Ex-Formula 1 driver Esteban Gutierrez has set an unofficial lap record at Sonoma Raceway in California behind the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG 2016 Formula 1 racer.
The Mexican took to the track during the recent Sonoma Speed Fest in the Mercedes-AMG W07, which is the second most-dominant car in F1 history having won 19 of the 21 races that it entered. It is one of the fastest cars on the planet, but maybe not quite as fast as you may initially expect.
Heading into the Sonoma Speed Fest, the official track record was held by Josef Newgarden in a Chevrolet Dallara DW12 IndyCar, who lapped the circuit in just 1:15.520 back in 2017. Gutierrez was able to lap the circuit slightly faster, recording a best time of 1:15.430.
Footage from the run shows that the Mercedes-AMG W07 Hybrid had a few minor grip issues during the run and we’ve got no doubt that a current F1 car with its more extreme aerodynamic package could be faster. We also suspect that the Mercedes-AMG team spent little time and resources actually setting up the car for the unique challenges of Sonoma Raceway, while Gutierrez also doesn’t have all that much experience at the circuit, especially compared to drivers that race there regularly.
Unfortunately for him, Gutierrez’s best lap won’t go down into the record books as an official lap record because it was not set during a sanctioned race, which means that, technically, Newgarden still holds the crown.