Mercedes motorsports boss Toto Wolff believes the way the constructors’ championship battle panned out against Ferrari led to Lewis Hamilton’s impressive form continuing until the end of the season.
Hamilton wrapped up his fifth drivers’ championship in Mexico — with two races remaining — and had previously never won a race since securing a drivers’ title. With Mercedes still yet to clinch the constructors’ championship, Hamilton duly won in Brazil (pictured above) to confirm the double before following up with another victory in Abu Dhabi, and Wolff thinks the team’s situation kept his driver’s level high.
“He’s actually driven stronger after winning the drivers’ title, and I feel he’s just so embedded in the team and integrated that the drivers’ title felt incomplete — which for a driver is really strange because they are calibrated on the drivers’ title,” Wolff said. “But he said it felt incomplete and that we needed to seal the teams’ title.
“When you look at his face, that was almost more relief and happiness about sealing the constructors’ title than the first one, and that’s why he just didn’t take his foot off the throttle until the very end. That is somehow a new Lewis also.”
While Wolff rates overall Mercedes achievements among his own highlights this year, he points to one of Hamilton’s best performances of 2018 as a significant moment given the freedom Mercedes allows him.
“We’ve had an exceptional year overall in Mercedes, with all the trophies that we’ve won, and that is for me a highlight to say because we’ve managed to clinch the title with Mick (Schumacher) in F3 and George (Russell) in F2, and the virtual (Esports) titles, the DTM success.
“So that is my first highlight, I would say, the combination of events of winning the DTM and F3 on one weekend, and then the drivers’ title in Formula 1 and then the constructors’. It just feels like a huge burden off of our shoulder.
“And the second highlight for me was Lewis’ Singapore qualifying lap, as a stand-out event, when he was traveling the world to various fashion shows, launching his collection, and many people were saying on Thursday, ‘How can you allow him to be in New York and in Shanghai for 10 days and then come to the race?’ And then he just killed everybody on the track on Saturday.”