2019 German GP Humiliation Changed Attitude to Drive to Survive Crew: Mercedes

Published 02/21/2021, 3:10 AM EST
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – OCTOBER 27: Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Great Britain during the F1 Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 27, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images,)


Netflix’s Drive to Survive series is a huge hit among the F1 cars. It takes us in-depth with what goes on behind the scenes in the paddock. For certain race weekends, they will earmark a specific team to exclusively cover, like they did with Mercedes at the 2019 German GP.

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And we all know how that went for them! Celebrating their 125th anniversary in motorsports, the Silver Arrows unveiled a special livery. But the race went horribly wrong; Valtteri Bottas crashed out in wet conditions while Lewis Hamilton could only muster a ninth-place finish.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 on track during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Styria at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Since they are usually so flawless over a race weekend, it begs the question of whether the crews’ behavior changes in the garage when Netflix is filming. Mercedes’ technology director Mike Elliott is on hand to answer this question.

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“I am gonna have to tell you this story now, and anybody that’s in the factory will know about this. When the directors go to the racetrack, they write a report to the factory and say what’s going on.

“And on the Thursday of the German Grand Prix, that was the Grand Prix of Netflix where we’re all dressed up in funny outfits because it was the anniversary of Mercedes, the first thing I sent out that weekend, the last paragraph of the thing (report) to the factory said, ‘We have Netflix here, we’re wearing silly uniforms since the anniversary, what could possibly go wrong.’ And then we had a disaster of a weekend!,” Elliot continued.

“It’s inevitable people’s behaviors change when you’ve got campers shoved in their faces and you know where it’s going.”

Netflix accompanied Mercedes at the 2020 Russian GP

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Understandably, when Netflix decided to film them at last season‘s race in Sochi, they were afraid of the curse striking once again. Credit to them, they took it all in a sporting manner.

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In some ways, the curse did strike again as the stewards handed Hamilton a 10-second time penalty, even though Bottas took the checkered flag. So, it will make for interesting viewing once again, uncovering all the drama behind the scenes in Russia.

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Bharat Aggarwal

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Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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