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Mercedes cautious despite Hamilton’s Singapore ‘stardust’

Lewis Hamilton opened up a 40-point lead in the F1 drivers’ championship. © AFP / Roslan RAHMAN

SINGAPORE, Singapore, Sep 17Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said it was special to conquer “bogey track” Singapore but cautioned the F1 title race wasn’t over yet after Lewis Hamilton’s “stardust” propelled him to a potentially decisive 40-point lead over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton raced to a stunning pole position which he converted into a dominant victory — his fourth in five races — to leave Ferrari, who seem to have the faster car, again scratching their heads with just six grands prix to go.

Team principal Wolff said there was no mystery to Mercedes’ form, it was all down to sheer hard work back at the factory and the track.

“Singapore has been our bogey track for several years, so it is a special feeling to come here and win this race on pace,” Wolf told reporters after Hamilton’s pole-to-flag win and team-mate Valtteri Bottas’s fourth place gave them a 25-point lead over Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.

“The entire team has worked so hard to understand the car and take steps forward, especially since our defeat in Spa, and this result is an indication that our work is paying off.”

“It was a weekend of many parts: a stardust lap from Lewis in qualifying, a chess game of tyre management this evening, and some nervous moments with traffic and backmarkers during the race,” Wolff added.

Hamilton also paid tribute to “the guys back at the factory” when he spoke to reporters.

“We’re hitting the nail on the head with the balance of the car and really just eking out each little bit and each weekend we’ve got incredible communications,” said Englishman who is gunning for his fifth Formula One drivers’ world championship.

“I give quite long debriefs nowadays and we work to the point that we leave no stone unturned — there’s not a single stone unturned each weekend that we arrive and so it’s a real collective.

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“It’s just the strongest the team has ever been.”

Wolff warned they had to keep up the intensity to win both drivers’ and constructors’ championships this season, starting with the Russian Grand Prix in two weeks.

“From our side, we can be pleased with a very solid weekend,” he added. “We have leads in both championships, but they change nothing in the mindset of this team.

“We have six weekends to go and we know how quickly the situation can swing back against us. We will take it weekend by weekend, feet on the ground and determined to maximise our potential every time.”


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