Formula 1 2018: Hi-Fives for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes
13 November 2018, 13:45 | Updated: 13 November 2018, 16:46
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have celebrated their fifth world championship with a special homecoming at their Brixworth engine base.
Hamilton, team-mate Valtteri Bottas and the returning Silver Arrows crew fresh from their success at the Brazilian GP were joined by all of the team's championship-winning cars as Mercedes marked their fifth successive championship double in style.
"We have an incredible foundation with the team, there is nothing we can't do," Hamilton told Sky Sports News. "This is a seriously powerful unit."
But even amid the celebrations - in Brazil, at Brixworth and the race team's Brackley base - thoughts were already turning to 2019 and the challenge which awaits Mercedes to stay ahead of Ferrari and a fast-closing Red Bull…
Can Mercedes stay number one next year?
While 2018 has been shaped by an intense battle at the front between Ferrari, who have frequently boasted the fastest package, and Mercedes, Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolf is convinced that next year's fight will be Mercedes' toughest year yet.
"This season was the most challenging we have ever had in the last five years," Wolff said. "But I have no doubt next season will be even more difficult."
Red Bull, who will switch to Honda power next season, won two weeks ago in Mexico when Hamilton wrapped up the Drivers' Championship and Max Verstappen ought to have claimed victory on Sunday in Brazil.
"In the last couple of races they have been incredibly strong," said Hamilton. "I can only imagine next year they will be even stronger. For the sport it would be great if Red Bull were more in the battle."
The prospect of Hamilton, F1's premier box-office attraction, duelling with Verstappen, the heir apparent, is one to savour. The Red Bull driver won their on-track battle in Brazil, just as he did in Mexico, but on both occasions Hamilton was aware of a bigger picture - securing the title in Mexico and managing a crippling engine issue at Interlagos.
"Max has been driving really well this year and he is such an awesome young talent," said Hamilton. "I'm looking forward to many more battles.
"I didn't really feel in Brazil with the engine problems we had that I could fight with him but I am looking forward to the day when that happens."
In 2019, those days may be frequent.
How the rest of F1 has recognised Mercedes' achievement
Sky Sports F1 is the only place to watch every Formula 1 Grand Prix, qualifying and practice session live in 2018. Get Sky Sports F1.
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