Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says it’s a relief that the World Championship has been resolved after the tensions involved in managing an intra-team battle – while emphasising his disappointment that technical gremlins once again cropped up in Nico Rosberg’s car.
“First of all it’s a relief now,” he said. “Although we knew that we’d won the driver’s championship before, we knew that it was going to be a challenge in staying neutral, and balancing out between the drivers. For us it was a particular challenge, so now that it’s over, it’s a relief.
“But then there is also a bitter sweet feeling left. Lewis Hamilton won 11 races, he deserved to be World Champion, he had a really incredible season. He had downs, and many ups, and at the end he’s a worthy World Champion.
“The bitter part is we worked so hard in such a diligent way to make the car reliable to enable the boys to fight it out on track, and that we had the problem with Nico’s car is something which gives it a bitter taste, and I feel that we let him down a little bit. In hindsight you can say from a rational point of view at that stage it was already difficult to make it after he had that start.
“Nico not finishing for us is a personal drama, because we expected to give them two cars which made it to the end. Lewis not finishing, being in the lead of the championship and being in the lead of the race, would have been an even bigger drama. Nevertheless it doesn’t make it any more acceptable to see Nico’s car break down.”
Regarding the Hamilton/Rosberg relationship he said: “It will re-set a little bit over the winter and at the beginning of the season, before it gets competitive. It is very clear that if your team mate, the one in the same car, is your biggest competitor, your biggest enemy, that it’s getting tense.
“I have no doubt that we will have similar situations and similar challenges next year again between the two. Anything else wouldn’t be normal. It’s just that we maintain it on the current levels of professionalism and respect.”