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We are now into the decisive phase of the season. Following the highlight of the #racing calendar on the street circuit of Macau last weekend, all eyes are now on #abudhabi which is hosting the grand finale of the Formula 1 world championship.
This is what happened: Weekend’s results & facts
World championship decider: Since the start of the hybrid power unit era in 2014, the Yas Marina Circuit in #abudhabi has hosted the grand finale of the Formula 1 world championship. The race this weekend will be the second time in the last three seasons that the outcome of an internal battle between two Silver Arrows has decided the destination of the title. #abudhabi has been a happy hunting ground for both drivers: #lewishamilton has won twice here (2011, 2014), and #nicorosberg prevailed last year. The statistics regarding pole position in #abudhabi are finely balanced between the two title contenders: two for Hamilton (2009, 2012) and two for Rosberg (2014, 2015). Hamilton has also set the fastest race lap at the Yas Marina Circuit on two occasions (2010, 2015). Although Rosberg has not yet done so, he arrives in #abudhabi having already wrapped up the 2016 Fastest Lap Award. In the past two years, this title has gone to the winner of the world championship, namely #lewishamilton.
Podium hat-trick: The fascination of Macau is something a #racing driver never forgets. So it was no surprise that two Mercedes-AMG DTM drivers Felix Rosenqvist and Daniel Juncadella – both the former winners of the #event – returned to Macau for the Formula 3 classic on the legendary Guia street circuit. “If you’ve ever competed there, and especially if you’ve won, it’s like a drug,” says Rosenqvist, who lifted the trophy in Macau in 2014 and 2015. “ You always want to come back and try to win again.” This year, he claimed a third straight podium with a second-place finish. In fact, it was his fourth Top Three result in Macau. “It’s great to be back on the podium here in Macau,” said the Swede. “ Having said that, though, I came here with the intention of winning.” In addition to Rosenqvist, five other drivers powered by Mercedes-Power finished in the Top Ten: Callum Ilott (P5), George Russell (P7), Daniel Juncadella (P8), Pedro Piquet (P9) and Alexander Sims (P10).
A #racing curiosity: The FIA GT World Cup in Macau was over in just six laps, with the red flags coming out in response to a serious crash. The defending champion, #maroengel, was classified third. “We tried everything we could this weekend, so I’m very proud of my team,” said the former Mercedes-AMG DTM driver. “They did a great job under difficult conditions.” His team-mate, Renger van der Zande, who also drove for Mercedes-AMG in the 2011 DTM, finished the shortened main race on the streets of Macau in P6. “ Unfortunately, we only managed to get two full laps in under proper #racing conditions,” said the Dutchman. “That was a shame, because it’s a really fantastic track and I would have liked to make more progress through the field.”
Three questions for Maro Engel
Maro, you’ve just competed in the FIA GT World Cup in Macau, a race that was remarkable for a number of reasons. How would you sum it all up?
Maro Engel: I’m incredibly proud of the whole team. We already knew in advance that Balance of Performance was going to create difficulties for us this year. It was obviously also a challenge to adjust the new car perfectly to the track in the short time available for free practice. But we extracted the maximum from our package and got the car in super shape. At the end of the day, though, this was a race that was unsatisfactory for everyone involved. There were hardly any laps under #racing conditions, and we had a winning car that was upside down on its roof. We had obviously envisaged the race panning out somewhat differently. I had been anticipating that I would have a number of opportunities to attack on Sunday.
So under normal circumstances, how well do you think you might have done?
Maro Angel: Macau is always a special occasion. Under normal circumstances, we would have had no chance of mounting an attack on the straights. But this is a track where you still get various opportunities during the course of the race. However, it’s difficult to say exactly. In any case, we’re delighted to be back on the podium – it was our third in succession after the two previous victories. But it would have been nice to have a normal race and actually see the chequered flag.
What are your expectations and objectives for the Young Driver DTM test in Jerez next week?
Maro Engel: First of all, it is nice to be given this chance by the team again. It’s always a lot of fun to work with these guys. Of course, I would like a positive outcome to the test. It will also be interesting to compare the data from my car with that of the current vehicle. My objective is to help the team as much as possible and at the same time deliver a good performance.
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The art of strategy: The penultimate race of the season in Brazil had a bit of everything: chaotic weather, difficult track conditions and some spectacular overtaking manoeuvres. And as usual, strategy played a decisive role. Our chief engineer Andrew Shovlin explains how the team adapted their tactics to the extreme weather conditions.
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