Mercedes boss Toto Wolff wants to see Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas continue to race each other next season.
Valtteri Bottas claimed his fourth victory of the Formula One season at the United States Grand Prix on Sunday but it wasn’t enough to stop Lewis Hamilton claiming his sixth F1 world title.
The 34-year-old British driver started fifth on the grid but managed to move up three places over the 56 laps to finish in second place behind his team-mate.
Hamilton came into the race only needing at most to pick up four points to win the F1 world championship, while Bottas had to win the race to have any hope of keeping his own title dreams alive.
Bottas wasn’t prepared to let Hamilton have it all his own way in Austin, Texas and the Finn chased down Hamilton in the closing stages of the race and after a couple of close calls he managed to use his fresher tyres to pass the Brit and ended up comfortably taking victory.
And despite Hamilton not being able to take the win his competitive spirit was still on display as he managed to fend off Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the final couple of laps at the Circuit of the Americas.
F1 fans will no doubt be pleased to see both Mercedes drivers fighting each other on the track and Team Principal Toto Wolff admitted after the race that the Silver Arrows will continue allowing the pair to battle it out next season, even if they are concerned at times.
“It was a bit edgy but it was the last race for the championship so you have to be flexible in your thinking,” Wolff told Sky Sports.
“Lewis felt he could do a lap more, chief strategist Hamilton kept him out there and maybe that helped.
“We learned our lesson in Singapore when we said strategy could work one favour or another.
“You could see today how close it was between a one stop and two stop.
“We decided we want to let them race and I think that will be something we carry over into next year.”
With Hamilton claiming his sixth F1 title of his career he has now moved into second place in the all-time ranking.
He is now just one behind the legendary driver Michael Schumacher, who tops the charts with seven titles, five of which he won consecutively with Ferrari from 2000 to 2004.
When asked about his future in the sport Hamilton said: “I don’t know about championships but as an athlete I feel fresh as can be.
“We won’t let up, we’ll keep pushing.”
We decided we want to let them race and I think that will be something we carry over into next year