Lewis Hamilton will not lose any motivation after matching Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Formula One titles, according to Mercedes chief Toto Wolff.
Despite qualifying sixth for the Turkish Grand Prix, Hamilton secured a phenomenal victory in tricky conditions to open up an unassailable 110-point lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas – who spun five times and finished 14th – with three races remaining.
The 35-year-old stayed out on his first set of intermediate tyres while others pitted for a second set – including leader Lance Stroll, who ended up slipping to ninth – and was therefore better placed to deal with the drying conditions.
Hamilton is yet to sign a contract extension to remain at Mercedes next season but said after the race he hoped to continue his career with the Silver Arrows.
Wolff believes it is his relationship with the team that makes results like the one at Istanbul Park possible and he does not envision Hamilton resting on his laurels after his latest success.
“It shows how he’s capable of coping with the situation that went against him at the beginning – and he was the only one who kept it on the road and that is the difference today,” Wolff told Sky Sports.
“We have a really great relationship which has grown over all these years. The team is 100 per cent behind him and he’s 100 per cent behind the team. This is why these days, where it was really difficult, he still managed to pull it off against all odds.
“He was as hungry as a lion, driving on a car with slicks at the end, with the risk of rain. I don’t see any motivation stopping.
“This year has been very, very special, in difficult circumstances for everyone around the world. I hope that we’ve entertained and that’s why coming on top after such a year in such a tough race, it’s exceptional.”
Bottas needed to score eight more points than Hamilton to keep the title race alive but he lost control on the opening corner, which proved to be one of five spins as his challenge ended with a whimper.
“He [Hamilton] deserves it fully. He was better overall. It is really good for him. I will try to beat him next year,” said Bottas.
“That was a long race, such a long day. At the start everything went wrong. Someone in the first corner spinning and I had a contact.
“The car was not the same anymore. I struggled to stay on track. It was survival.”