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      Teammates, rivals on Hamilton’s fifth title: ‘This is the best Lewis Hamilton that I have seen’

      © Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

      Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff:
      “This is the best Lewis Hamilton that I have seen in the last six years. He has driven better, and he has been better out of the car. He was very complete. He has been the differentiator.

      “Usually, we don’t acknowledge greatness until someone’s career is over, but we need to take a moment to recognise its presence – Lewis has now equalled [Juan Manuel] Fangio’s record and there aren’t many like him out there! Lewis has been the differentiator this season – our car was the fastest at times, but not always; sometimes, like today, it was only the third-fastest. And yet Lewis’ performance was always very stable, his race craft was absolutely great. It has always been one of his strengths, but this year it was definitely one of the key factors of his success. We’re very happy about Lewis’ fifth drivers’ title and our fifth in a row as a team, but the job is not done yet.”

      © Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG

      Wolff on Hamilton’s future:
      “I think if he is motivated and enjoys what he is doing, he can go on for many more years. As long as we can provide a car with which he can win a Championship and he continues to drive like he does, this can be a relationship forever. But the reason why he has won that fifth Championship is that he concentrates on the job in hand and doesn’t look too far away. Because before reaching seven, there is a sixth to win, and we haven’t scored a single point towards that one yet. I think you can only count records once you close the book, and I don’t see us closing the book at the moment. We enjoy what we do, and that is why I am not looking at this. I remember, when I was much younger, following Ferrari in the years they dominated in the 2000s. They were the benchmark for many years. We are on a similar trajectory, but we are not there yet. That’s why these objectives keep motivating us.”

      Wolff on the characteristics of great champions:
      “I think it is an ability to combine talent with hard work, intellect and emotional intelligence. All great Champions have all four of these abilities. If one is missing, you can still be a successful racing driver, but you are never going to achieve this greatness. One of his great character traits is that Lewis always concentrates on today. I think he has strong values that his life has taught him, and he sticks to those values even on difficult days. … I don’t think he wants to finish the 2018 season just holding on by his fingertips but to finish with good momentum.”

      © Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

      Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas:
      “He really deserves this title. It was another strong season for him, especially the second half. Obviously, he has done great things in Formula One so far, and he still has much more time ahead of him. He’s had a great year overall and not many setbacks. When I lost my opportunity for the title this year, I tried to help him a little to win the World Championship, but now I’m already looking forward to the fight again next year. Now we need to make sure to keep pushing and clinch the Constructors’ Championship as well!”

      More from Wolff and Bottas from Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.

      © Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG

      Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel:
      “Congratulations to Lewis and his team. They did a superb job all year. We need to stand here, accept that and say congratulations. Obviously we would have loved to have hung on in there for longer, but it wasn’t the case. …  I told him it was well deserved and to enjoy it. Number five, I think it’s something incredible. He drove superbly all year. He was the better one of us two. So I mainly congratulated him and asked him to keep pushing for next year and said I’ll do my best to fight him again. … There can only be one winner and I think he is the one that deserves it this year.”