‘Welcome To Russia’: Mercedes Employee Got Arrested Ahead Of Russian GP

The 2020 Russian Grand Prix took place in late September and was the tenth round of last year’s makeshift F1 calendar.

Dominique Riefstahl and Valtteri Bottas after winning 2020 Russian GP - Formula1News.co.uk

The 2020 Russian Grand Prix had Mercedes at the focal point, with Sir Lewis Hamilton having a dramatic qualifying and getting two five-second penalties for performing practice starts outside of the designated area ahead of the race.

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His Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas won the grand prix and had some strong words for his doubters.

Season three of Netflix’s Drive To Survive (DTS) docuseries was released earlier this month, and episode three reveals that there was more drama for the Mercedes F1 Team.

Dominique Riefstahl, the Silver Arrows’ race support team leader and test engineer, was arrested and questioned by Russian authorities after he accidentally entered a military area while cycling in the nearby mountains.

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“I can’t recommend cycling around here,” Riefstahl told Bottas while in the garage.

“Did you go to the mountains?” the Finn asked, to which Riefstahl replied: “Yeah, then I got arrested.

“Apparently I entered a military area. So they stopped me, they kept my passport. I got chased by a stray dog at one point.”

“Welcome to Russia,” Bottas jokingly replied.

Episode three, Nobody’s Fool, looks at the intra-team rivalry at Mercedes and focuses on the Russian Grand Prix.

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In the same episode, Bottas reveals that he considered quitting F1 after Mercedes instructed him to let Hamilton go through and take victory at the 2018 Russian GP.

At that point in the season, Hamilton was in a close battle with Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel for the Championship, and the eight extra points he scored from finishing in P1 instead of second at Sochi could have proved vital.

“Sochi 2018, that was a pretty tough race. Tough to accept. I was pretty angry,” Bottas said.

“Honestly I was thinking ‘Why do I do this?’. I was thinking of quitting [F1], of giving up.

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“Straight after the race, I said I would not do it again.”

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