Mercedes had a lot of “mental stress” due to Ferrari and Red Bull’s progress in 2018, the team’s boss Toto Wolff revealed.
The German outfit has won all the drivers’ and constructors’ titles in F1 ever since the turbo-hybrid engine was introduced in 2014.
But the path to Mercedes success was not so easy. Ferrari had its strongest season in a decade and Red Bull started to pose a serious threat to race wins towards the end of the season.
But the Silver Arrows still managed to clinch the constructor’s title and Wolff received the John Bolster Award for successfully steering the team through the last five years.
“It was never clear whether the car or our team was good enough, and then we had a winning streak again over two or three races, and then Ferrari came back.
“At the end of the season, it was Red Bull suddenly. It was from the mental stress, in addition to the physical stress, [that meant] it was a very difficult season.”
Mercedes realises things will not get any easier next year as they may also have to fight with Red Bull for the race wins.
The upcoming aerodynamic rule change may probably bring more rivals to the title fight, especially if they find a loophole in the regulations, he added.
“Even more teams could be in the mix because the regulations are completely new and somebody could have found a loophole as Ross Brawn did in 2009 [with the double-diffuser],” said Wolff.
“You never know. It’s always good mixing up the grid. I hope the regulations make overtaking easier and we shall see the result in a few months.”
Hamilton won the British Competition Driver and International Racing Driver in the Pirelli Autosport Awards and Mercedes W09 won the Racing Car of the Year award.