Team principal Toto Wolff describes Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the Singapore Grand Prix as one of Mercedes’ greatest wins, given its history at the venue.
Mercedes has dominated Formula 1 since the introduction of the V6 turbo hybrid power units in 2014, but even at its peak it saw its advantage reduced in Singapore. 2015 saw Sebastian Vettel take victory with Mercedes comfortably off the pace, while a year later Nico Rosberg just managed to hold off Daniel Ricciardo. Last season was saw Ferrari much closer in general but Hamilton took victory after both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen retired, but this weekend was a hugely impressive performance from the defending champion to win from pole.
“It feels like one of the greatest victories, because it was really our bogey circuit in the past and we were so motivated to do well here and to show we could also perform in Singapore,” Wolff said. “Coming here and finishing the race with a very solid team result is a great achievement for everybody in this team.
“I think you need to make your own destiny. We worked so hard after Spa to understand the car and we knew that against many voices, that we could perform well in Singapore. We came here, qualifying was amazing, the lap was stardust and then he controlled it throughout the whole race.
“There are marginal gains that will determine the outcome of this championship, because on performance levels, we are very close to each other, so we have to keep the foot on the throttle and try to avoid mistakes and continue to develop the car.”
While Wolff understood Ferrari’s decision to fit the ultrasoft tire on Vettel’s car after the first stint in an attempt to undercut Hamilton, but was confident Mercedes held the upper hand, he was less comfortable when it came to the race leader being held up by backmarkers as Sergey Sirotkin and Romain Grosjean battled on track.
“The first moment, you’re angry that you have lost the gap, but you need to accept they guys are fighting for position and trying to have their own best race and you have to respect that. I think the drivers need to discuss it among themselves — if the leaders come and it’s close, maybe they should have more of a global perspective of what is happening behind them.
“But in a racing car, sometimes you don’t know what is happening — you just see that the leader is coming and you are fighting for your own position so you have to respect everyone’s struggle to perform.”