Despite the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team having clinched both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships, Toto Wolff says there is no easing off heading into the final two races of the season, and he says the races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi are like the first two races of 2018.
The team secured the Constructors’ Championship during the United States Grand Prix, while Lewis Hamilton took his fourth Drivers’ title in the Mexican Grand Prix two weeks ago, but Wolff says it is important to go all-out in the final rounds at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace and Yas Marina Circuit in order to take some positive momentum into the off-season.
“It might be tempting to think that, with both championships now secure, the pressure is off for the two remaining races of 2017,” said Wolff. “But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Inside the team, we are looking at the next two race weekends as the first two Grands Prix of 2018. We have two races that we are determined to win in order to take that positive momentum into the winter. There will be no backing off just because the championship business is now done.
“In fact, these next two races speak to every principle that makes us what we are. We aspire to excellence in everything we do, from the first lap of the winter shakedown in Silverstone to the final lap of the post-season test in Abu Dhabi.
“And every time we race, we race to win. That is the mind set we take to Sao Paulo.”
Wolff feels champion Hamilton has been racing at his very best since the summer break, winning five of the seven races since the resumption of the season, while he also believes team-mate Valtteri Bottas showed signs of returning to form himself with a strong drive to second place in Mexico.
“Lewis is operating at the peak of his powers right now, and will be determined to add another victory to last year’s success; Valtteri made a promising step forward in Mexico and will aim to build from this at Interlagos,” said Wolff.
With Red Bull Racing having taken two wins with Max Verstappen in the past four races, and with Scuderia Ferrari being a constant threat all season long, Wolff says winning races continue to be difficult, but they are not letting up in either Brazil or Abu Dhabi before gunning for five in five Driver and Constructor titles in 2018.
“As recent rounds have shown, winning Grands Prix is never easy,” insisted Wolff. “Red Bull have taken two victories in the past four races and, although we have claimed the other two, Ferrari remain formidable opponents.
“With the championship now settled, the battle for 2018 has already begun.”