Toto Wolff is hoping Mercedes can avoid a repeat of the calamity of last year’s German Grand Prix when Netflix joins the team at this weekend’s Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.

The crew filming season three of Netflix’s hit F1 fly-on-the-wall documentary series Drive to Survive has been granted access to be embedded within the Mercedes team in Sochi as Lewis Hamilton bids to equal the all-time record for most career wins.

Thanks to his 90th victory last time out at Mugello, Hamilton moved to within one victory of Michael Schumacher’s record tally of 91, which has stood unrivalled since 2006.

Netflix will once again be present in Mercedes’ garage during the weekend in the hope of documenting the piece of history.

The last time Netflix joined Mercedes for a race coincided with the team’s worst result of the 2019 season at Hockenheim as Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both suffered crashes on a weekend the German manufacturer was celebrating its 125th anniversary.

Bottas ultimately retired, while Hamilton recovered from a mistake-ridden race to take ninth, and Wolff admitted he has is left conscious about history repeating itself.

“The Russian Grand Prix will be the race where Netflix will follow our team for the third season of Drive to Survive, ” Wolff said in 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.”

Wolff is also wary that Mercedes’ qualifying advantage could potentially backfire at the start of the race if it is to lock out the front row due to the strong slipstream effect that is possible to achieve on the long drag to the first braking zone at Turn 2.

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

“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.”

 

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