[F1 2018 VIDEO FEATURE] MERCEDES: SILVER ARROWS DOMINATE

Germany was a miraculous moment for Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton’s win from 14th on the grid, setting him up for a fifth world championship to equal the Maestro Juan Manuel Fangio.

The victory, along with title rival Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel’s heartbreaking skate into the barriers on Lap 52, enabled Hamilton to turn an 8-point deficit into a 17-point lead in the standings.

It was also his 125th career podium, and 100th points finish for the Silver Arrows, in this his sixth year with the works squad.

And it made him the first F1 winner from as low as 14th on the grid since Fernando Alonso’s controversial victory at Singapore in 2008.

While Valtteri Bottas finished runner-up, for the team’s second one-two result this year, and first on home soil in Germany.

Hamilton then followed it up with the unexpected in Hungary - dominating in the wet and dry to extend his lead in the standings to 24 points heading into F1’s summer break.

But, as the Brit has said right from the start of the season - he is focusing on being on top form - enough to rattle the Prancing Horse.

SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON,
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“What’s really a focus for me is just making sure I'm performing at my best. Hopefully if I am performing at my best then there will be issues because they'll be upset about it.”

Mindgames aside, Mercedes needs to arrive at Belgium’s fearsome Spa- Francorchamps circuit with upgrades galore, given Ferrari’s alleged recent gains from its twin battery systems, which FIA race director Charlie Whiting has again cleared as legal, with rumours it’s found a breakthrough allowing it to simultaneously deploy and harvest.

As a result the Prancing Horse was said to be half a second faster on the straights at Hockenheim, with its customer teams benefiting as well.

Ferrari is also experimenting with its exhaust layouts, remounting pipes to potentially blow the rear wing for added downforce.

Of course, Mercedes has won the last four championship doubles - and knows it just has to focus on bringing performance to the car.

SOUNDBITE (English) TOTO WOLFF,
HEAD OF MOTORSPORT, MERCEDES:
"My belief is that if you are able to set common objectives within the team members, people that are very skilled superstars in their own rights and you manage to align them for that common objective and put all the energy and force into achieving that success - this, I think, unlocks the greatest potential."

Hamilton, now confirmed a Silver Arrows driver until 2020, with Bottas his teammate for next year at least, also knows he can’t afford mistakes - like Vettel suffered in Germany… or mechanical issues, the team sustaining a double DNF in Austria.

The belief is there, though, that Mercedes’ era of success can continue.

SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON,
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“The success has just been phenomenal, but it really is the team
work collectively. The unit is just the best I've ever seen in Formula 1 and I'm pretty sure that the sport has ever seen. So I'm proud to be a part of that.”

Ferrari may be pushing Mercedes to work harder - forcing it to run its cars on the edge more than ever - risking failure - but staying calm under pressure is a Silver Arrows hallmark.

So it’s game on for a thrilling battle battle expected to go down to the wire in Abu Dhabi.