Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Mercedes aim to learn from mistakes in Brazil

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Alexander Albon
Lewis Hamilton collided with Red Bull's Alexander Albon on the penultimate lap in Brazil

Mercedes say they are heading to this weekend's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix "with a point to prove".

Team boss Toto Wolff said the last race in Brazil was "disappointing for us".

World champion Lewis Hamilton finished third but was demoted to seventh with a five-second penalty for colliding with Red Bull's Alexander Albon.

Wolff, who did not attend the race in Brazil, said: "We did not have the fastest car on track and we lost a lot of points owing to our own mistakes."

He added: "We analysed what went wrong, both in terms of our reliability and our decisions during the race, to make sure we don't repeat them.

"It was a good learning experience for the entire team and something that will make us stronger in the long run."

Wolff was referring to a race strategy that unfolded when Hamilton was brought in for a late change of tyres under a final safety car period following a crash between the two Ferrari drivers.

The decision dropped Hamilton to fourth from second and was described by technical director James Allison, the de facto team boss in Brazil in Wolff's absence, as "plain dumb".

Even before that, Allison said Mercedes had "not had the shiniest of races up to that point".

Hamilton collided with Albon making an optimistic attempt to separate the rookie from second place on the penultimate lap.

After recovering, Hamilton then just failed in an attempt to pass Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly in a race to the finish line on the final lap, and was given a five-second penalty for the Albon incident.

Wolff said: "The underperformance in Brazil means we head to Abu Dhabi with a point to prove.

"Yas Marina has been a good circuit for us in the last years and we'll push hard to continue in the same way.

"The race is one last opportunity for us to add another victory to the record of the W10 and it's one more chance to put on a great show for the fans before the winter break.

"We're looking forward to the fight because we know that in Formula 1, you're only as good as your last result."

'Roller coaster' of a season

Wolff said the 2019 season - in which Mercedes have won 14 of 20 races so far, 10 for Hamilton and four for team-mate Valtteri Bottas - had been a "real roller coaster".

The team have won a record-breaking sixth consecutive double of drivers' and constructors' championships, breaking the previous record held by Ferrari.

But he said the deaths of FIA F1 director Charlie Whiting on the eve of the season, Mercedes non-executive director Niki Lauda in May and Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert in a high-speed crash at the Belgian Grand Prix had been hard to take.

Wolff said: "We've seen great on-track battles and we've loved the competition. We are very proud that we came out on top and managed to put the Mercedes name in the history books of F1 with our sixth consecutive double title.

"On the other hand, it's been an incredibly hard year where we had to say goodbye to too many friends.

"We were hit hard by the passing of Charlie, Niki and Anthoine, as well as important members from our team who we have tragically lost this year.

"At Mercedes, Niki left a void that we will never be able to replace - as a source of inspiration, as a voice of reason, but most importantly as a great friend. We hope we did you proud, Niki."

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