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On October 31, 2004, the entire Ferrari family, with Michael Schumacher and Luca di Montezemolo at the helm, met in Monza to celebrate their sixth consecutive year of tyranny at the World Cup. A party like no other had been known in Maranello. «We can describe this season as something unique. It will not be easy to repeat, but this group is united, strong, stable, passionate and motivated, ”said Jean Todt, top sports manager of Scuderia. Yesterday, that prediction of Todt was torn from rennet in Suzuka, where Mercedes began the celebrations of what can already be considered the most dominant time in the history of Formula 1. The best of his confetti, despite everything, they will spread in the next weeks, when Lewis Hamilton finally sticks his sixth world crown.

Todt's prophecy must now be read, word by word, in front of the verdict, still measured, by Toto Wolff, his counterpart in the Silver Arrows. «When we embarked on this adventure we simply wanted to win races and prepare ourselves to fight for the championship. Six years later we can boast of our sixth consecutive title, ”said the engineer, reluctant to establish analogies with the past.

Under his tenure, the German team has buckled six doublets, just like Todt between 2000 and 2004. However, Hamilton's imminent wound will allow him to rise as the only team in history that chains six driver titles. And it is that in 1999, after the exemplary sanction to Schumacher, Eddie Irvine stayed at the gates of glory in that tight duel against the McLaren of Mika Hakkinen.

A by Lotus and McLaren

The triumph of Valtteri Bottas in Suzuka, escorted yesterday on the podium by Hamilton, was another notch in the overwhelming dominance of Mercedes. Since the beginning of the hybrid turbo era, back in 2014, no less than 86 wins, 174 podiums and 88 poles in 107 races. If at the beginning of the century, Schumacher and Barrichello let out some triumph in favor of McLaren, Williams, Jordan or Renault, now Mercedes only scatters the crumbs before Ferrari and Red Bull. In addition, they still have another extra course to maintain hegemony.

Awaiting the regulatory revolution, scheduled for 2021, the German builder is emerging as the great reference for the next World Cup. With a twist more would equal the seven of Lotus and will look almost on par with McLaren (eight crowns) and Williams (nine). Everyone must now maintain that degree of dedication and commitment that Ferrari could not sustain 15 years ago. From the factory workers in Brackley to Hamilton himself, with the longing for the seven crowns of The Kaiser almost at hand. That internal cohesion, one of Mercedes' cornerstones, is largely maintained thanks to Niki Lauda.

I remember Lauda

"We may not be as happy as in previous years because we have lost Niki and it is not the same without him," Hamilton said yesterday, with the rictus still twisted by some of his engineers' decisions regarding tires. «We owe a lot to Niki. Today I looked at his helmets and his cap before getting in the car. I know he feels proud too, ”he said of the former Mercedes sports consultant, who died last May at age 70.

Since signing in 2012, Lauda had established itself as one of the architects of this exponential growth of the Silver Arrows. So Hamilton's reasons are not lacking for the posthumous tribute. Within two weeks, in Mexico, Stevenage's genius can blind the championship. It is enough to add 14 points more than Bottas. Something like a triumph with the bonus of the fast lap added to a fourth place of the faithful Finnish squire. If the accounts don't add up, he will turn to Austin, the favorite scenario of his coronations.

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  • michael schumacher
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  • Lotus
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