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Can Mercedes Etch Their Place in Formula One History?




Mercedes secured their sixth Constructors’ Championship on the bounce courtesy of Valtteri Bottas’ triumph at the Japanese Grand Prix, flexing their dominance over their rivals once again in the 2019 season.

The combination of Lewis Hamilton and Bottas has thrived once again in the campaign, and although the Brit has a healthy lead over his team-mate, the battle for the Drivers’ Championship looks to be a competitive one heading down the final stretch of the term.

Hamilton and Bottas can temporarily celebrate their success as a team before locking horns once again. The Brit is the overwhelming favorite to win the Drivers’ Championship as Bottas would need the next run of races to swing hugely in his favor to claim the crown ahead of his team-mate. Still the Finn has been part of a monumental achievement that only one other team has achieved before in the history of the sport.

In Good Company

Ferrari enjoyed an equally impressive spell of imperious form from 1999 to 2004. They won the Constructors’ Championship for six straight seasons – five of which were with Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello behind the wheel.

Schumacher during that period was unmatched on the track, although in 1999 he did need help from his team-mate Eddie Irvine to beat out Williams for the Constructors’ Championship, edging out their rivals by four points. The German then dominated the next five seasons with downright imperious form on the track. Barrichello played his role and finished in the top four in each of those years, including a second-place outing in the 2002 season.

The performances of Barrichello were similar to that of Bottas, who can still put the pressure on Hamilton at the top of the standings for the 2019 Drivers' Championship crown by winning the Mexico Grand Prix being backed in the betting odds at 8/1 as of 14th October to win the race.

Like Bottas' performances with Mercedes, Barrichello was a solid performer, but was happy to play second fiddle to Schumacher at Ferrari. There was a clear definition of their roles in the team, while the talent of the German was far superior, allowing him to enjoy an unmatched run of success. Schumacher stands alone at the top of the sport for a reason with his seven titles, although Hamilton is closing the gap.

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber came close to matching their run with four straight crowns between 2010 and 2013 for Red Bull Racing. However, the rise of Mercedes ended their potential dynasty and two drivers then left the team, with Webber retiring from the sport, while Vettel has failed to thrive since his move to Ferrari.

The rarity of such dominance is a credit to Hamilton first and then Bottas second for continuing the impressive work of Nico Rosberg in support, although the Finn has not quite managed to secure the title win that his predecessor did in 2016.

Mercedes’ Future

Hamilton will be determined to maintain his quest to beat out Schumacher’s all-time record of seven Drivers’ Championship wins. The Brit is on course for his sixth title should he close out the crown this term and the odds are stacked firmly in his favour, even though his form in the second half of the season has not been as consistent as he would have liked.

Bottas was under scrutiny before the start of the campaign, but has responded with his best term, which has been rewarded by Mercedes. The Finn is under contract for another season and the two drivers will have a chance to put the German outfit ahead of the Italian counterparts for the most dominant stretch in the history of the sport.

However, there will be obstacles ahead as Ferrari looked to have finally found a complement to Vettel in the form of Charles LeClerc. Indeed there is belief around the pit lane that LeClerc has already surpassed the German as the Italian team’s number one driver. They have improved over the course of the campaign and will be a thorn in the side of Mercedes. Max Verstappen and Red Bull are not going anywhere either as he looks set for a run at the crown, although whether he has enough support for the Constructors’ Championship remains to be seen.

Hamilton and Bottas have been put under pressure, but have responded to threats in the past and it would not be surprise to see Mercedes etch their place in history with another successful run for the title.