Toto Wolff says 2019 was a season of three distinct parts for Mercedes as it charged to a sixth straight set of Formula 1 world championships, breaking Ferrari’s record.

Mercedes appeared to enter the season as underdogs after Ferrari’s impressive showing in pre-season testing, only to turn the tables around with one-two finishes in the first five races.

Mercedes won 10 of the opening 12 races of the year, only to then go on a three-race drought following the summer break.

But both titles were sewn up early as a late return to form saw the team win five of the final six rounds, with Lewis Hamilton clinching the drivers' title at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Recapping Mercedes’ season, team principal Wolff said it could be broken down into three parts – albeit all overshadowed by the death of non-executive director Niki Lauda.

“The overwhelming thing in the season was obviously Niki passing. That is kind of a shadow over the whole season,” Wolff said.

“But from a performance standpoint, I would put it into three parts. The first one, we really did well in the beginning. We were really competitive.

“Then after the summer, not, and then we kind of recovered and didn’t drop the ball, and our competition did. This made us win the championship.”

The closing stages of the year saw both Red Bull and Ferrari emerge as a more regular threat to Mercedes, leaving Wolff under no illusions of the challenge the team would face in 2020.

Asked if Red Bull would be a credible threat, Wolff replied: “Definitely.

“You can see how fast they are now, and how much Honda has improved, they’re on the level, and Ferrari anyway.

“So onto the next one.”

 

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