DTM 2018: Hockenheim I – Race 1

Perfect start to anniversary season for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport: Gary Paffett (Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS) and Lucas Auer (SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG Motorsport) secured a one-two win in the first race of the new 2018 DTM season.

This was Paffett’s first DTM victory since 2013 at the Lausitzring. The 2005 DTM champion finished on the top rung of the podium in the DTM for the 21st time and for the fifth time at the home race of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport in Hockenheim. Earlier today, Gary had taken his 13th DTM pole position in the first qualifying session of the season. With 28 points, he leads the drivers’ standings from teammate Lucas Auer (18 points) after the first race day of the year.

Lucas Auer, who won last year’s opening round, achieved his seventh DTM podium finish, his second at Hockenheim. Edoardo Mortara (SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG Motorsport), Pascal Wehrlein (Mercedes-Benz Motorsport PETRONAS), Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-AMG Motorsport REMUS) and Daniel Juncadella (Mercedes-AMG Motorsport REMUS), all finished in the points, producing a strong team performance to mark the start of this special anniversary season.

Edoardo Mortara opened the season with a P4 finish. The DTM champion from 2015, Pascal Wehrlein, finished fifth as he returned to the DTM after two years in Formula 1. Paul Di Resta booked P7 in the opener, finishing just in front of fellow Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM driver, Daniel Juncadella, who was back in the points after his one-year break from the DTM. He promptly went out and achieved a points-scoring finish in his first race despite injuring his collarbone during practice in early April.

Comments after the Race

Gary Paffett (37, England):

  • P1
  • Car number: 2
  • Team: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS
  • Car: Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM

“The team did an excellent job today. The car was really good. Lucas passed me initially and I didn’t want to resist too much at that point. We then brought our pit stop forward, and the tyre change and out-lap were really strong, so I was able to pass him again. I managed to open up a gap subsequently and secure the win. It’s been a while since my last victory. We were often close to winning during the interim period and it’s a terrific reward for me and the team for all our hard work in recent years.”

Lucas Auer (23, Austria):

  • P2
  • Car number: 22
  • Team: SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG Motorsport
  • Car: Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM

“That was unfortunate, because up to the pit stop, I held the lead. And of course, I wanted to win the race! But tomorrow is another day. I always have the best wheel-to-wheel battles with Timo Glock – they are always really tight and of a high quality. We have a good package, and today we placed all six cars in the Top Ten. It could not be any better.”

Edoardo Mortara (31, Italy):

  • P4
  • Car number: 48
  • Team: SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG Motorsport
  • Car: Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM

“That was an excellent race, but all in all a tough day. The first two practice sessions were tricky and my first outing in qualifying was pretty bad. I got a lap in after that on my second run, which put me in seventh place. It was obvious to me from the start that I could push forwards if I qualified relatively well. I was happy with the car throughout the race. Its balance was good and I was able to keep an eye on the tyres, especially on my first stint, which I think was one of the longest of anyone in the field. Everything went well and I’m very pleased with our good team result.”

Pascal Wehrlein (23, Germany):

  • P5
  • Car number: 94
  • Team: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS
  • Car: Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM

“I am more than satisfied with fifth place, because I didn’t think I would settle back into the DTM quite so fast. It would have been possible to finish even higher in today’s race, because we lost a couple of places on the pit stop. That was a pity, but the car ran well, and I was able to overtake some cars afterwards. Edo had fresher tyres towards the end because he came in late, but it was a great result for the whole team. I haven’t forgotten anything in the meantime, but there is still a lot for me to learn. Anyway, I’m pleased with the way the first race went and I am more than content to bank these ten points. But I’m hoping there are a lot more on the way.”

Paul Di Resta (32, Scotland):

  • P7
  • Car number: 3
  • Team: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport REMUS
  • Car: Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM

“It was a bit more difficult than I wanted it to be. A small mistake in qualifying put me out of position. We fought our way through, and I think tactically we got it right. There were maybe a few things in the middle of the race that ultimately caused us to lose momentum, but I think we recovered it. Well done to Gary and Lucas on the podium, and hopefully that’s the expectation for tomorrow for myself.”

Daniel Juncadella (26, Spain):

  • P8
  • Car number: 23
  • Team: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport REMUS
  • Car: Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM

“The race was fun, but I’m still annoyed about my qualifying. But as regards to the race itself, I’m satisfied. Now it’s all about making sure we get qualifying right as well tomorrow. It’s a shame – I had wanted an even better result because today would have been the birthday of one of my best friends, who unfortunately passed away last year. That’s why it’s a very special day for me and I gave it everything I’d got in the race. From a team perspective, it was great. We brought home a one-two result and all the cars finished in the points. Congratulations to the entire team. That was an excellent start to the season.”

Ulrich Fritz, Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM:

“What a mega start to the season. A one-two victory for Gary and Luggi, plus Edo and Pascal in P4 and P5 as well as Paul and Dani in P7 and P8. It really could not have gone any better for us. At last, Gary and I are able to celebrate our first DTM victory together. We’ve been waiting a long time for that. But above all, a big thank you to our team. Some commentators were doubting our motivation for this year. I think we’ve given them the perfect answer today.”

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