• IN WORDS: The Team Spirit is Only Getting Better - Valtteri

Valtteri reflects on a tough race, but the ideal end result...

Second season with the team and the Constructors' title for a second time, and Valtteri continues to be impressed and amazed by what this team can do.  

"I'm really happy and proud to be part of this team," he said. "This is down to hard work by every single team member, both back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth as well as here at the race track - they really deserve this title!"

"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."

"I have been doing everything I can to score points for the team and to be a team player. It wasn't my season but our season. It is impressive what we have been able to do as a team."

For Valtteri, consistency and making as few mistakes as possible were the keys to success. He also had some special words to say for Niki Lauda, who is recovering from an operation. "I hope he is watching," said the Finn. "Without Niki, it wouldn't be possible. That is a fact. His racing mind, his attitude, even though he is not here now physically, mentally he is."

The team were hugely delighted after the race, but there was a slight feeling of mixed emotions for Valtteri after a tricky run to fifth place - even after his lightning-fast start.

"Everything went basically as planned," he explained. "We both had a good start and gained the lead in the beginning. That was very good."

However, the race got tougher and tougher as it went on. "Yeah, a little bit. I was a bit more optimistic before the race. But I seemed to struggle with blistering and we didn't quite have the pace."

"It was quite a difficult race. I struggled with overheating in the first stint and in the second stint I had blistering on the rear tyres. That cost performance. Once Daniel got through, we wanted to minimise the risk with the blistering and stopped again."

"It was a pretty tough and disappointing race, but we got something positive out of today. Overall it was a great day for Mercedes."

And so, Valtteri is feeling confident about the challenges the New Year will bring. "Every year it gets even tougher. We have now won so many Championships in a row. It won't be any easier next year but that motivates us. The team spirit is only getting better..."