“This a very emotional day,” said Hamilton. “I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome. Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me - I'm blown away. This has been an incredible year, it's been an incredible journey together.”
Hamilton has the chance to win his 10th Grand Prix of the year at this weekend’s season finale in Abu Dhabi, after which he and Mercedes will be officially crowned with their fourth world championships at next month’s FIA Prize Giving Gala.
“Since I was fortunate enough to join this team in 2012, I have seen it go from strength to strength,” added Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “I still see many of the same faces who were here when I joined, but also new faces as we have continued to build the strength of this group. We are fortunate to have the right resources, which isn't always a given, but importantly we have the right people.
“We have not allowed ourselves to become complacent, but remain motivated and energised. For me, I could not imagine working with a better group of people. I would like to say thank you very much to all of you.”
Wolff’s fellow team boss Niki Lauda echoed his colleague’s comments, saying: “For the fourth time in a row I'm in the fortunate position to say thank you to the entire team. 2017 has been a challenging year because of the rule change. A rule change always means uncertainty; no one knows what the other guys are doing.
“We started with a difficult car, but the team was able to consistently improve it throughout the season, which was the key to winning the championships. The team did a fantastic job and Lewis did a fantastic job. I'm really proud of everyone, it's an incredible achievement. This year was the most difficult one so far and next year it will be even more difficult, but I trust the team 100%!”
With Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas having added a further two victories to Mercedes’ 2017 win tally, the Silver Arrow’s head to this weekend’s Yas Marina race with an unassailable 130- point lead in the constructor’s standings, while Bottas still has an outside chance of overhauling Sebastian Vettel for second in the drivers’ table.