• The Races of 2020

The nature of the 2020 season presented new challenges to Formula One, including how we could keep our Team as safe as possible whilst navigating our racing season in the midst of a pandemic. Through consideration and adaption, we raced 17 Grands Prix, finishing the season with 573 points, 13 race wins, and two world titles.

The challenges we'd face weren't known at the start of 2020, but as the Australian Grand Prix drew closer, it became increasingly clear that we couldn't race around the rising pandemic. Following positive results in COVID-19 testing, the race was cancelled, and the season was postponed.

After much deliberation, it was announced that Formula One would take to the track with thorough testing, scrupulous precautions, and with a limited number of people present. And so, the first race of the revised season plan took us to Austria's Red Bull Ring.

We would race two consecutive Grands Prix at the first destination. We saw a strong start with the Team taking a front row lockout headed by Valtteri Bottas on pole. It looked like the same 1-2 would continue to the race result too, although after making contact with Red Bull's Alex Albon, Lewis Hamilton received a 5-second penalty, knocking him off the podium with a P4 finish. Valtteri successfully held his position and brought home the race win.

The second event at the Red Bull Ring was titled the Styrian Grand Prix. A wet Q3 saw Lewis take pole with a remarkable lap time of 1:19.273. Unfortunately, Valtteri didn't find the same performance and qualified in P4. The result translated to an incredible race, seeing Lewis manage his lead, and Valtteri fight his way forward before eventually claiming P2 just four laps before the end of the race. 

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For the third event on the race calendar, we were at the Hungaroring for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Starting the race with both cars on the front row, Lewis built up an impressive lead from lights out, getting away from the rest of the field. Valtteri didn't have the same getaway and unfortunately lost position. Despite rainfall during the race, in the final laps Valtteri managed to catch up to P2 and fought to take the second step on the podium. Although unsuccessful in taking P2, a double podium was a positive result from Hungary and left us in good standing for the next stop, Silverstone, which would also host two races.

The Team had good performance at the first Silverstone race with another front row lockout, with Lewis on pole. This continued into the race, with Lewis and Valtteri holding P1 and P2 respectively. However, just 2 laps from the chequered flag, Valtteri suffered a tyre issue forcing him to pit, seeing him drop out of the points. Verstappen, who was on fresh tyres in the hope of setting fastest lap, inherited P2. Disappointment turned to drama as Lewis suffered a similar issue with just half a lap to go. The front-left tyre deflated, and left Lewis limping to try and bring the win home with a fast approaching Verstappen behind him. Not one to give up, Lewis pushed the car across the finish line, winning an unforgettable British Grand Prix.

The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix was the second event held at Silverstone and started again with a qualifying session that gave another Mercedes front row, this time led by Valtteri. However, the result wouldn't carry on to the end of the race on this occasion. Verstappen started P4 on the hard compound tyres and took P3 through turn one. He swiftly caught Lewis, taking P2, and then Valtteri who had maintained his first position through the race start. He couldn't hold off Verstappen though, and unfortunately lost P1. The standings remained the same for much of our race until the closing laps where Lewis passed Valtteri through Brooklands, taking P2.

Spain was our next host and gave us another strong performance in qualifying. Lewis took P1 with a 1:15.584, and behind him was Valtteri in P2. With an immense start, Lewis went on to give a masterclass, leading every lap during the race. Valtteri was unable to emulate the start and found himself in P4. He was able to reclaim P3 and finish on the podium but P2 remained out of reach. 

The next stop on the calendar was the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. After having challenges in finding the right set-up for the car at the start of the weekend, the Team started to display great pace. From qualifying, the Team was able to start the race with both cars on the front row. The race proved to be relatively straight-forward, and both cars crossed the line in the same position they started, giving the Team a 1-2 and Lewis his fifth win of the season and 89th win of his career.

The Italian Grand Prix proved to be a complex race for the Team. Although it started with a strong qualifying with both cars lining up on the front row of the gird, the race saw Valtteri drop from P2 to P6 at lights out following a difficult start and contact with a number of cars. Lewis had a good getaway but after entering the pitlane whilst it was closed, he received a 10 second stop/go penalty, before fighting his way back to P7, just two places behind Valtteri who finished in P5.

Although disappointed by our result, the Team went out to support Alpha Tauri's Pierre Gasly as he secured his maiden win. Toto summed it up perfectly: "This is a loss for Mercedes and the big teams, but it's a victory for the sport. That was great entertainment today and it was fantastic to see the young guys fighting out front. Congratulations to Pierre and Alpha Tauri, they deserved the win."

The Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello saw better results for the Team. Starting out with Lewis on pole and Valtteri in P2, just behind Lewis after abandoning his final qualifying lap due to a yellow flag. Both drivers were able to maintain their positions throughout the race. Lewis earned his 90th career win which also marked the 100th win of the modern era for Mercedes, but the success didn't come easily. Lewis said the day was "one of the most challenging days, physically and mentally", whilst Valtteri said "it feels like we had three races today", owing to the challenges of Mugello. 

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Next stop on the calendar was Russia which saw Lewis get his 96th career pole, setting a new lap record of 1:31.304, with Valtteri qualifying P3. Lewis received two 5-second penalties for violating practice start regulations which he served during a pit stop. Despite the added time, Lewis fought his way through the field and finished on the third step of the podium. Valtteri also displayed great racing ability and ended the weekend with his second win of the season and the 15th fastest race lap of his career.

The Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring gave Valtteri another pole position which equalled the 400th pole for Mercedes-Benz power, with Lewis starting the race alongside him on the grid in P2. Valtteri had a good start and held the lead from Lewis until lap 19 when he was forced to pull the car into the garage and retire due to an issue with his power unit. Lewis seized the opportunity and went on to win his 91st Formula One race, matching the career record of racing legend Michael Schumacher. To mark the feat, Lewis was presented with one of Michael's helmets by his son, Mick.

At to the Portuguese Grand Prix Lewis showed no signs of slowing as he secured his 97th career pole with Valtteri qualifying P2, giving the Team the ninth front row lockout of the season so far. Despite issues in warming up the medium compound tyres, the two drivers managed their races and brought home the 57th 1-2 finish for Mercedes in Formula One.

The next round of racing also took place at a track that wasn't originally included on the calendar, as we visited Italy for the third and final time in 2020 with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola. Qualifying saw a repeat 1-2 for the Team, this time with Lewis setting a lap just one tenth of a second behind his teammate. This was just the start of what would turn out to be a very special weekend for Mercedes. On Sunday the Team secured their seventh consecutive World Constructors' Championship. 

The title was won with another 1-2 finish. Lewis took the victory and Valtteri brought the car back in P2. The result also marked the 100th race win for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, and the 500th podium finish for Mercedes-Benz power.

Marking the occasion, Toto said: "Lots of blood, sweat and tears went into this behind closed doors, a lot of people have made great sacrifices to achieve this, so a massive thank you to everyone in the team, here at the track and back at home in Brixworth and Brackley. We have an amazing group of people that keeps pushing and raising the benchmark to new levels, but what stands out the most is the comradery in this team and the right values at the core of it."

Qualifying at the next Grand Prix in Turkey proved to be tough. Due to track resurfacing and wet weather, the Team faced difficulties in getting enough temperature into the tyres to generate grip. This resulted in a P6 start for Lewis, and a P9 start for Valtteri. The race delivered the same issues to Valtteri who finished in P14. The weekend ended in quite the opposite way for Lewis who went on to battle his way to the front of the field and win the race, securing his seventh World Drivers' Championship. With the Drivers' title, Mercedes also secured an historic seven double world titles for the Team making 2020 another record-breaking year.

Although the titles were wrapped up, the final three races were still all to play for, and the Team were showing no signs of slowing at the Bahrain Grand Prix as Lewis led in the Team's 75th front row lockout. Lewis went on to take the race win, but Valtteri had been unlucky with the race restart following a serious incident for Romain Grosjean. After picking up a puncture, Valtteri was forced to pit, but with the rest of the race he was able to claw back some positions, with a recovery drive that saw him finish in P8. 

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Bahrain played host to the next race too, but this time on the high-speed outside track which generated a lot of excitement for the fans in the approach to the event. Unfortunately, in the days before the race the Team received news that Lewis had tested positive for COVID-19 and would be unable to drive. Williams driver George Russell stepped into Lewis' seat for the race.

The Sakhir Grand Prix saw sub-minute lap times for the penultimate race of the 2020 season, with Valtteri taking pole position with a time of 53.337. George lined up beside him on the grid after participating in his first ever Q3 appearance. George took the lead at lights out but on lap 62 during a late-race safety car the Team made a pitstop error due to a radio fault. George had the wrong tyres fitted and was forced to pit an additional time whilst Valtteri came out of the pits having lost several positions. George managed to climb back to P2 and it looked as though he might have a chance at reclaiming the lead, but he suffered a left-rear puncture and was forced to pit once again. George re-joined the race in P15. He used the final laps to continue to climb, taking his first points finish in P9 with Valtteri just ahead of him in P8.

Coming into the final race of 2020, the Team was glad to find out that Lewis was well enough to be back in the seat of his car alongside Valtteri. Coming back from illness, Lewis put in a strong performance to claim P3 on the grid, with Valtteri ahead of him in P2, missing out on pole by just half a tenth of a second. These results carried through the race as Valtteri finished the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in P2, with Lewis completing the final podium of the season with P3.

After the chequered flag was waved on the 2020 season, Toto said: "The final race is the right moment to take a step back and look at the season as a whole. Congratulations to everybody who has been involved in delivering a seventeen-race season that nobody would have thought possible just six months ago. For us at Mercedes, it has been a year of remarkable success and achievements that will live long in our memories; thank you to each and every team member who has contributed to an historic season."