Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Dieter Zetsche praises Lewis Hamilton on his fifth Formula 1 World Championship, winning his fourth with Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport.
Hamilton sealed the 2018 Formula title with a fourth place finish during the Mexican Grand Prix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, only needing a finish in the top seven to fully guarantee the championship.
The newly crowned champions’ race wasn’t plain sailing as high degradation from the tyres saw Hamilton drop pace and positions throughout the race, resorting into Mercedes putting Hamilton on a two-stop.
But the Brit done enough to secure fourth place, whilst Sebastian Vettel failed to keep his title hopes alive by finishing in second, meaning Hamilton would have won the championship by default.
As the Mercedes team celebrated Hamilton’s achievement in Mexico, many more celebrated back in Mercedes’ home in Germany. Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of Mercedes-Benz was one of them, and said that the opportunity to witness a driver become a legend in the sport is rare.
“This was one of the most epic race weekends I can recall,” said Dieter Zetsche. “It’s rare that one gets the opportunity to watch up close when athletes become legends and teams truly seal to become the absolute best in the world. That’s what just happened.”
Hamilton’s achievement on winning a fifth title means he’s the third driver to ever win five in Formula 1, joining along the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher.
Zetsche has had the opportunity to met and work with all three of them in his career at Mercedes.
“With this result, Lewis punched his well-deserved ticket to join that super exclusive club of just three drivers who’ve won five or more Formula One titles,” added Zetsche.
“I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and work with all three of them at Mercedes-Benz. Each of those drivers dominated an era in motorsport – in his own way. Each is a very special personality and great athlete.”
Mercedes’ success in the V6 Hybrid era has been one of the most dominated dynasties in Formula 1 history, having Hamilton and then team-mate Nico Rosberg winning championships every year since the 2014 season.
Scuderia Ferrari and Vettel apposed a championship challenge to Mercedes in 2017 and 2018, but consistency and a strong season from Hamilton kept his and the teams’ chances alive.
Zetsche added that Hamilton is getting better every year he has achieved title success under Mercedes.
“With Lewis joining our team the most recent era of Mercedes success in motorsport began – now crowned by five drivers’ world championships in a row for the team, four of them with Lewis. Even as the success grew, Lewis never stopped pushing himself to get even better. And so did the team, again and again.
“It’s incredible what they have achieved and how far they have come thanks to tremendous passion, hard work and a lot of outstanding expertise.”