RACE DEBRIEF

    Mercedes are set to honour staff at their Brixworth and Brackley facilities by running a special livery on their cars at the Abu Dhabi season finale featuring every team member’s name. However, according to Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff, the jury is still out on whether seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton will be available to race for the team at the Yas Marina Circuit.

    Having wrapped up their seventh consecutive double championship already this season, Mercedes boss Wolff said ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that he’d been keen to honour the hard work put in by Mercedes’ staff at the conclusion of this unconventional, fast-paced season, which has seen 17 races run in the space of just five and half months.

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    “We have a very special surprise this weekend in Abu Dhabi for our team members,” said Wolff. “We'll be running a slightly different livery on Saturday and Sunday featuring everyone's name on the car to honour the huge commitment and determination from everybody in Brixworth and Brackley.

    “Everyone has pushed hard this year, raising the bar through this massively intense season, and we hope this gesture goes some way in showing the appreciation we have for everyone involved.”

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    The Mercedes cars will feature different liveries this weekend – but who will drive them?

    One team member in particular who’s raised the bar in 2020 is Lewis Hamilton, who this season became the most successful driver in Formula 1 history in terms of race wins, while also tying Michael Schumacher’s record of seven drivers’ titles.

    But with Hamilton having missed the previous Sakhir Grand Prix after contracting Covid-19, Wolff said it was still too early to know if Hamilton would be fit enough to be in the car this weekend – or whether last weekend’s super-sub George Russell would get another shot in the W11, having narrowly missed out on victory in Bahrain.

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    “There are still some question marks over who will be in the car this weekend in Abu Dhabi,” said Wolff, whose team have won every Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2014. “Lewis's condition is improving, but we won't know until closer to the time if he will be driving. We'll do everything we can to get him in the car and we know he's determined to be back as soon as possible. But his health is our main priority, so we will see what the situation is and then make the call.”