Mercedes celebrated making Formula 1 history as the “special” six-time world champions underlined their status as the undisputed kings of the sport’s current era.
Valtteri Bottas’ emphatic victory at Suzuka and Lewis Hamilton’s third-place finish — plus bonus point for fastest lap — meant Mercedes wrapped up the 2019 constructors’ championship at the first opportunity, despite Ferrari having locked out the grid’s front row earlier on Sunday morning.
Not only did the result tie Ferrari’s record for the most consecutive constructors’ championship — six in a row — it also meant that only Hamilton or Bottas can now mathematically finish the year as the world drivers’ champion.
Mercedes are therefore assured of becoming the first team to win six drivers’ and constructors’ doubles in succession, eclipsing the record of five they have shared with Ferrari (2000-2004) since last year.
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“It feels good,” said team principal Toto Wolff to Sky Sports F1.
“When we embarked in the journey six or seven years ago we wanted to win races more regularly and fight for the championship and, six years later, it’s the sixth championship in a row.
“I feel so happy for everyone that was involved. Lots of hard work behind the scenes, lots of painful moments also, but the team was always able to pick themselves up.”
Mercedes dedicate triumph to Lauda
Dedicating the success to Niki Lauda, the team’s much-loved non-executive chairman who passed away in May, Wolff said that the F1 legend had “been such an important part from the beginning, and we all miss him dearly”.
Lauda joined the Brackley team several months before Wolff in 2012, when the prospect of such record-breaking and sustained success was barely conceivable after one victory in three seasons. But the Austrian three-time world champion played a key role in enticing Hamilton to join them from then-serial winners McLaren and, once the new hybrid turbo engine regulations dawned in 2014, Mercedes have not looked back.
“Joining them in 2013, with just the utter belief that we will do something special, it’s kind of crazy to see it coming to fruition, all the hard work,” said Hamilton, who now leads Bottas by 64 points this year and will have his first chance to become a six-time champion in Mexico next time out.
“Naturally, when I met everyone in 2013, just seeing how dedicated they were there, and it still remains the same.
“Even though we have the success each year, they’re hungry, they’re driven, they’re excited that they have Valtteri and I in the car and they give absolutely everything. And I love that, and it really inspires me to go out there and drive the way that I do, the way that we do throughout the weekend.”
Hamilton added to Sky F1: “So much hard work over the year and for these past seven years. This team has done an incredible job in constantly elevating and levelling up every year. I’m really proud to have been able to contribute and do my part, I hope everyone is having some champagne today.”
Bottas, who has now won three constructors’ titles with the team, said: “We don’t really realise it yet what we have done. We are making history in this sport — that’s very cool.”
The Silver Arrows’ golden numbers
Mercedes: The kings of the hybrid era
Wins: 86 (74%)
Poles: 92 (79%)
Races on podium: 102 (87%)
Constructors’ Championships: 6
Drivers’ Championships: 6
Most consecutive F1 title doubles
1. Mercedes, 6 (2014-2019)
2. Ferrari, 5 (2000-2004)
3. McLaren, 4 (1988-1991)
3. Red Bull, 4 (2010-2013)