Abu Dhabi: Will Mercedes and their two drivers take it easy or would they be eager to sign off the 2019 season on a winning note is what is topmost on the minds of the motorsport fraternity this week.
Heading into the final weekend of the 2019 Formula One season that concludes with the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit has so far been a happy hunting ground for Mercedes.
Since the start of the hybrid era in 2014, the team have won on each occasion that Abu Dhabi has hosted the race, and on three of them, it was a Mercedes one-two finish (from 2015 to 2017).
It gets even better for the Brackley-based Silver Arrows as three of these victories have been secured by Lewis Hamilton (2014, 2016 and 2018) and one each by Nico Rosberg (2015) and Valtteri Bottas (2017).
“Perhaps, I would rate the team performance to a six out of 10. And that’s just because we’ve not been perfect in rounding off and delivering in some of the races at least,” Hamilton said on Thursday.
“Technically, each season is the same each year with each team going through some super-high targets. Perhaps, next season will be different, not just for us but for the other teams too. On our behalf, we just need to focus and get the job done in the most perfect manner.”
The pole positions have also been monopolised by the Silver Arrows with Rosberg (2014, 2015) and Hamilton (2016, 2018) each starting twice from pole and Bottas (2017) having the honour once.
Hamilton’s haul of four winner’s trophies makes him the most successful driver under the floodlights of Yas Marina. He registered his first win here with McLaren to conclude the 2011 season. Hamilton also holds the distinction of being the most successful qualifier in Abu Dhabi with four pole positions (2009 and 2012 with McLaren and 2016 and 2018 with Mercedes).
Hamilton has won 10 of the 20 races this season, while teammate Bottas has been second best with four wins against his name. “Yes, this has been an incredible season and one gets the feeling that it’s been long. We are proud as a team to stay closely-knit with the job we have done so far,” Hamilton said.
“The great thing now would be to see how to do things better heading into the 2020 season. We all know there will be obstacles ahead, but we still need to strive for perfection. The good thing once again is that we are prepared to face all of this.”
In terms of podium appearances, Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are level with seven each. What remains to be seen now is if it will be Mercedes or Ferrari when yet another season concludes on Sunday. “It’s not always a great thing to reflect on how the season has gone. Perhaps, we can say that Hockenheim (German Grand Prix) and Monaco Grand Prix are the two least memorable races for us. But then to balance this out we have Mexico, France and Hungary to smile about. The main thing would be to look at the good and take the positives away rather than think about what could have been at the various weekends,” Hamilton said. “Perhaps, that gives us a chance to put some things right this weekend.”