F1 - Race - 2018 Brazilian GP team quotes
Sergey Sirotkin finished 16th and Lance Stroll 18th in the Brazilian Grand Prix
Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer
It was a frustrating race with lots of blue flags. We took a gamble with our strategy, stopping early to get both cars onto the prime tyre in an attempt to undercut the cars we were racing. Unfortunately, this didn’t pay off due to the degradation of the prime tyre and both cars progressively lost positions. These aren’t the results we were hoping for today, however both drivers drove well, within the limits of the car, and performed the necessary tyre management.
Straight away from the beginning, it was a very difficult race. We were missing the pace of the cars around us. It was tricky during the first laps, I felt like I was dancing on ice, not just to fight but even to keep the car on track. I was trying to protect the positions and it ruined the rhythm, so it took a while to settle down. We never really had the pace to recover so all race it was about survival. It was very difficult to manage and keep everything under control for such a long stint, so very disappointed after a tricky race.
It was a long, hard race. I had a good start and then I was just getting out of the way for blue flags and managing tyres, but ultimately that wasn’t good enough as we were too slow. That is the nature of the track also, as it is very tight and there are not many corners, so it is tough to get out of the way. It was far from the most exciting race. The bottom line is we were not quick enough, and I am not sure we could have done anything with our strategy.
Haas F1 Team earned a double-points result for the fourth time this season in the Brazilian Grand Prix Sunday with drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finishing eighth and ninth, respectively, in the penultimate round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship.
The six points from the collective result of Grosjean and Magnussen at Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo allowed Haas F1 Team to solidify its fifth-place standing in the constructors’ ranks. The American squad now has 90 points and trails fourth-place Renault by 24 points and holds a 28-point advantage over sixth-place McLaren. Magnussen is ninth in the driver’s championship with 55 points, tying his highest season point total, earned during his rookie year in 2014 with McLaren when he finished 11th in points. Grosjean is currently 13th with 35 points.
The Haas F1 Team duo proved tenacious throughout the 71-lap race around the 4.309-kilometer (2.677-mile), 15-turn circuit in São Paulo’s Interlagos neighborhood.
Grosjean started eighth and picked up one position at the start, surviving a scrape with the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson. Magnussen fell one spot to 11th in the opening-lap scrum.
A charging Daniel Ricciardo, who would go on to finish fourth, powered his Red Bull past Grosjean on lap four. But it soon became apparent that eighth was Grosjean’s rightful place, as he was never truly challenged thereafter.
Magnussen, meanwhile, leapfrogged Ericsson for 10th when the Sauber driver slowed on lap nine. Magnussen then set his sights on the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly, taking ninth on lap 13.
Both Grosjean and Magnussen navigated their pit stops flawlessly. Grosjean stopped on lap 32, swapping his Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires for White medium tires that would carry him through the finish. Magnussen made his stop on lap 41, jettisoning his Yellow soft tires for supersofts.
With their pit stops done and the pit stops of others having cycled through, Grosjean was eighth and Magnussen was ninth. They held these positions for the final 30 laps to pick up Haas F1 Team’s first double-points finish since the Aug. 26 Belgian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton won the Brazilian Grand Prix from the pole to earn his 72nd career Formula One victory, his series-leading 10th this season and his second at Autódromo José Carlos Pace. The Mercedes driver’s margin of victory over second-place Max Verstappen of Red Bull was 1.469 seconds. And after Hamilton clinched the drivers’ championship in the preceding Mexican Grand Prix, his win in the Brazilian Grand Prix clinched Mercedes’ fifth straight constructors’ title.
Only one race remains, with the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix set for Nov. 25 at Yas Marina Circuit.
“I’m very happy, and very happy for the team. With the damage we had on the car following lap one, I’m impressed. We lacked about a second of downforce on the car. Being able to do those lap times, I think we did an amazing job on the setup. I’m very happy with that. I think without that, being best-of-the-rest would’ve easily been on our side. I’m happy we finished eighth and ninth. Even if we’re far from Renault in the points, double-points finishes in the two last races would be amazing going into the winter.”
“It was tough luck on the first lap. I made a good start and I got through turns one and two very well. Then I was pushed out on turn four and I lost a few positions there. I had to get those positions back and close the gap to Romain again. We stayed put from there. I’m happy for the team to get a double-points finish again. It’s good to bounce back from the tough luck we experienced yesterday when I didn’t really qualify where I should have. We did some damage limitation. I’m happy we leave with points.”
“It was a good result to have both cars in the points. Everybody did a great job over the whole weekend, and this is what you get when you do a good job. It was fantastic to lap the Renault that’s in front of us in the championship.”
Racing Point Force India
Racing Point Force scored a point at Interlagos this afternoon with Sergio Perez ending the Brazilian Grand Prix in tenth place and Esteban Ocon in P15.
“I was really hoping we could get some rain this afternoon. Throughout the race I was looking at the clouds and they were getting darker, but in the end it stayed dry. I don’t think we had the race pace to score more points today. I had to fuel save quite early on and for much of the afternoon it was a pretty lonely race for me. We made our strategy work as best as we could and tenth place was as much as we could achieve. It’s a shame we couldn’t score more and capitalise on the Renaults not scoring, but hopefully we can end the season with a better result in Abu Dhabi.”
“It’s disappointing not to score when we had good pace. I had made some good overtakes throughout the race, but it all came to nothing after the contact with Max [Verstappen]. He came out of the pits, I stayed behind him for nearly two laps but I was much faster than him and the team advised me to unlap myself. I went on the outside at turn one – the same move I made on Fernando [Alonso] and on many others before, but Max didn’t give me any space. Once I was beside him I couldn’t just disappear, so we collided. But it was my corner and I had the right to the space. I was saddened by his behaviour after the race: he was very aggressive and the guys from the FIA had to intervene. That’s not the way to handle these things.”
OTMAR SZAFNAUER, TEAM PRINCIPAL & CEO
“Rescuing one point was realistically the only result we could achieve given our difficult Saturday. Sergio completed a good race, fighting against the Renaults in the opening stages and opening a gap. It was a fairly lonely race after that, because we couldn’t close the gap on the two Haas cars in front, but given the circumstances it was a good result. Esteban had done a good job making up ground from the back of the grid and would have probably finished in P11 if it hadn’t been for the clash with Verstappen. The rules state that you’re allowed to unlap yourself and Esteban was much faster than Max at that stage. Unfortunately he wasn’t left any space in the corner and that ruined the race for both.”
“That was a really good race for me, it’s annoying you don’t get to score points as a reward, but there weren’t any retirements at the front to capitalise on. I started on the harder compound so it was a bit tricky for me during the first few laps, but still I had a strong start and made some good overtakes. To make our race work, I knew I would have to keep the tyres alive as long as possible on the first stint, I had great feedback from the pit wall and the strategy worked well. I felt this was one of the best performances of my F1 career but without the reward of points. The team will work hard over the next weeks to understand why we had such good race pace in Mexico, but struggled two weeks later here in Brazil.”
“I had some good battles today, but it was a tough race. I had a good start and got to P8, but after that we clearly were suffering compared to our direct competitors. I tried to fight as much as I could but we clearly didn’t have the pace for points today. We knew Brazil would be difficult, but after the performance we showed in Mexico we were a bit more optimistic, so in the end we’re a bit disappointed with the way the race unfolded. Now there’s one race left of the season so hopefully we can finish on a high!”
Franz Tost (Team Principal)
“We started the race with Pierre in ninth position and finished only 13th, so it wasn’t a satisfying result for us. The race pace wasn’t there and we were simply too slow so we have to analyse why. Brendon started from 16th with the Medium tyre, and we pitted him very late to switch to the Supersoft which was a very good move, because he was able to increase his pace towards the end of the race. However, unfortunately we weren’t able to score points today.”
Toyoharu Tanabe (Honda F1 Technical Director)
“Both cars finished the race, but our package wasn’t quick enough to finish in the points and we were unable to make the most of Gasly’s ninth place grid position. We must analyse all the data from this weekend and try to do better in the final round of the season in two weeks’ time. On behalf of Honda, I offer our congratulations to Mercedes on winning the Constructors’ title today.”
“First of all I want to thank the Team. The car felt amazing all race, even with a damaged floor towards the end. The set-up, balance and strategy were perfect today. To be this competitive at a track we didn’t expect to be is really positive, and makes me look forward to Abu Dhabi. We have come away with a P2, which should have been a win. This shows we were performing really well, beyond expectations. It is a real shame we didn’t come away with the win due to the incident with Ocon. Of course a backmarker can un-lap himself but he took an unnecessary amount of risk, especially against the race leader. They gave him the penalty for causing a collision so I think that says enough. At the end of the day I am a passionate sportsman that wants to win, this situation is frustrating and shows emotion when competing at the highest level. It is now important to take the positives from the race and the rest of the weekend and carry on the momentum into Abu Dhabi.”
“I’m happy with my race, I’m happy with all the Team’s efforts but still a bit disappointed to just miss out on the podium. I caught Kimi and could see the podium but unfortunately it just wasn’t quite enough. The strategy was spot on once again so we can’t fault ourselves at all. I had fun and some great battles, especially my pass on Bottas. I told the team on the radio I was going for it and I made it stick. The battle with Seb was cool, I think we maybe touched once or twice, but I’ve always respected him and the way he races. We’ve had some on-track battles before, at times it gets slightly heated, but I believe we know where each other’s limits are. It’s frustrating because every time we have a penalty we seem to have a fast car, if we started closer to the front I’m confident we could have had a really good result. It’s bitter sweet I guess, we did well but if we had started where I qualified we could have done better, you can’t ask for much starting start from 11th. Anyway, I have no regrets from the race, I did all I could and I know the team did, so it is what it is. With the pace we had today I really have some optimism going to Abu Dhabi. I feel like that’s a stronger track for us than this, so maybe we can go there and drink some fake champagne.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal
“After having fantastic pace in the race today it’s incredibly disappointing to lose the victory with Max following what can only be described as irresponsible driving from a backmarker. Nevertheless, we had phenomenal pace which was demonstrated by both Max and Daniel.
Exceptional driving and a great strategy enabled Max to take the lead following the pit stops and Daniel made swift progress from 11th on the grid with some outstanding overtakes, particularly on Bottas and Vettel. Second and fourth is a good result for the Team, but we can’t help but feel that we have been robbed as it should have been more. Daniel was so close to securing the third podium spot and without the penalty who knows what he could have achieved this afternoon. The encouraging factor today was our outright pace and everyone in the Team should be proud of their performance and contribution. Congratulations to everyone at Mercedes, we know how much hard work goes into winning the Constructors’ Championship. They have been the dominant team this year and let’s hope we can give them a harder time next year.”
The team endured a challenging Brazilian Grand Prix, with Stoffel finishing in 15th and Fernando in 17th positions.
Stoffel had a tough start to the race from the back of the grid, and initial progress was tricky over a short lap with a close pack. However, he managed his pace well and executed a one-stop strategy, which enabled him to overtake cars ahead of him in the final stages to finish in 14th, although he was given a five-second time penalty after the race for ignoring blue flags, dropping him to 15th.
Fernando had a difficult race. After a strong start, the team decided to take advantage and pit Fernando early with the aim of performing the undercut on the cars in front. However, an issue in the pit-stop meant he was stationary for over 12 seconds, negating any chance of progress for the remainder of the race. However, thankfully the issue was spotted by the crew, which otherwise could have meant a retirement had Fernando been allowed to leave the box earlier.
Fernando, by then in 18th and last position, set about trying to catch the pack ahead, which was tough given the relative pace compared to the cars in front. However, he managed to overtake a couple of competitors, and was set to finish in 16th position, until he too was awarded a five-second time penalty for ignoring blue flags, leaving him in a net 17th position after the chequered flag.
“It was tough today. We gambled a little bit on the strategy, stopping very early to overtake some cars in front, but it didn’t work out for us. As it turned out, the Medium tyres blistered and we weren’t competitive in the second part of the race.
“Also, my pit-stop was not clean and smooth, and we lost some time there.
“Overall, we’ve been too slow all weekend. We just didn’t have the pace to be in the top 10 so today, no matter what strategy we had done or whatever we had tried today, I think points were unreachable.”
“Today was a good race from my side. I’m really happy with how everything went, even though the result today wasn’t really what we were hoping for.
“It was a strong race from my side, and I felt like I maximised everything today. I had a few good overtakes and some nice fights with Fernando, and we overtook the Williams as well, so I think we did the most we could today.
“We played the strategy well. We did a good job to go a little bit longer in the first stint to make the tyres last longer than the others, came out on fresh tyres and had a good couple of battles, and from there on we did a good race. It might not look on the timing board today that it was a great race, but overall, I’m quite happy with what we did. Today, looking at where the pace has been all weekend, that was the best we could have done.”
Gil de Ferran
“This was a difficult race for us. Fernando had a good first lap, which put us in a better position. We decided to box him relatively early to enable him the opportunity to undercut some competitors, but unfortunately we had an issue during the pit-stop, which essentially killed his race, as any progress was marred by traffic and blue flags. However, had it not been for the experience of our pit-crew, who spotted the issue with the right rear wheel, the result could have been race-ending. Credit to the crew for their hard work, as always.
“On Stoffel’s side, the beginning of his race was clouded by traffic, however, as the race went on he made steady progress, showing good pace in the closing stages, and finished in striking distance of 11th place.
“As it transpired, we didn’t have the pace this weekend to fight for points. We leave Brazil obviously disappointed, but also heartened by a great Brazilian Grand Prix and all the support we felt throughout the weekend from our McLaren fans.”
The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team leaves Sao Paulo with a superb race by Charles Leclerc and a consolidated 8th position in the Constructors Championship. A strong qualifying session, the best of the season for the Swiss Team, saw Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc taking the start from the 6th and 7th spots on the grid, determined to score points. Everything was in place for a strong race, but unfortunately a heated start to the Brazilian Grand Prix saw two different races unfold for the two drivers. While Charles Leclerc had a strong start, gaining positions on the opening lap, Marcus Ericsson faced a different set of challenges.
Heading to the grid, Ericsson had an issue with the floor of his car, which saw the team make repairs in the final minutes before the start. Eager to extract the most of his strong position, the Swedish driver gave his all to retain it, however, with some remaining floor damage, had a difficult fight ahead of him. After making contact with another car on the opening laps, he picked up additional damage to his floor and front wing. Despite the team calling him back to the pits in an attempt to fix this damage, he eventually had to a retire from the race.
Leclerc, on the other hand, gave yet another strong and consistent performance, fighting at the top of the midfield for the entire duration of the race. Finishing in 7th position for the third time this season, the Monegasque rookie has collected another six points, advancing to 14th position in the Driver’s Championship with a total of 33 points to his name.
The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team holds a total of 42 points and is currently in 8th place in the Constructors’ Championship. Marcus Ericsson is in 17th place in the Drivers’ Championship, holding a total of nine points for the season.
“A disappointing end to such a great weekend. I had an issue with the floor on the lap to the grid and we are still investigating what exactly happened. We tried to repair it on the grid, but it is difficult to say whether we succeeded. I had contact with another car just after the start, and after that, the car was difficult to drive. The balance was different to the rest of the weekend and the damage became worse and worse. We had to retire from the race – a shame, especially after such a fantastic qualifying, but we will come back stronger at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.”
“I am very happy with the race; finishing in 7th place is a positive result that we can be satisfied with. It was fun to drive on this track and adding more points to our tally to solidify our 8th position in the Constructors’ Championship is a positive feeling for the whole team. I look forward to seeing what we can do in Abu Dhabi.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG
“Overall, this was a positive weekend for our team. Both drivers gave strong performances in qualifying and started the race at the top of the midfield. Charles finishing the race in 7th place is a good step forward in consolidating P8 in the championship. We do however leave Sao Paulo with mixed feelings, as Marcus had to retire from the race. There was an issue with his floor, and after making contact with another car, the additional damage caused made it impossible for him to finish. Nevertheless, our pace is good, and we are fighting for positions in the championship. Our progress continues, and this is a reward for the hard work done at the track and at the factory in Switzerland over the course of this year. I look forward to finishing the season in strong form in Abu Dhabi.”
Kimi Raikkonen stood on the podium after coming third in the Brazilian Grand Prix. For Seb Vettel it was a case of damage limitation, after a sensor problem meant his SF71H was proving difficult to drive. It was a tricky Sunday with different conditions to those experienced up until the end of qualifying. But at least, with one race still to go, the Scuderia has had more podium finishes than it did in 2017.
FILM OF THE RACE
Sun or rain? That’s the eternal question at Interlagos. In fact, before the start, it was hot with track temperature exceeding 40 degrees. A daring and well planned strategy had seen the two Ferraris qualify on the Option tyre, the Soft, which is more durable than the Supersoft. Seb was second on the grid and Kimi fourth.
Getting off the line, the harder tyre didn’t give any advantage and Seb found himself slightly blocked by Hamilton and let Bottas by. Kimi was fending off Verstappen, but the Dutchman forced his way by at the start of the second lap, going on to snatch third place too. Seb locked up under braking and Kimi made the most of it.
After ten laps, the tyre choice began to pay off, as could be seen in the all-Finnish duel between Bottas and Raikkonen. Valtteri was doing a good job of defending and the Scuderia went for a strategic move: in the pits the tyres were ready, but the driver went by without stopping. However, his fellow countryman did pit, followed next time round by Hamilton.
On lap 28, Sebastian pitted, the crew pulling off the stop in a record time, under two seconds. Kimi stayed out for a further four laps, before also coming down pit lane, when the mechanics again did a brilliant job, so that he emerged right behind Seb, who was chasing Bottas.
The number 5 car had picked up a sensor problem even before the start and so the two drivers swapped places, with Kimi immediately setting a race fastest lap as he set his sights on Bottas. With 30 laps to go, there were two duels: Kimi versus Bottas, while Seb was doing all in his power to fend off Ricciardo.
There was drama on lap 44, when Ocon, a lap down, tried to unlap himself from Verstappen going into the Senna corner, spinning both he and the Dutchman around. Meanwhile, Kimi got ahead of the Mercedes to make it into the podium zone, while Ricciardo won a great battle with Sebastian who, in order to deal with the driveability problem, decided to switch to a two stop strategy, fitting a set of Supersofts, which soon saw him retake sixth place.
Out in front, the top four were separated by just five seconds. Kimi gave his all and made it to the podium, while Seb did what he could and came home sixth. There are no world titles left to fight for this year, but we are ready to give it our best shot as usual in the final race of the season.
“Unfortunately, even though Kimi finished on the podium today, we were unable to reach our goal, which was to keep the battle going for the Constructors’ title. Right from the formation lap, we became aware of a problem with a sensor on Seb’s car. This meant that, for the whole race, he had to run different settings to those we would have normally used and that made the car difficult to drive. Congratulations to Mercedes on taking the teams’ title.”
“It was a nice exciting race. We had good battles throughout and the car was working well during the whole race. The speed was there and we had no particular issues. The first set of tires was very good at the start and I was really happy, but then I destroyed them a little bit trying to pass the Mercedes. Once we changed the tires the car was absolutely fine; we kind of knew that once we pitted we could have gone past them. After that the behaviour of the car was still very good, but at that point we were a bit too late, as it had taken too long for us to get there. As for the strategy, we did what we thought was the best for us. We can always debate many things, but today we made the best of it. Obviously it is not the greatest of results, but I don’t think we could have got more; we did not make any mistakes and fought hard. As for the Constructors’ Championship we knew that it would have been difficult; we did our best, but unfortunately it was not enough. The best team won this year, that’s how it goes.”
“Obviously, this was not an easy race and I am not happy with sixth place. I tried to do my best, but the car was difficult to drive and I even struggled to drive on the straights. However, I am happy that Kimi got to the podium, because it is a good result for us, even if we didn’t win the Constructors’ Championship. Honestly, I don’t think it was an advantage for us to start on Soft tyres, because the Supersofts lasted longer than expected, but that’s how it was. The first part of my start was going well, but then the second was not that good, as I had nowhere to go with Lewis in front of me. I think we just didn’t have enough grip in the second part of the “esses”, Lewis and Valtteri worked together and I had no chance. Also, Lewis was a little bit quicker on the brakes to give Valtteri the outside line and then in lap 2 or 3 Max passed us as he was faster. There’s not much to say as this year Mercedes has been stronger than us and we can only congratulate them.”
Renault Sport Formula One Team faced disappointment at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace with Carlos Sainz finishing twelfth and Nico Hülkenberg retiring from the Grande Prêmio do Brazil.
Both drivers made promising starts at an overcast Interlagos with Carlos passing Nico on the opening lap. Nico’s race didn’t make the halfway mark as excessive engine temperatures meant he was forced into retirement on lap 32 as a precautionary measure. Carlos was able to push to the chequered flag with his two-stop strategy, but he eventually fell short of the points.
“It was a shame to retire from the race, but the difficult call was made to stop due to excessive engine temperatures. These aren’t healthy for the Power Unit, so it wasn’t worth the risk carrying on. It’s disappointing as I was on a reverse strategy and that would have meant fresher tyres at the end of the race. Other than that, it was fun racing Carlos out there on a couple of occasions. It was close, but we left each other enough room and it was all fair and square. We’ll reset for the finale in Abu Dhabi and we’ll be giving it our all.”
“We knew coming to Brazil would be a tough weekend and ultimately we weren’t quick enough for points today. We were able to gain three positions after another strong start and had some good, clean battles with Nico and other cars. When the race settled we kept pushing but we just didn’t have the pace so couldn’t make sufficient progress. I wanted more today, so let’s work for that in Abu Dhabi.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal
“After two good races it is disappointing to have a weekend like we experienced in Brazil. We struggled in qualifying and were unable to gain positions after the start. Neither car was able to harness our race pace which, although better than some of the cars ahead of us, was not sufficient to overtake them. We retired Nico as a precautionary measure due to excessive engine temperatures as we didn’t want to risk losing PU elements ahead of Abu Dhabi; there was little to lose from this approach given his position on track. We tried to make the most with Carlos, however it was insufficient to get us in the points today. This race has highlighted again that we do have a variation in our competitiveness which will be a focal point for the winter. Clearly we need to be more consistent looking to the seasons ahead.”
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport win fifth consecutive FIA Formula One Constructors’ World Championship!
Lewis Hamilton took his 72nd career victory today, his tenth of the 2018 season and second in Interlagos
That’s real history in the making for the team. 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. Today was such a tough race for me, but I really wanted to deliver and win this for the team. 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. I didn’t expect the Red Bulls to be in the race like that today, 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.
I’m really happy and proud to be part of this team. This is down to hard work by every single team member, both back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth as well as here at the race track – they really deserve this title! It’s usually only a few people who are in the spotlight all the time, but there are many, many hidden heroes in our team – thank you all! We kept everything together even under immense pressure, minimised our mistakes and did a great job developing the car – huge congratulations to everyone. The race today was a bit tricky; everything went as planned at the start and we could gain the lead at the beginning, but after that it got more difficult. In the first stint, I was struggling with overheating the tyres, in the second stint, I was struggling with blistering on the Mediums, so we had to stop a second time. I think we didn’t quite have the pace today. It was a slightly tougher race than I expected, I was a bit more optimistic before the race, but overall it is a great day for Mercedes.
We just wrote Championship history – but winning the fifth double World Championship feels so surreal. Who would have thought this would be possible when we embarked on this mission eight years ago? If anyone had mentioned this record back then, we would have told them they are crazy. And yet, here we are today, having just equalled the Ferrari record from the Schumacher years. It’s a great honour to represent Mercedes on the track and I can’t thank everyone enough for their great work, both here at the track and in Brackley and Brixworth, and also for the continued support from Daimler in Stuttgart and PETRONAS in Kuala Lumpur and Turin. None of this would have been possible without their contributions and without the hard work and the passion of everyone on the team. I had a conversation with Lewis on Sunday night in Mexico; he had just won his fifth world championship, but both of us were not fully satisfied – because our objective was to win both titles. That’s why he was fighting so hard today because he wanted to finish this on a high, win the race and win the constructors’ championship for the team. Valtteri had a trickier season than Lewis, but he has improved his performance this year and played a vital role for this championship success. Five consecutive titles – I’m immensely proud of this amazing achievement.
This is an amazing, amazing group of people built up over many years. The skill and the dedication in a sport that is famously complicated - to get all those ducks lined up in a row, not just once or twice but season after season – is just incredible. What was difficult about this season is that the opposition were that quick. We came to the races not knowing if we were going to win, not having any idea whether they were going to smash us. It ebbed and flowed all through the year. We thought we had them punched down so many times - only for them to bounce back up and give us a really tough time, and it’s still happening now. The fact that this year has been so desperately close shows that the difference between the teams is utterly tiny – and it was Lewis who made the difference for us this year. He keeps putting it on pole, in the races we can make mistakes and he’ll recover it by doing something unlikely on the track that no-one sees coming and he’s spent the whole year not making mistakes. He’s just the consummate racing driver. We’re very lucky with the driver partnership that we have. Valtteri had a lot of bad luck at the start of the year when he might have had some race wins and has not had the same success that Lewis has had. Valtteri has been stronger this year than he was last year, he’s been a brilliant team-mate to us all and a huge asset.
11 November 2018 - 21h41, by Olivier Ferret
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