SAO PAULO (AP) Mercedes already owns the Formula One constructor title for one of the most dominant seasons in history. Next week, it will also own the champion driver.
Mercedes is guaranteed to win the drivers’ title in the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi thanks to Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. One of them will add to the constructors’ championship won with three races to spare, and to a stack of records.
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– Most 1-2 finishes in a season, surpassing McLaren in 1988
– Most podiums in a season, surpassing Ferrari in 2004
– Matching most wins in a year, with McLaren in 1988, and Ferrari in 2002, 2004.
”Numbers like 11 one-two finishes, 15 wins, and 30 podiums in a season make me incredibly proud of my colleagues, and humble at what we have achieved together,” says Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes motorsports.
The records came at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, when the team, as so often has happened this year, left the rest of the grid fighting for third place.
With Abu Dhabi to come on Nov. 23, more records could fall.
Mercedes can match the mark of 18 pole positions in a year set by Red Bull in 2011, and tie the standard of 12 front-row lockouts set by McLaren in 1998.
”Absolutely incredible,” Hamilton says. ”We’ve broken a couple of records and it’s just an unbelievable job by the team. Ultimately, the car has been the best car I’ve ever driven, so big thank you to all the guys at the factory.”
Hamilton has 11 wins this season, and a 17-point lead with 50 still available in Abu Dhabi, which will be worth double points. He can secure his second world title with a second-place finish. Rosberg won his fifth race of the year at the Brazilian GP to keep his title hopes alive.
”It’s fantastic,” Rosberg says. ”The team is doing such an awesome job, all-in-all. Just keeping on pushing. It’s so great to be a part of that movement. And you can feel it in the team. Everybody is really, really pumped, and just fully head-down focused all the way.”
Mercedes has put at least one driver on the podium in all 18 races, and started from the pole in all but one grand prix, when Felipe Massa was quickest in Austria in June. The team’s worst position by a driver finishing a race was fourth by Rosberg in Hungary in July. The team has five retirements this season.
Mercedes made a long-awaited return as a constructor in 2010, taking over the Brawn GP team. Back in F1 for the first time since 1955, the team steadily improved year after year until coming up with the dominant car this season, taking advantage of the introduction of sweeping new rules in the series.
”It is an incredible achievement to score our 11th one-two finish of the season and to write a line in the history books of the sport,” says Paddy Lowe, the team’s technical executive director.
”1988 was my first season in Formula One and that year saw records set that I thought would never be broken. It is hard now to get my head round the fact that we have set a new benchmark. That is a real tribute to the achievements of the team.”