Lewis Hamilton says he is 'excited' by the prospect of spearheading Mercedes' attempts for a fourth Formula 1 World Championship title in 2017 after the manufacturer sealed a third consecutive constructors' crown in the Japanese Grand Prix.
A win for Nico Rosberg and third for Hamilton in Suzuka over the weekend was enough to put the constructors' title out of Red Bull Racing's reach with four races of the season remaining.
In what has been another dominant campaign by Mercedes, the title marks a third consecutive victory for the firm. In the 55 races since the current V6 Hybrid era was introduced, Mercedes has won 47 of them.
Though the drivers' title battle could yet go down to the wire between Hamilton and Rosberg, the defending champion was at least proud to play his part in ensuring Mercedes maintains its spectacular dominance of the sport.
“What a joy it's been, being part of this team. I'm incredibly proud to drive the cars that all of these guys and girls have built. Each of the past three years, Nico and I have without doubt had not just the best cars on the grid but the best cars we've ever driven. We owe all of them so much. As drivers, we're just one small link in the chain.
“All the hard work everyone has put in to get us where we are is just remarkable. As a racing driver, this is what we dream of having - the beasts that they've built. Knowing that, every time you get behind the wheel during a race weekend, you've got a car capable of taking the fight to teams like Ferrari and Red Bull. And, more than that, knowing that everything this team has created gives you the chance to extract the maximum from your own abilities... there's no greater feeling.
“I'm so proud of each and every one of them and proud to be a part of this incredible journey with them. It's humbling to represent them all out there on track and I'm excited about going for a fourth together next year and hopefully many more beyond that. But, for now, it's important that we all cherish this moment because together we have created history.
“In decades to come, we'll all look back on these days and remember how incredible they were. A big thank you to everyone once again. We're going to continue to push on track as I'm sure everyone will back here at the factories too. “
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