Mercedes AMG F1 Team dedicated their record-breaking sixth consecutive constructors’ title to former non-executive chairman Niki Lauda after taking victory in Suzuka courtesy of Valttieri Bottas’s dominant performance.
In a weekend which saw the Brackley based outfit dominate practice before F1 paused for typhoon Hagibis, it was Scuderia Ferrari who temporary rained Mercedes’s parade by locking out the front row of the grid whilst Bottas started third and championship leader Lewis Hamilton fourth.
On race day, however, it was Bottas who stole the thunder of the Scuderia after an electric start which saw him storm into the lead into turn 1 whilst Hamilton came under attack from the fast-starting Carlos Sainz Jr who briefly took third into turn 4.
Hamilton then had to dodge parts of Charles Leclerc’s damaged front wing as the Monegasque stayed out with damage which in turn damaged the Mercedes’s halo
Mercedes’s strategy preferred Bottas who drove a smooth race to hold the race lead to take his third victory of the 2019 season and his sixth Grand Prix win of his career and with it to wrap up Mercedes’s sixth constructors’ championship.
Bottas thanked every single team member for their efforts, in both Japan and back at the team’s factory at Brackley.
“Six double championships – every single team member at the race track and in the factories can be incredibly proud of this achievement!” said Bottas.
“A big thank you to all of you. I think we don’t quite realise yet what an amazing achievement this is, but we’re making history in this sport.“
The Finn was relieved that he got a good start which Bottas said was one of the best of his career as he cuts the points gap in the championship to sixty-four points.
“I had an excellent start today, one of the best ones in my career, and managed to take the lead in the very beginning. We expected our car to be quick in the race, but it’s really tricky to overtake on this track, so we knew that we’d have to try and take the lead at the start and I’m very glad it all worked out.”
“I really enjoyed the race afterwards; the car felt really good and our upgrades worked well,” he added.
As for Hamilton, the championship leader got stuck behind pole sitter Sebastian Vettel with the Brit unable to get ahead of the German despite mounting a serious challenge into turn 1 in the dying laps of the race.
But like his teammate, Hamilton was thrilled for his team’s record breaking victory.
“I’m so happy for the team – what a great result!” exclaimed Hamilton. “Six consecutive double titles is an amazing achievement that has taken a long time and a lot of hard work.“
“It just shows the strength and depth through and through for the team and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of Mercedes history. It’s a well-deserved achievement – thank you to everyone in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart for all the hard work and dedication.“
Hamilton believes that it’s advantage Ferrari as F1 heads to the Americas for the next three rounds.
“I think we can expect the next races to be very challenging; Ferrari still have a straight-line speed advantage which makes it very hard to qualify ahead of them, so we have to outrace them, but I think that makes it really exciting for the spectators.“
Mercedes’s team boss Toto Wolff was euphoric after his team’s achievements which he believed wasn’t possible when he become an executive director of the team in 2013 as he also thanked his employees efforts.
“When we embarked on the journey six or seven years ago we wanted to win races more regularly and then fight for a Championship – and now, six years later, we win our sixth Championship in a row,” said Wolff.
“We never thought this would be possible and I’m incredibly happy for everybody who has been a part of this journey. It’s not always been easy, the entire team put in a lot of hard work and we had our fair share of painful moments, but we were always able to pick ourselves up.“
“Everyone in Brackley and Brixworth worked incredibly hard for this achievement and I can’t thank them enough,” he added.
Wolff dedicated his Mercedes’s sixth constructors crown to Lauda who passed away on the eve of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.
“This sixth Championship is a very special one – and we dedicate it to Niki. He has been such an important part from the beginning, and we all miss him dearly. I think about him every day and still find it hard to believe that he’s not here anymore; I keep thinking to myself ‘What would Niki say, what would he think?’ Today, he probably would have said ‘Congratulations for the sixth one, but you have a challenge on your hands for next year’.”