“Even if we have success every year, we’re still hungry, still ambitious,” says Lewis Hamilton after the race in Japan, a Grand Prix that saw the German manufacturer, Mercedes, secure a landmark constructors title becoming the first team in F1 history to win both titles six times in a row.
“When we embarked on the journey six or seven years ago we wanted to win races more regularly and then fight for a Championship – and now, six years later, we win our sixth Championship in a row. We never thought this would be possible and I’m incredibly happy for everybody who has been a part of this journey,” said team principal Toto Wolff.
After the Grand Prix in Suzuka, Vettel, once again beaten with Ferrari, had still managed a humorous response to the record-breaking feat saying: “Hopefully they’ll gradually get bored. We’ll see what happens then.”
Reminiscing on his years at Red Bull, winning the drivers and constructors titles multiple times, Vettel believes the Ferrari team can still deliver results that will make them contenders and he knows now what that formula is.
“It’s not about one thing that we have to improve, it’s about many small things that we have to improve, each one of us,” said Vettel after his 2nd place finish in Japan.
“I don’t think we have to work harder, I think we have to work better.” demands Vettel.
Some might argue that Vettel is perhaps correct, it sometimes appears that cleverness and the teams’ effectiveness during the race itself are the only two remaining components that Mercedes still has ahead of its rival Ferrari.
This season, the Scuderia has proven that it is at least on a par with the Silver Arrows on the engine side. But the successful team around team boss Toto Wolff still has the better package of car development, strategy work and individual driver performance. “We’re still missing a whole bar to really stand up to it,” Vettel said appreciatively. “From the outside, they’re very close to perfection.”
Since the start of the hybrid era for the 2014 season, the Silver Arrows have won a staggering 86 of 117 races. Needless to say, all World Championship titles have been won since then.
Hamilton, who could only be caught by his team mate Valtteri Bottas, will be able to clinch his sixth World Drivers’ Championship in two weeks’ time in Mexico. With this double run Mercedes even outperformed Ferrari under Michael Schumacher. “Formula 1 had times of team dominance, but Mercedes’ performance is unprecedented,” praised “The Guardian”
“Each of the championships feels very special for very different reasons. This is so special because at the beginning of a season it’s not always easy to reinvent oneself, to set goals that motivate everyone,” Wolff said. “It’s about putting everything together and leaving no stone unturned.”
Mercedes themselves also made mistakes this season, some of which were hardly known – such as at the chaotic race in Germany. But Mercedes still works best as a group. “You wouldn’t do it justice with a 30-second answer,” said Wolff when asked what distinguishes his team.
“If I had to summarise it, it would be the people, it would be the group of people working on this project.” concludes Wolff.
Of course the Austrian team boss of Mercedes is correct, but surely having arguably the largest annual budget in Grand Prix history must help, perhaps even a little?