Having won the hardest race of his life, Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton dedicated his victory to Mercedes team’s late Formula 1 Legend Niki Lauda. He wore a helmet designed in Lauda’s signature colors he and claimed to have been possessed by the late Austrian’s spirit.
Though Mercedes has admitted making a strategic error by putting Hamilton on medium tyres, they heaped praise on their driver for masterfully overcoming that mistake to win F1’s showpiece race.
As each member of the Mercedes staff wore a black armband to mark Lauda’s passing, team boss Toto Wolff said,” Only Lewis can drive like that, it was a drive-by a champion, for the champion!”
The five times world champion, who now has 77 career wins and a 17-point lead over teammate Valtteri Bottas in the championship had to hope for a miracle as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen filled his car’s mirrors. He was seen in agitated conversation with his trusted race engineer, Peter Bonnington as he was required to complete 67 laps on the medium tyres and with Verstappen on harder compound stalking his Mercedes.
At the end of the race, the drained out Hamilton told, “It was probably the most intense race I’ve ever had.”