Mercedes heads into the 2019 Formula 1 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a “point to prove” after underperforming in Brazil, according to team boss Toto Wolff.

Mercedes endured a tough weekend in Interlagos last time out as Valtteri Bottas retired with an engine issue, while teammate and newly-crowned six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton dropped from third to seventh after being penalised for hitting Alexander Albon late on.

Adding to the disappointing result, Mercedes struggled to match the engine performance of its closest rivals in Brazil, with Honda recording its first one-two finish in 28 years as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen led home Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso.

Wolff, who was absent from a grand prix weekend for the first time since 2013 in Sao Paulo, said Mercedes has added motivation heading into this weekend’s season finale.

“Brazil was a disappointing race for us; we did not have the fastest car on track and we lost a lot of points owing to our own mistakes,” Wolff said.

“We analysed what went wrong, both in terms of our reliability and our decisions during the race, to make sure we don't repeat them.

“It was a good learning experience for the entire team and something that will make us stronger in the long run.

“The underperformance in Brazil means we head to Abu Dhabi with a point to prove. Yas Marina has been a good circuit for us in the last years and we'll push hard to continue in the same way.

“The race is one last opportunity for us to add another victory to the record of the W10 and it's one more chance to put on a great show for the fans before the winter break.

“We're looking forward to the fight because we know that in Formula 1, you're only as good as your last result.”

Wolff said that the deaths of former FIA race director Charlie Whiting, ex-Mercedes non executive chairman Niki Lauda, Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert and a Mercedes team member, added to a “rollercoaster” of a year for the German squad.

“This season has been a real rollercoaster for us,” Wolff explained.

“We’ve seen great on-track battles and we've loved the competition.

“We are very proud that we came out on top and managed to put the Mercedes name in the history books of Formula 1 with our sixth consecutive double title.

“On the other hand, it's been an incredibly hard year where we had to say goodbye to too many friends.

“We were hit hard by the passing of Charlie [Whiting], Niki [Lauda] and Anthoine [Hubert], as well as important members from our team who we have tragically lost this year.

“At Mercedes, Niki left a void that we will never be able to replace - as a source of inspiration, as a voice of reason, but most importantly as a great friend. We hope we did you proud, Niki.”

 

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