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Mercedes to try new 2018 elements in final 2017 races

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With nothing to lose the rest of 2017 and everything to gain in advance of the 2018 Formula 1 season, Mercedes AMG Petronas will try some new components for 2018 at the Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix to wrap this year having wrapped both the driver and constructor’s championships.

In the team’s Brazilian race advance, Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said the plan is for Mercedes to treat these two races as “the first two Grands Prix of 2018.”

“It might be tempting to think that, with both championships now secure, the pressure is off for the two remaining races of 2017. But that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Wolff said.

“Inside the team, we are looking at the next two race weekends as the first two Grands Prix of 2018. We have two races that we are determined to win in order to take that positive momentum into the winter. There will be no backing off just because the championship business is now done.

“In fact, these next two races speak to every principle that makes us what we are. We aspire to excellence in everything we do, from the first lap of the winter shakedown in Silverstone to the final lap of the post-season test in Abu Dhabi. And every time we race, we race to win. That is the mind set we take to Sao Paulo.”

Mercedes has two more races to continue adding the accolades to its dominance over this four-year reign of winning both championships.

In 2014, Mercedes won 16 of 19 races, and 18 of 19 pole positions, posted 11 1-2 finishes, and Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg finished 1-2 in the driver’s championship.

A year later in 2015, the stats were nearly identical: 16 wins from 19 races, 18 poles from 19 races, 12 1-2 finishes, and Hamilton and Rosberg again first and second.

Last year, Mercedes enjoyed a somehow even more incredible campaign with 19 wins in 21 races, 20 poles in 21 races, eight 1-2 finishes and again first and second in points, this time Rosberg ahead of Hamilton.

With two races to go, Mercedes is “only” at 11 wins, 13 poles, and just three 1-2 finishes through the first 18 races. Hamilton has clinched the championship but Valtteri Bottas is third, and needs to make up 15 points on Sebastian Vettel to keep the 1-2 finish in the championship streak alive.

Although Vettel won four straight titles with Red Bull from 2010 through 2013, Red Bull never had its two drivers end 1-2 in the championship. Mark Webber ended third in 2010, 2011 and 2013, and sixth in 2012.

Eriksson snatches Macau Formula 3 pole from Norris

FIA F3 Europe
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Joel Eriksson snatched pole position for Saturday’s qualifying race ahead of the Macau Grand Prix after a thrilling fight with McLaren youngster Lando Norris and Ferrari junior Callum Ilott.

Norris headed into the second stage of qualifying on provisional pole after lapping almost a second faster than any other driver in Thursday’s first opening session, and remained in contention early in Q2.

Norris was the first driver to dip into the 2:10s with a time of 2:10.744, only for Eriksson to go 0.024 seconds faster minutes later and snatch pole away.

Despite a later effort to try and reclaim pole, Norris was unable to improve his time, and opted to remain in the pits for the final five minutes of the session after using up his allocated tires.

Ilott was the final driver to put in a serious bid for pole position, falling 0.09 seconds short with his final qualifying lap to sit third on the grid for the qualifying race.

Maximilian Gunther claimed fourth place for Prema Powerteam ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Dan Ticktum, with Mick Schumacher taking P7.

Yuhi Sekiguchi wound up eighth despite a late crash that brought out a red flag, while Sergio Sette Camara and Guanyu Zhou completed the top 10 positions in qualifying.

Saturday’s qualifying race will help form the grid for Sunday’s main event, the 64th Macau Grand Prix.