Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team Executive Director Toto Wolff has praised the Mercedes team, following an incredibly difficult weekend for the crew.
Members of the Mercedes team were robbed at gunpoint, Lewis Hamilton crashed out of qualifying, and the team had to rebuild Hamilton’s car from scratch to get it prepared for the Brazilian Grand Prix, yet the team was still able to finish in second with Valtteri Bottas and fourth with Lewis Hamilton – despite Hamilton starting from the pit lane.
This dominance has almost become expected from Mercedes and, whilst it would be easy to take it for granted, Wolff is keen to ensure the team receives praise for their considerable effort.
“My first words today must go to our team members. This has been a weekend of extreme and contrasting emotions for us, and then this morning the guys came in again and rebuilt Lewis’ car from the ground up. It has been humbling to see their spirit, resilience and dedication this weekend.
“And it was matched by our two drivers: Valtteri pushed every lap of the race, hanging on to Sebastian but unable to close in quite enough to claim the lead, at a circuit where overtaking is difficult between cars of similar performance; while Lewis delivered the best fourth-place finish I have ever seen.”
Hamilton started from the pit lane and, whilst he was helped by an early safety car, was able to fight his way through from last to fourth – looking like he might even have been able to finish on the podium – in a convincing run of pace. Bottas, on the other hand, started from pole and was unable to hold it, suffering from wheel spin and losing the position to Sebastian Vettel into turn one.
“For Valtteri, the race was decided from the start: he got wheel spin on the start which opened the door to Sebastian at Turn 1. For Lewis, he transformed a pit-lane start into a finish just five seconds off the front; it was one of his best performances of the year and showed that we had the quickest car here by a good margin. He threw everything at it today and it was a champion’s drive. Now we move on to Abu Dhabi and will be aiming to finish our season on a high.”