Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has revealed that after Lewis Hamilton was defeated by Nico Rosberg in the 2016 Formula 1 world title battle, the Briton took stock over the winter and returned a different person, as a result the world championship leader has no discernible weaknesses as he targets his fourth title.
Speaking to Sky Sport after watching Hamilton win the Japanese Grand Prix, his eighth win of the season, Wolff said, “It’s almost inspiring the way the drivers develop and look at their weaknesses and try to improve them, out of the car and within the car.”
“Lewis has analysed what went wrong over the winter, came back as a completely different person and since then we haven’t had a moment where we saw any weakness.”
The victory at Suzuka increased Hamilton’s championship lead to 59 points, with four rounds remaining, over Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel but like the driver Wolff is taking nothing for granted.
He explained, “If four races ago I told you that Sebastian was going to DNF two times and not score well, we would have said that’s almost impossible. This is motor racing. you have a DNF or two and suddenly the whole thing swings around.”
“One look at the points standings might give us some brief comfort but there are still four races to go, 100 points to win in the drivers’ title and, if the past weeks have shown us anything at all, it’s that anything can happen in motorsport.”
“We take no prisoners in how we claim our points – but we are all conscious that we have benefited from our rivals’ misfortune and reliability woes in recent weeks.”
“So nothing changes in our approach: we must take the next races one at a time, push to better understand the car and keep our humble attitude. That is the approach that has worked for us so far and the way we will continue until the final race in Abu Dhabi,” added Wolff.
Despite the caution Mercedes are likely to wrap up the constructors’ championship, a fourth in row, in Austin while Hamilton needs only to score 16 points more than Vettel on 22 October to claim his fourth drivers’ world title.