Lewis Hamilton said that Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport‘s fifth consecutive Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship marks “real history in the making” for the German marque.
Mercedes wrapped up the championship over Scuderia Ferrari by winning the Brazilian Grand Prix, courtesy of Hamilton, and a fifth place finish through Valtteri Bottas. With Kimi Räikkönen third and Sebastian Vettel sixth at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Mercedes hold an insurmountable 67 point lead over Ferrari heading into the last round in Abu Dhabi in a fortnight’s time.
Hamilton said that, hypothetically, if he was to walk away from Mercedes today he would “always remember” the day and that this year has been the hardest challenge they have faced in the V6 Turbo Hybrid era so far. In Mexico City two weeks’ ago, the Brit secured his own fifth Drivers’ Championship – his fourth in the last five years.
“That’s real history in the making for the team,” beamed Hamilton.
“If I were to stop today with Mercedes, I would always remember this day and that I was a part of it and that’s so cool. This has been a seriously tough year and everyone on this team has fought so hard, harder than we’ve ever fought and we’re the most united that we’ve ever been – which is not expected when you’ve had success in previous years and could easily drop the ball.
“The guys have been continuing to raise the bar.”
After taking Mercedes’ one-hundredth pole position as a works team in Formula 1, the 33-year-old emphasised his wish to take victory and the Constructors’ Championship to allow the team cause for celebration heading into the final round of the season and the subsequent winter break.
“Today was such a tough race for me, but I really wanted to deliver and win this for the team,” said Hamilton.
“It has such a big knock-on effect; everyone on the team can now go into the last race and into the winter, knowing that they won the world title and that they’re legends.
“I am so grateful for all the hard work – here at the track, back home at the factories, at Petronas and all of our partners – I’m so proud to be part of this team. I’m actually kind of nervous to go back to the factories and hear the roar – I think the atmosphere is going to be incredible.”
Hamilton expressed surprise in the pace offered by Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen in the race. Verstappen made his way up from fifth on the grid to pass Räikkönen, Bottas and Vettel before passing Hamilton in the second stint. The 21-year-old was on course to take his first set of successive victories in Formula 1 before colliding with Esteban Ocon as the Frenchman endeavoured to un-lap himself into Turn 2.
The Dutchman rejoined with a five-second deficit to Hamilton, who struggled on the medium compound tyres he received on lap 19, but was powerless to find a way back past the Mercedes in the closing stages. Additionally, Hamilton suffered with minor engine discomfort from the midway stage of the 71 lap race which failed to materialise into a failure.
“I didn’t expect the Red Bulls to be in the race like that today,” admitted Hamilton. “I thought they’d be in a similar pace to us, but they were quite a bit quicker.
“We struggled with the tyres in the first stint and they were able to manage the tyres better than us. In the second stint, I was on the medium tyre and had an issue with the engine, so I was really just trying to bring the car across the line.
“Max passed me which was painful, but then they had an issue and all of a sudden I was back in the lead. I was on the radio, telling my engineers: “I don’t want to give it up, tell me what I need to do” – I was pushing so hard at the end, taking every risk to bring it home with a win.
“This is a high, but I want to stay on that wave and win the next race as well.”
The result marks the first time Hamilton has won a race after winning a championship with surplus rounds left in the championship, ending a streak of six races. The Brit needs just two points in Abu Dhabi to surpass his highest points tally in a season of 384.