The Mexican Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton clinch the 2018 World Drivers’ Championship but for team boss Toto Wolff, it is a case of a job half done, as Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport gun to add the Constructors’ Championship to their résumé.
Heading to this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Mercedes sit fifty-five points ahead of Scuderia Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship and can take the title this weekend if they leave South America more than forty-three points clear of their rivals.
However, Ferrari have closed the gap by twenty-three points across the past two Grand Prix in the United States and Mexico, and the last weekend saw one of the more difficult weekends in recent times for Mercedes, with Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas finishing fourth and fifth after suffering with extreme tyre degradation.
“Mexico was a bittersweet weekend,” said Wolff. “On the one hand, we’re extremely happy for Lewis. He is the best driver of his generation and his fifth Formula One World Championship puts him among the absolute greatest this sport has ever seen.
“On the other hand, we cannot be satisfied with our race performance in Mexico. Qualifying looked promising but just a few laps into the race, we knew that we’d run into big issues with the tyres.
We started to analyse those problems immediately after the race and have made progress with understanding the challenges we faced and why. It’s important to apply all our learnings to make sure we come back strong in Brazil.”
Wolff insists the target for Mercedes remains to take both championships in 2018 and whilst the Constructors’ Championship is still up in the air, everyone will be doing everything they can to clinch it this weekend in Brazil.
“Our target for this season was to win both championships, not one title or the other, so our mindset is one of unfinished business as we head to Sao Paulo,” said Wolff. “We have a big battle on our hands for the constructors’ title and we have lost ground to Ferrari in each of the past race weekends – even though we had the base performance to do better.
“This is the moment to keep our feet on the ground, focus clearly on the objective and trust in our processes and people to deliver. In the cockpit, I know that both Lewis and Valtteri are determined to end their respective seasons on a high note; as a team, we are aiming to finish this year with our heads held high and with two performances that properly reflect the level of performance we have attained this year.”