Coming off their 50th 1-2 finish in Formula One™, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport don’t get much of a chance to rest before their next challenge. The first back-to-back of 2019 leaves just a few days between Lewis Hamilton’s victory at the Circuit Paul Ricard and the start of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend.
In France, Hamilton captured his fourth straight victory and his sixth win in eight races this year in what was also his 200th points finish in 237 career starts.
“I’ve been racing a long, long time but this just never gets old,” Hamilton said after the French Grand Prix. “It’s always a challenge out there and I just love trying to find the edge, and really being on top of this machine.”
If Hamilton, who has one victory and two runner-up finishes in five Austrian Grand Prix starts, can stay on top of his W10 at the Red Bull Ring he could lock up his 80th career win on Sunday.
But he’s not the only one on the verge of a milestone: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s current 10-race win streak dating back to last season matches the team’s best run and is one short of McLaren’s all-time record set in 1988.
To match that F1 mark, Mercedes will need to conquer the Red Bull Ring, a track that saw the team’s last visit turn into a nightmare.
“Our result in last year’s Austrian Grand Prix was the low point of the 2018 season,” Team Principal Toto Wolff said. “A double DNF after a promising front-row lockout meant that we left a lot of points on the table. The race was a cruel reminder how quickly things can go wrong in our sport and that reliability and performance go hand in hand in Formula One.
“This year, our race finishing record has been good, but it would be complacent to ignore the fact that for two weekends in a row now, our mechanics had to perform the equivalent of ‘open-heart surgery’ on our cars. We’ve faced a number of different issues on different components, each of which could have easily caused us to retire, so we need to get on top of those challenges as quickly as possible.
“The forecast for Austria predicts temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius and more – combined with the reduced air density owing to the track’s location at altitude, this means that cooling could become a real challenge in Spielberg. Add to that the short lap and the close gaps on that circuit and our direction is clear: we need to keep working diligently, stay humble and give it everything to do a better job than we managed 12 months ago.”
Despite last year’s misfortune, the team’s results at the Red Bull Ring since the track returned to the F1 calendar in 2014 have been strong. Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport won four straight Austrian Grands Prix from 2014 to 2017, with Valtteri Bottas winning in 2017 and Lewis Hamilton taking the checkered flag in 2016 following back-to-back victories from Nico Rosberg.