Wolff wary as Netflix return to Mercedes garage

Jamie Woodhouse

Netflix back in Mercedes garage for Russian GP.

The Netflix cameras will be following Mercedes once again at the Russian Grand Prix…and we all remember what happened last year.

Just to jog the memory, in 2019 Netflix covered Mercedes’ home race, the German Grand Prix, as part of season two of their ‘Drive to Survive’ series.

At the Hockenheimring Mercedes were celebrating not only their home race, but also 125 years of motorsport.

But the event turned into a disaster for the Silver Arrows as Valtteri Bottas crashed out in the wet conditions while team-mate Lewis Hamilton also spun before finishing P9, but only thanks to time penalties for both Alfa Romeos.

The Briton also complained of being sick that weekend as well, something he was keen for the Netflix crew to edit out.

But now Mercedes are Netflix’s focus again for series three of ‘Drive to Survive’, and Wolff is hoping for a much smoother race weekend this time around at the Sochi Autodrom.

“The Russian Grand Prix will be the race where Netflix will follow our team for the third season of Drive to Survive, ” he said as part of Mercedes’ Russian GP preview.

“Last year, they shadowed us at Hockenheim where we celebrated our home race and 125 years of motorsport – and had our worst race of the season.

“That made for a very entertaining Netflix episode, but we hope that this time we can have great content and a great race.”

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Mercedes have taken pole for all nine races of the 2020 season so far, and having won every race at the Sochi Autodrom, the Silver Arrows are a safe bet for further domination in Russia.

But Wolff is actually worried that his team’s strength in qualifying could work against them, since the 900-meter blast down to Turn 1 at this venue can leave the driver starting from P1 a sitting duck.

“Sochi has been a good circuit for us in the past and we hold a strong track record there,” he said.

“The Autodrom has a fairly unusual layout and it’s one feature in particular that makes it special: the long run from pole to the first braking zone.

“It means that the pole-sitter isn’t necessarily in the strongest position for the race start as the cars behind him benefit from the tow.

“You could see it last year when [Sebastian] Vettel overtook Leclerc on the run down to turn two, and in 2017, when Valtteri beat pole-sitter Vettel from P3.

“Our qualifying pace has been really strong this year, but this strength could easily turn into a vulnerability on race day in Sochi.”

Netflix are hoping to hit the jackpot in Russia and capture the moment when Hamilton matches Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 wins in Formula 1, should he claim victory in Sochi for a fifth time in his career.

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