Q: Toto, there has been a lot of talk about set-up changes on Lewis and Nico's car - but does that fully explain the run Nico has been on?
Toto Wolff: What I can say is that there have been a lot of discussions lately about whether Nico has stepped up, whether the car has come more towards him development-wise, or whether Lewis has unconsciously just taken it a bit too easy. I have no answer to that. We have to make an audit in the next couple of weeks and analyse what happened in the last couple of races. I think that in the end for Lewis the title mattered and I honestly also have to say that these last couple of races were great driving from Nico's side.
Q: Lewis indicated that the set-up changes caused by the Singapore slump contributed to the car balance moving in a direction not so much to his liking. Is that so?
TW: The car has been developed and has improved. After Singapore we developed in a different direction based on the learnings we took on board from that weekend. Whether the car has come more to Nico - or has gone away from Lewis - I don't know. It could be a factor, but I wouldn't want to reduce it to one single issue. There could be many possible factors coming into the picture and playing a role.
Q: Has the wrong man won the title?
TW: Ouch! Here is the answer: in motorsport you have a stopwatch - and this stopwatch never lies. He scored the points necessary to win the championship so he must be the right man.
Q: You just mentioned that Lewis probably backed off a bit after winning the championship - have you noticed a drop in intensity in the way he has been?
TW: No, because I don't think that this would have been something that was done consciously. He is still pushing very hard - he still has the same talent and puts the same effort into his races. But yes, it could play a role.
Q: You said that the stopwatch does not lie - so in the last six races you must have picked up something from the data as to why it has swung so much in Nico's favour...
TW: I think this is more of a soft factor than the sole reason. But yes, I agreed that the driver is a significant part of the driver/car package and Lewis indicated some days ago that he doesn't have the same good feeling in the car as before - and if he says that then this is something that we have to consider.
Q: In the last stint of Sunday's Abu Dhabi race Lewis was closing the gap, but when it came to seven seconds it stopped. Why was that?
TW: Probably because Lewis realised that the gap was too big to make an attempt. There is no other explanation to that.
Q: But why did Lewis look so annoyed at the end?
TW: Because he is such an ambitious person - that makes him the successful driver that he is. That is sometimes uncongenial, but it is the right package and one that we want. He is asking a lot from the team. But I think after the podium and press conference everything is back to normal again.
Q: If you look at 2016, is there anybody you feel could threaten your position at the top?
TW: Well, I think Ferrari have made significant steps forward and we think they could to the same things in 2016. We take them very seriously! Competition is very welcome - and Ferrari definitely is our best 'frenemy'! (laughs)
Q: Do you believe that after two unchallenged years life will become more stressful for Mercedes in 2016?
TW: I always think that - every year. Luckily it didn't happen [in 2015] but I think we have every reason to be sceptical - or at least we should have that attitude to do a good job over the winter. What I see from the various departments is very encouraging, but you have to put it together for it to work. And as I said before: the stopwatch never lies. We will know by Melbourne at the latest whether we've done a good enough job.