Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has warned his team the job isn’t done as the constructors’ championship remains up for grabs with two races remaining.
Lewis Hamilton secured his fifth drivers’ title at the Mexican Grand Prix, but it came courtesy of a fourth place as Mercedes struggled at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. With Valtteri Bottas finishing one place behind his teammate and Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen on the podium, Ferrari closed the gap at the top of the constructors’ standings to 55 points with a maximum of 86 still available.
“The job is not done yet,” Wolff said. “Obviously we are very happy about this fifth drivers’ championship, because this is the most visible and the most important championship. But there’s a constructors’ championship still out there that we want to secure and win, and it’s not easy as we could see (in Mexico).
“I think you can only count records once you close the book. I don’t see us closing the book at the moment. We enjoy what we do and that’s why I’m not looking at this at the moment.”
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With Ferrari having had a quicker car on a number of occasions this season, Wolff rates the 2018 season as the toughest battle Mercedes has faced regardless of the final outcome.
“They’re all very different … but this one is most definitely the hardest because it swung so many times. There was the 2016 season where we won 19 out of 21 races and that was nice and enjoyable, less stressful, but there was also the risk of (complacency) that really motivated us to be the first team that wins the championship after regulation changes. We did it, and this one was gloves off to fight all year.”
Vettel won last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix with Raikkonen in third place, and the pair have ensured Ferrari has outscored Mercedes by 23 points over the past two rounds, something that Scuderia team principal Maurizio Arrivabene is using as motivation for the remainder of the year.
“Thanks to the efforts of the team, both at the track and back in Maranello, the constructors’ championship is still undecided and the team has closed the points gap over the past two races,” Arrivabene said. “We are therefore determined to fight all the way to the finish, starting with the next GP in Brazil.”
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ABOUT CHRIS MEDLAND
While studying Sports Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, Chris managed to talk his way into working at the British Grand Prix in 2008 and was retained for three years before joining ESPN F1 as Assistant Editor. After three years at ESPN, a spell as F1 Editor at Crash Media Group was followed by the major task of launching F1i.com’s English-language website and running it as Editor. Present at every race since the start of 2014, he has continued building his freelance portfolio, working with international titles. As well as writing for RACER, he contributes to BBC 5Live and Sky Sports in the UK as well as working with titles in Japan and the Middle East.