Lewis Hamilton took his 72nd career victory today, his tenth of the 2018 season and second in Interlagos. Valtteri set the fastest lap of the race – his tenth fastest lap in Formula One – and finished the race in P5.
Today’s result marks the 50th win of the hybrid era for Lewis, which means that he won more than 50 percent of the 99 races since 2014. The result also marks the tenth win for the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+, a championship-winning car that has now earned its designation as a true Silver Arrow.
Lewis (383 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 81 points from Sebastian Vettel (302 points), with Valtteri (237 points) in P4. Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (620 points) lead Ferrari (553 points) by 67 points in the Constructors’ Championship – an unassailable lead with 43 points still to be scored in the 2018 season.
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director, accepted the Constructors’ trophy on behalf of the team.
Lewis Hamilton: 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.
Valtteri Bottas: 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.
Toto Wolff: 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.
James Allison: 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.