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Mercedes praise Ferrari for 'gloves-off' fight throughout 2018

Written by  Oct 31, 2018

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has praised Ferrari for their "gloves off" battle for the championship this season.

The two manufacturers have enjoyed a back and forth fight for much of 2018 with the Scuderia holding the advantage for much of the year before Lewis Hamilton and the Brackley-based squad seized the initiative post-Hockenheim.

Mercedes' pace combined with errors by Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel allowed Hamilton to go and claim a fifth Formula 1 championship last weekend in Mexico but Wolff admits even with that secured, the fight continues.

“We have enjoyed the competition and I also enjoy not being sure whether it is good enough what we are doing,” he explained. “The setbacks make the good days even sweeter.

“We won 19 out of the 21 races in 2016. That was nice and enjoyable, less stressful but there is also the risk of complacency setting in.

“Then the regulations changed and that really motivated us to be the first team to win a championship after a rule change, and we did it.

“This year was a gloves-off fight all year.”

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Wolff did admit the "job was not done" as a fifth straight constructors' championship remains in the balance although Mercedes has a 55-point lead with two races to go.

And despite the disappointment of losing the title in Mexico, Liberty motorsport boss Ross Brawn has told Ferrari to maintain focus and stay on their current path.

“Ferrari and Vettel must start over from here, by understanding what went wrong and improving on it, without panic, and without knee-jerk reactions,” he said.

“In just two seasons, Ferrari has once more become a contender for titles, something that seemed difficult to imagine at the start of this hybrid era, given Mercedes undoubted power advantage.

“Now Ferrari has to move forward, without throwing any babies out with the bathwater."

And on Mercedes, the former team boss once again compared Hamilton to Schumacher for the manner in which he claimed the title.

“To take the title with two races remaining is very impressive, with Lewis supported by an equally brilliant team," he said.

“If I had to choose one characteristic that makes Lewis special, it’s his ability to win so many races in which he wasn’t the favourite, as we saw several times this year – in Hockenheim, Budapest and Monza to name but a few.

"It’s a characteristic he shares with the only driver to have won more titles than him – Michael Schumacher.

“Lewis was already part of F1's history and now he is truly a legend of the sport. Well done indeed!”

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