Mercedes is again Formula 1’s benchmark team, and continues to storm in the sport’s hybrid era having secured five-straight world championships.
The squad returned from Brazil to a rock star reception, having locked-up the constructors’ after what was its toughest fight since 2014.
SOUNDBITE (English) TOTO WOLFF,
HEAD OF MOTORSPORT, MERCEDES:
“Congratulations to all of you. It was an amazing season with many ups and downs - but those downs have made us better, and make it even more joyful to celebrate in that way.”
Hamilton had secured his fifth crown one race earlier in Mexico, but took a lucky win at Interlagos and then dominated in Abu Dhabi to make it 51 wins from the 100 turbo-hybrid events since Australia 2014, the first event featuring F1’s state-of-the-art V6 powerplant.
SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON,
5-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“I am really grateful that I do have another at least hopefully, another couple of seasons in Formula 1. But right now, just getting this fifth has been so hard. And it has been a long, long journey.”
Hamilton also completed 2018 with 408 points, becoming the first driver to break the 400-point barrier in a single season. 88 points ahead of title rival, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who won the first two races.
Valtteri Bottas finished fifth in the standings, a whopping 161 points behind his champion teammate – but kept a brave face until the end.
SOUNDBITE (English) VALTTERI BOTTAS,
F1 DRIVER, MERCEDES:
“It's very nice to see so many happy faces and you all definitely deserve the happy feeling, the good feeling because you have done, every single one of the factory, an amazing job.”
Bottas is the first Mercedes driver to have a winless season in F1’s hybrid era, and now desperately needs a standout 2019 to retain his drive with Esteban Ocon on the sidelines.
Next year also offers another step towards greatness, with Hamilton able to take his sixth crown, one fewer than Schumacher’s record, while Mercedes is able to match Ferrari’s record of six-consecutive titles.
It’s all on the line as the Silver Arrows seek to retain dominance, despite upcoming technical change and ever-tougher competition.