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    INSIGHT: How the Title Was Won... What a year, what a battle,...

What a year, what a battle, what a result! The story of our greatest journey yet...

"This is down to the hard work of every single team member, both at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth as well as at the race track.

"It's usually only a few people who are in the spotlight all the time, but there are many, many hidden heroes in our team. We have been able to keep it together and push the limits of the sport and of ourselves, even under immense pressure."

Valtteri's words after the Brazilian Grand Prix sum up the crucial ingredients to success in Formula One: hard work, passion, unity and a hunger to continue breaking boundaries - even under the intense pressure one of the most intense title battles yet.

It's a cheesy cliché, but 2018 has most definitely been a rollercoaster ride. Incredible highs, crushing lows and a whole lot of determination to end the year at the top of the standings. We've faced formidable opponents, but we've relished the fight and take even more pride in the outcome because of it.

"It was our most difficult Championship to date, and that's why the relief now is the most I've ever felt," Toto admitted. "This year, I think you could see there were phases where we seemed to have the upper hand - but then it was Ferrari again and, towards the end, Red Bull joined the club.

"This is why this Championship feels the best. Because we had a hell of a fight on our hands throughout the season with Ferrari - a fantastic team and an amazing brand. Being able to win a fifth consecutive Championship is something we wouldn't have dreamt of six years ago.

"In our wildest dreams, that wouldn't have come to my mind. Equalling a Ferrari record that seemed unachievable is something that makes me feel so grateful and fortunate to be in this team."

That record? The most consecutive F1 Championship doubles. And it's only the second time more than four Constructors' titles have been won in a row too, with Ferrari's record of six back-to-back crowns between 1999 - 2004 remaining the benchmark.

The graft that made this dream a reality is clear to see - not just in the spotlight at the racetrack, but back in the humble surroundings of Brackley and Brixworth. From the cleaners making sure the factories are spotless to the NDT Technicians inspecting the parts, the Design Engineers constantly searching for new developments and everyone in between, every single team member holds the same values and goals.

And yet, there remains a sense of disbelief at what we've achieved together. There's not a man or woman you could find at either factory who would have dared to imagine that we'd be ending the 2018 season with five titles in both World Championships. It's a bit surreal, really, and it'll take quite some time to properly sink in.

2018 has been the most intense and ferocious battle we've had in the Hybrid F1 era, with the pecking order at the front of the field ebbing and flowing from each race weekend and the pace setters changing at each track. Some would suit our silver beauty, the W09, while others would favour Ferrari's super-quick stallion or the charging Red Bull.

The first race of the season showcased how topsy-turvy this year was going to be - not only for us, but the teams fighting for every position on the grid. We were quick in Australia - but our handling of the Safety Car denied us victory, and that was a tough way to kick off the season.

One of the greatest traits in this team is the ability to step back, analyse, learn, improve and move forward. It's a constant cycle, even on good weekends - but it's the toughest times where you learn the most, and we certainly had our fair share of those this year.

China was another tricky race, where Valtteri missed out on a potential victory, swiftly followed by another near miss for the Finn in Bahrain. Then came Baku... a true weekend of mixed emotions for the team. It was incredibly close at the front of the pack and, while Lewis claimed our first triumph of 2018, there was also the immense pain felt for Valtteri, when a puncture stole victory from him right at the death.

Fortunately, Spain provided some tonic for the wounds. A commanding 1-2 at a track renowned for proving a car's worth... that felt pretty damn sweet. Monaco and Canada were both challenging weekends once again and, whilst victory on F1's return to France was magnifique, Austria's double DNF felt like a punch in the stomach - likewise seeing Lewis' incredible run of home victories at Silverstone come to an end in Silverstone at the hands of his main rival, Sebastian Vettel.

Just to prove how quickly and unexpectedly the pendulum could swing, Germany and Hungary were races we didn't expect to win - and yet somehow we did. That's what has made this season so exciting and enthralling to watch. Two teams - sometimes even three - battling it out at the front with no certainty as to who would come out on top.

At Hockenheim, one of our two home races, our drivers kept it on the tarmac in challenging, slippery conditions when others struggled and brought home a wonderful 1-2. In Budapest, they excelled in the wet Qualifying session and Lewis was able to keep the chasing pack at bay to claim victory.

That was quite a way to enter the summer break and for most of the team to head off on their holidays, with the buzz of two consecutive victories still settling in.

What came next when we returned to action in Belgium, though, was one of the toughest moments of the season. Just as we'd started to gain some momentum before the summer break - and looked set to continue that form after taking pole position - we were powerless to hold back Vettel and convincingly beaten by a fired-up Ferrari.

Brutal though it felt, that crushing defeat provided the springboard for a comeback that was carved out of pure determination not to be beaten again. We took a good, hard look at ourselves and where we were falling short to begin the fightback.

The team bounced back in style at Monza for a remarkable 1-3 finish. Seeing our drivers on that iconic podium, streamers flying all around, champagne being sprayed... it was quite a feeling. Little did we know, it would kick-start an incredible run that would propel us towards our goal.

Singapore has always been one of our 'bogey' tracks, but we were determined to turn that around this year and, through the inspiring work of the entire team, we managed to do just that. Lewis took pole with undoubtedly one of the best laps of his career, and we went into race day optimistic of holding off the opposition.

The controlled, commanding way in which Lewis took victory in Singapore under close attention from a hard-charging Max Verstappen was one of the many stand-out highlights of the season. To go to a track where we'd struggled in the past and change our fortunes was an achievement we're all very proud of.

A tense 1-2 finish in Russia sparked mixed emotions for us. Valtteri was on incredible form all weekend, but we made the tough call to swap our cars and thus avoid the very real threat of Lewis losing crucial points in his battle for the Drivers' Championship whilst under pressure from Vettel. Not a decision that sat comfortably, but one that had to be made.

From Sochi to Suzuka - a favourite amongst the drivers, teams and fans - and the Japanese GP was once again a weekend to remember. Lewis claimed his 50th victory with the team and drew closer to glory in his title fight, while we extended our lead in the Constructors' to 78 points.

A tricky race in Austin saw us lose ground to Ferrari in the Championship fight, and so both title battles rolled on to Mexico. It wasn't the performance we'd hoped for - but despite our struggles, Lewis crossed the line P5 to secure his fifth Drivers' crown. A momentous moment for not only Lewis and the team, but for the sport as well.

And so, onwards to Brazil, where there was still one title to wrap up. We'd hoped for a straightforward weekend - but, of course, in F1 those are few and far between. We had to leave Brazil with a 43-point lead in the Championship, so Ferrari needed to outscore us by 13 points to keep their chances alive. We were in a good position, but you never know what'll happen in this sport...

The weekend started well, with a good showing in practice, Lewis taking pole and Valtteri clinching P3 on the grid. But, in the race, we struggled with engine issues and tyre wear. Red Bull looked incredibly quick and we weren't able to hold onto the lead for too long.

It looked as though we'd been soundly beaten - but a coming together between Verstappen and Esteban Ocon put Lewis back out front and he was able to hold on to take victory. Valtteri had a tougher time out there but battled valiantly to P5, with the end result being enough for us to take the Constructors' crown with one round to spare.

The feeling of a dream becoming reality is hard to explain. After such a challenging season, we'd finally done it. And we couldn't be prouder to have been a part of the journey together.

#HiFive to all!

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