Bottas wins in Japan to help Mercedes ensure sixth successive double World titles

Monday, Oct 14th 2019, 6:23 am | Category: Formula One

Mercedes made Formula 1 history on Sunday after being crowned constructors’ World champions for the sixth straight season, following the brilliant victory of Valtteri Bottas in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzaka International Racing Course.

Bottas and teammate Lewis Hamilton are the only two drivers who can still win this year’s drivers' World title, securing for them the individual accolade for the sixth year in a row as well -- making Mercedes the first team in F1 history to win both championships for six successive years.

Bottas was third on the grid behind Ferrari pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel, but a blistering start that saw him launch right into first place when the lights went out helped him secure the well-deserved race victory.



With the result, Bottas claimed the sixth win of his F1 career, his third of the 2019 season and first in Japan. It was also the 100th points finish for Bottas.

Mercedes secured their constructors’ crown with four races still to go. With Hamilton finishing third, they improved to 312 points – 177 clear of their closest rivals Ferrari.

Bottas commented of his title-clinching victory: “Six double championships -- every single team member at the race track and in the factories can be incredibly proud of this achievement! A big thank you to all of you.



“I think we don't quite realise yet what an amazing achievement this is, but we're making history in this sport. We've had a really good season so far and managed to make the most of our opportunities, especially in the beginning of the season. It's amazing to think that we've just done something that's never been done before - what a great day for all of us!”

Hamilton added: “I'm so happy for the team -- what a great result! Six consecutive double titles is an amazing achievement that has taken a long time and a lot of hard work. It just shows the strength and depth through and through for the team and I'm incredibly proud to be a part of Mercedes history.”

Team principal Toto Wolff said: “We never thought this would be possible and I'm incredibly happy for everybody who has been a part of this journey. It's not always been easy, the entire team put in a lot of hard work and we had our fair share of painful moments, but we were always able to pick ourselves up.”



Following Bottas’s lightning-quick start, he did well to keep his advantage until the chequered flag, which he took in a total time of 1hr 21mins 46.755secs.
Vettel had to settle for the runner-up spot and was fortunate not to have been penalised after having moved forward in his position box before the red lights went out at the start, which forced him to stop and go again and give Bottas enough room to pass.

Vettel then had to stave off a hard-charging Hamilton towards the end of the race. They finished just over five-tenths of a second apart, with Vettel being classified 13.343s from Bottas and Hamilton 13.858s back.



The top three were well ahead of the rest of the field. Alexander Albon continued to impress with Red Bull Racing by taking fourth, while Carlos Sainz was fifth for McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo sixth for Renault.

Charles Leclerc had a pair of post-race penalties and was demoted to seventh after starting on the front row alongside teammate Vettel. Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso was eighth, Sergio Perez of Racing Point ninth, and Nico Hulkenberg of Renault 10th.

Hamilton won an extra point after clocking the race’s fastest lap of 1min 30.983secs. It was Hamilton’s fourth fastest lap at the Japanese Grand Prix, equalling Michael Schumacher's record for the most fastest laps in Japan

Bottas added about the race: “I had an excellent start today, one of the best ones in my career, and managed to take the lead in the very beginning. We expected our car to be quick in the race, but it's really tricky to overtake on this track, so we knew that we'd have to try and take the lead at the start and I'm very glad it all worked out.



“I really enjoyed the race afterwards; the car felt really good and our upgrades worked well. Suzuka has always been my favourite track even though I've never been particularly strong here - but now I like this track even more.

“It's been a while since my last victory, I missed that winning feeling and I'm very happy and proud to have won the race that secured us the Constructors' Championship.”

In the drivers’ championship standings, Hamilton (338 points) leads by 64 points from Bottas (274 points), with Leclerc (221) a further 53 points behind.

The F1 season resumes with the Mexican Grand Prix on October 27.

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