The Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, has said that without Lewis Hamilton they would not have enjoyed the remarkable success that culminated in a record-equalling fifth constructors’ championship at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Hamilton’s win at Interlagos, having already secured his fifth drivers’ title, ensured Mercedes continued their complete dominance as a manufacturer, unbeaten since the turbo-hybrid era began in 2014.
Since then, the team have won five consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championship doubles. Hamilton has four with Nico Rosberg taking one in 2016. Victory in Brazil ensured they have equalled Ferrari’s record, achieved with Michael Schumacher between 2000 and 2004. One more constructors’ championship will match Ferrari’s six, the Scuderia having also taken the team title in 2009.
Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013, the same year as Wolff, and since 2014 has won 50 of the 99 races, an average of 10 per season. Wolff recognised how crucial he had been. Without Hamilton, he asserted, “we wouldn’t have won five championships”.
“He is an exceptional driver and an unbelievable human and he has been an integral part of the team,” he added. “He is the one in the forefront and in the car. Many people have contributed to the success but clearly it wouldn’t have happened without him.”
Hamilton, who took his fifth title in Mexico with fourth place, had admitted that was not how he had wanted to seal the championship, but took huge satisfaction in finishing the double with a win at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace.
“I think that might have been the best moment I have had with this team,” he said. “I have never seen the guys so happy. We have been together a long, long time, I was hoping the guys could feel what I was feeling and I saw it and we shared it and I will remember that moment for the rest of my life. I am so emotionally drained.
“It’s hard to contemplate what has happened in the last six years. It has been an incredible journey and by no means easy for anybody, it has been a real battle for all of us.”