Sunday, August 27, 2017

1 Racing Mind's 2017 Formula 1 Summer Break Report Card: Mercedes AMG

Photo Credit: Daimler AG/ Mercedes AMG

Team Grade: A-

Driver Grades
Lewis Hamilton: A
Valtteri Bottas: A+

For the fourth consecutive year the Mercedes AMG can be called the cream of the crop in the premier open wheel racing series. At the top of the constructor points once again at the mid-season mark of a Formula 1 season, the team’s primary driver Lewis Hamilton is continuing to perform at a level where his name will don the top of some impressive all-time lists. Tying Ayrton Senna with 65 career pole positions at the Canadian Grand Prix, Hamilton picked up his 67th career pole at the British Grand Prix on route to race victory.

Following the sudden retirement of world championship winning driver Nico Rosberg at the end of 2016, Mercedes AMG was faced with the immediate task of finding a pilot to occupy the second seat alongside Lewis Hamilton. After several seasons with Williams Martini Racing, Finland’s Valtteri Bottas was rewarded with the illustrious position behind the wheel of the Mercedes AMG F1 W08 EQ Power+ 2017 race car. In his fourth win with the team, Bottas captured his first career Formula 1 win at the Russian Grand Prix. Bottas collected a second victory later in the season in Austria.

Despite the familiarity of the Silver Arrows of Lewis Hamilton at or near the front in 2017, this season is by no means as dominant as previous years for Mercedes AMG. While Hamilton and Bottas claimed six grand prix wins collectively, the win total in previous years over the first 11-race span had been much higher. Between 2014 and 2016, Mercedes AMG won at least nine times in the same span. The simple cause for this disruption to the norms of past seasons is the competition has closed on the group. Ferrari and their SF70H race car have demonstrated an impressive ability of not only following in the tire tracks of Mercedes AMG but outpacing the German outfit. After several years where some assumptions were made that Mercedes AMG had, at times, held back the total speed potential of their vehicles, the Silver Arrows have presented with their first legitimate challenger.

Thoughts of Team for Remainder of 2017:

In the final part of the season, it remains to be seen if the Mercedes AMG team can resist their first major threat to another winning year. From 2014 to 2016, this time in the Formula 1 season saw Mercedes AMG positioned in a manner that the only championship point battles resided within the organization. This year, Lewis Hamilton is trailing Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ points by 14 markers heading into the Belgian Grand Prix. Mercedes AMG leads in the constructors’ standings by 39 points after 11 races over Ferrari. There is no specific weakness in the team or with drivers Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas leaving only luck a factor through the remainder of 2017.

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