Lewis Hamilton feels Mercedes reliability gives him the platform to use his speed to beat Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari which he accepts is likely to be the deciding factor in the 2017 Formula 1 world championship.

The Mercedes driver stretched his advantage to 59 points in the championship standings thanks to victory at the Japanese Grand Prix coupled with Vettel’s retirement due to a broken spark plug on his Ferrari.

After pouring credit on his Mercedes team for its reliability and procedure changes which he felt were hampering car performance during recent races, Hamilton says the German manufacturer’s impressive record of seeing cars to the chequered flag has been a foundation to its F1 domination in the V6 hybrid engine era.

“I was excited actually to have a good race with Sebastian here, as I was in the last race, but he’s obviously been incredibly unfortunate,” Hamilton said. “In Formula One today it is a lot about reliability, it is about the team’s whole performance, not just speed on the track, and I think the team has shown, through and through for many years that we have a very, very solid platform. The guys do such a phenomenal job with how they build the car, in terms of reliability.

“Mercedes are the real leaders in that area and so I really owe it to everyone back at the factory for providing me with a car that I can utilise and use my abilities in. So, big thank you to everyone back at the factory.”

Despite his praise Hamilton also gave a reminder that Mercedes must finish the job to seal the F1 world titles in the final four races of the season. Hamilton and Mercedes can mathematically wrap up both the drivers’ and constructors’ world championship in the United States Grand Prix if both cars finish in the top four, while Hamilton needs to win in Austin and see Vettel finish sixth or lower.

“There’s still a long way to go,” he said. “100 points is a lot of points. Anything can happen in life. I’ve just got to try and keep my head down and hopefully continue to perform like this – but I feel very, very fortunate and really blessed and enjoying the experience.”


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