The Mercedes Formula 1 team has dedicated winning its sixth consecutive constructors’ world championship at the Japanese Grand Prix to the late Niki Lauda.

Three-time world champion Lauda played an instrumental role at Mercedes as the German manufacturer’s non-executive chairman between 2012 and until his death earlier this year, having overseen all of the team’s previous title triumphs throughout the V6 hybrid era.

Victory for Valtteri Bottas and a third-place finish for Lewis Hamilton was enough for Mercedes to seal the 2019 constructors’ time at Suzuka, as the team equalled Ferrari’s record of six straight titles from 1999-2004.

“I think we want to dedicate this to Niki because he’s just been such an important part from the beginning of the journey,” Wolff told Sky Sports.

“His sheer presence was always so important and the mixture between support and pressure, he was just a very special person.

“Niki would’ve said ‘congratulations for the sixth one so you have a problem for next year!’ and then we would’ve flown back together and we would stumble something around ‘he hasn’t got any friends but I am a half friend’.”

Mercedes is now guaranteed to become the first team in F1 history to clinch six successive world championship doubles, with the drivers’ title race now an exclusive battle between Hamilton and Bottas.

Asked where this title ranks in comparison to Mercedes’ previous achievements in a separate media call, Wolff replied: “Each of the championships felt very special for different reasons.

“This one again, is so special because it’s not always easy to reinvent yourself at the beginning of the year and set objectives that motivate everybody – and then embark on the long season.

“Niki is being missed, and therefore the sixth one, beating the record that was set by Ferrari 15 years ago, is extremely special.

“I’m not able to get it yet, we had a difficult qualifying this morning, and we are eager to do well that this non-performance sits in our bones. Probably it’s going to sink in overnight flying back to Europe.

“It would not do it justice to come up with a 30-second answer, but if I were to sum it up, it’s the people, the group of people that are working on the project each giving it all,” he added.

“They are playing the best game in their respective position and the strength of the pack has made us win these championships.”

Race-winner Bottas said: “I’m really proud to be part of the team.

“A sixth title in a row is so impressive, so I’m very proud of the race team and also those in the factory, so well done guys and girls.

While Hamilton, who remains in pole position to land his sixth drivers’ crown with a 66-point advantage over Bottas, added: “Congratulations to the team.

“It’s so well deserved to win six years in a row. I just wanted to get the best points for the team today.”

 

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