Departing Zetsche 'deserves all the credit' for Mercedes success

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Team boss Toto Wolff has hailed the role of Daimler CEO Deiter Zetsche in Mercedes' success in Formula 1.

The longtime head of the German manufacturer's parent company will step down later this month and was in Barcelona to witness one last dominant victory in his role.

Indeed, Mercedes enjoyed perhaps their most commanding performance of the season so far as Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas proved untouchable in Spain.

And Wolff praised the belief shown by Zetsche that allowed the team to become the force it is.

"There are not many CEOs that have empowered a group of people like you did," the Austrian said in his presence post-race.

"Leaving us on the long leash, letting us represent this fantastic brand. We did it with pride and with great responsibility.

"You went through a storm in 2010, 11 and '12 when the car was going backwards and even in '13, it was not always great.

"And you stuck to Formula 1 as a CEO of Daimler like no other corporate has ever done, and now we are harvesting this and it's great to see you up there.

"You deserve all the credit. You have built the structure."

Hamilton also added his tribute, with the Briton associated with the brand throughout his racing career.

"He’s been a massive supporter of mine since I was 13," he recalled. "He was there in the decision-making process of taking me on as a kid when I started and went to McLaren.

"He was part of the decision-making process of when I got a Formula 1 drive in 2007, and then joining this team again, and then every year on from then when we had to re-sign.

"This is his last race with us, and I just want to say a big thank you to him."

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As for Mercedes' domination, which now sees them a massive 96 points clear of Ferrari in the Constructors' standings, Wolff still believes their rivals pose a threat.

“Both teams [Ferrari and Red Bull] have the right resources and have the tools that could easily make them rebound," he was quoted by the Daily Express.

“We’ve seen a weekend in Barcelona now that was probably one of the strongest we’ve had in seven years but we are swinging a little bit with the news.

“If we have a strong weekend from Ferrari in Monaco everybody will write and say this stops Mercedes and is this the end of the Mercedes dominance this year."