Toto Wolff praised everyone within the Mercedes set-up after the team clinched the 2016 Constructors’ Championship with a double podium finish at Suzuka on Sunday.
The Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport praised those who work inside the three factories of the Formula 1 team after seeing Nico Rosberg claimed his ninth victory of the season, while Lewis Hamilton completed the podium with third.
“It is a great honour today to represent the hundreds of people in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart who have made us triple World Champions,” said Wolff. “The story begins on the shop floor of our team and goes all the way to the board room of Mercedes-Benz.
“It is a tale of passion, commitment and incredible people working beyond their limits to win. And not just doing it once, but re-motivating themselves to surpass their achievements year after year. This is their moment – all those heroes in the background who are the core of what makes this team so special.
“It is a humbling experience to walk the corridors of our factories and to see their faces every day. If I had a hat like Niki [Lauda]’s, I would take it off to them. And, okay, it might sound a bit corporate… but we couldn’t do it without the support of all the partners who invest in our vision and in our determination to win.
“Thank you to each and every one for their fantastic contribution to this success.”
Wolff admitted that the Japanese Grand Prix was pretty much determined by the start on Sunday, with Rosberg getting away well to lead into the first turn but Hamilton struggled to get away to drop to eighth, although he did well to fight back to third with a mixture of good passes and great strategy.
”Looking back at today’s race, so much was decided at the start,” admitted Wolff. “Nico got a perfect start, while Lewis suffered on the right-hand side with the damp line but also got a bad getaway.
“We know that our clutch is tricky to manage and we have not given the drivers the easiest system to use this year. Our first indications suggest that the clutch release was the problem today – but we will look into all the data before reaching a definitive conclusion.
“After that moment, Nico put in a perfect drive. He managed the gaps, controlled the race and took a really well-deserved win. For Lewis, it was fight-back time and he did that just as well as we know he can. Helped by a great strategy, on a circuit where it’s tough to pass, he came back from P8 to P3 in a great drive.”
Wolff was happy that the team were able to clinch the Constructors’ crown with both cars on the podium, and remains happy for the drivers to fight cleanly to take the Drivers’ honours, with thirty-three points separating Rosberg and Hamilton with four races of the season remaining.
“It was a fantastic way to win the Championship today, with two cars on the podium,” insisted Wolff. “And now, it’s finally mathematically between only our two boys. The gap in the Championship is now 33 points and we will let them battle it out in a clean race to the end.
“If this season has shown one thing, it’s that anything can happen and big swings are possible. There are 100 points still to be scored and a lot of racing still to go.”