER) driving a Mercedes-AMG GT3 won Saturday’s race, and on Sunday it was the turn of their team-mates Alexander Mattschull and Maximilian Buhk (both GER). Meanwhile, Reinhold Renger (GER) in the Mercedes-AMG GT4 enjoyed back-to-back victories in class.

Customer racing teams are also on the perfect racing line ‘Down Under’. All three race weekends of the Australian GT Championship so far have finished with a Mercedes-AMG GT3 driver on the top rung of the podium. Last weekend, Peter Hackett (AUS) of Eggleston Motorsport was the fastest man in Saturday’s race at the Sandown Raceway near Melbourne.

Three questions for Maro Engel

Maro, what was your personal highlight of the 24-hour race?

Maro Engel: There were many special moments. The Top 30 qualifying session was unbelievable: two whole laps of the track without getting held up by traffic, with a lightweight car and new tyres – it was absolutely awesome. I had the fastest Nordschleife lap of my life (Editor’s note: 08:09.916 minutes; 25.378 km; ø 186.483 km/h). Another highlight was Manuel’s stint during the night, when he passed the Porsche and took the lead. And then of course the podium. My third podium in the general classification of the 24-hour race. I now have a complete set of trophies in my personal collection: a win, a second place and even a third.

In the second half of the race, conditions were extremely difficult. Tell us what it feels like to be out on the track in mist and rain? What goes through your mind?

Maro Engel: Generally speaking, the Nordschleife is very difficult when wet. Grip conditions are constantly changing. In some places, you have standing water, and at others, you actually have small rivulets running across the track, so you constantly find yourself aquaplaning. In addition, there was the fog. Shortly before the race was interrupted, it was like flying blind. So the decision to red-flag the race was definitely the right one. It is arguable whether the flags should not have come out a few laps earlier. I also radioed that opinion to the pits. It was hardly possible to see anything out there, especially on the home straight, but also on the approach to Schwedenkreuz – these are extremely fast sectors.

Would you have liked to be driving the final stint? Hand on heart...

Maro Engel: Adam was feeling good and mastered the situation brilliantly too. He gave it everything he’d got and fought like a lion. No-one could have done better. The beauty of our team is that we discuss everything openly. It was ultimately a joint decision that Adam should drive the race home. And as I said, he did that absolutely mega. We are all very proud of him. I’ve driven a lot of final stints in the past, and I can tell you, watching is far more nerve-wracking than actually driving.

Social Media News

#TheDetour: Meet the unsung heroes who set the stage for the cars long before they emerge on track. This is what the run-up to a Formula 1 race weekend looks like.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=myPKpZ6Ps9Q

#CrazyOnboards: It’s not every day that an F1 car is seen driving through the streets of an Italian city. A quick detour to Imola, a 13km drive in an F1 car along public roads, a spectacular awards ceremony... Even for Valtteri, this was not a routine day.

See onboard view: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qshYV0gH_1A

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9B6n_2CaMs

#DTMHighlights: Before the second race weekend of the 2018 DTM season takes place at the Lausitzring, let’s take another look at the highlights of the spectacular season opener at Hockenheim.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AcQO1hl2Z0

Tales from the paddock – Maro Engel
Tales from the paddock – Maro Engel