Mercedes-AMG DTM Team leaves Spielberg as leaders in the championship.
The Mercedes-AMG DTM Team had two disappointing races in Spielberg, Austria, this weekend. Daniel Juncadella (UBFS Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) placed twelfth in Sunday’s second race in front of 30,500 spectators (over the whole weekend). His Mercedes-AMG DTM team-mate Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) went on a strong charge, as he had done in Hockenheim, but his efforts went unrewarded after a contact on the final lap. By this stage, the 2005 DTM Champion had worked his way ten places up the field and was battling Timo Scheider (Audi) for tenth place. Paffett dropped back down to P13 after the contact with Scheider. And so, the race track in Styria remains a tough nut to crack for the Mercedes-AMG DTM Team. The team have had a disqualification in recent years, and then there was the ‘Schieb ihn raus!’ (Push him off!) incident, when Scheider actually pushed two Mercedes-AMG DTM drivers off the track.
Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) finished the race in 15th place, but the Scot retains his lead in the drivers' standings. He is three points ahead of Edoardo Mortara (Audi) after four races. Lucas Auer (BWT Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM), Christian Vietoris (BWT Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) and Esteban Ocon (FREE MEN'S WORLD Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) placed 16th, 17th and 18th respectively. Robert Wickens (SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) was 20th, while Maximilian Götz (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) came home in P22.
Daniel Juncadella, P12: “What a tough day for our team! We didn’t secure any points in the end, unfortunately, but I had a strong race. My pace was good at the start. Too bad that I lost a lot of time at the pit entrance behind Rockenfeller prior to my pit stop. I can’t understand why he went so slowly. That cost me two places, which meant that points were no longer achievable. However, what’s important is that our pace was better today.”
Gary Paffett, P13: “What a frustrating end to the race weekend! We had a fast car in the race, but that was not the case in qualifying, unfortunately. I still can’t quite get my head around it. The race went really well until the last lap. I saved up my DRS for the final sprint and caught up with the guys in front relatively easily.
Then, Timo Scheider made a mistake in Turn 2, and I moved to pass on the inside. At that point, he simply pushed me off onto the grass.”
The car had plenty of pace.
Paul Di Resta, P15: “I almost stalled the car at the start. We need to look more closely at that. I then had a bad pit stop, unfortunately. Later, on the final turn, other drivers didn’t stick to the track limits,
so I couldn’t get close enough to overtake. The car clearly had plenty of pace in the race. Unfortunately, the floor got broken in qualifying. I’m now hoping that we’ll have a better weekend at the next races.”
That's also part and parcel of motor racing.
Lucas Auer, P16: “The race went better for me today than it did yesterday, because we changed setup to suit me more. Still, it wasn’t our weekend, all in all. That’s also part and parcel of motor racing.”
Christian Vietoris, P17: “That was a tough weekend for us. Friday got off to a bad start. Apparently, the new tarmac here doesn’t suit our car. The team has tried everything to adapt the car to it, and we’ve made some progress.
Unfortunately, it wasn't enough.”
Esteban Ocon, P18: “Our pace in qualifying was again not good enough, unfortunately. That was the key factor, just as it was yesterday. Sorry to Mattias Ekström for inadvertently impeding his progress on his hot lap. I got a grid penalty for the race as a result.
That obviously didn’t help. After that, it was difficult to fight my way forwards. I couldn’t overtake, because we were not quick enough, which was strange, because things had been that bit better in third practice.”
Robert Wickens, P20: “I’m feeling that I’ve been cheated of a better result. I got off to a reasonable start and held my position. I pulled off a good manoeuvre on Nico Müller in Turn 6. He pushed me onto the grass on the inside,
but then for some reason, I received a drive-through penalty for causing a collision.”
Maximilian Götz, P22: “Very disappointing. Unluckily, I had some contact at the start, after which the track rod was slightly bent, causing massive oversteer. All in all, I’m obviously very unhappy. Dani finished twelfth and I was behind him at the start. We really need to work out what happened after that. I drove over the grass and then the radiator was full of the stuff.”
A bit of a beating.
Ulrich Fritz, Head of Mercedes-AMG DTM: “When you can retain the lead in the championship after such an unremarkable weekend, then you would probably say that you have taken a bit of a beating. Still, what happened at Spielberg obviously cannot be what we aspire to. Gary was in line to take one match point but was again forced off track by Timo Scheider on the final lap. Last year, there was the ‘Schieb-ihn-raus!’ (Push him off!) incident, and now this. I just cannot understand it.
The pace was there during the race and Robert posted the fastest lap, which at least gives us some hope for the Lausitzring.”