In a thrilling conclusion to the Formula 1 season, Toto Wolff praises Charles Leclerc, the team principal of Mercedes, who has openly praised Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc for his sportsmanlike behavior during the intense battle for second place in the constructors’ championship. This commendation from Wolff highlights the respect and competitive spirit that defines Formula 1 racing at its best.

The final race in Abu Dhabi was a nail-biter, with Mercedes and Ferrari vying for the coveted second spot in the championship. Ultimately, Mercedes edged out Ferrari by a mere 1.1 seconds at the checkered flag, thanks to the combined efforts of George Russell, who finished third, and Lewis Hamilton, who came in eighth. This achievement marked an improvement for Mercedes, which finished third in last season’s constructors’ standings.

The race’s climax was particularly tense, with Leclerc allowing Sergio Perez of Red Bull to pass, hoping that Perez would then create a sufficient gap to Russell. This strategy was aimed at helping Ferrari secure the second place in the championship. However, Leclerc’s notable decision not to deliberately slow down Russell was a testament to his fair play and professionalism, earning him Wolff’s admiration.

Wolff remarked, “I think at the end, it was a great end, fight for P2. I think George’s driving was exceptional. I also think Charles at the end was sportsmanlike behavior, not trying to slow down [Russell]. Two great teams, two great brands that fought to the end.”

Despite their victory over Ferrari, Mercedes faced a challenging season, finishing without a win and significantly behind the pace set by Red Bull. However, the team has shown progress in adapting their car to the new regulations, and Wolff remains optimistic about making further strides in the upcoming season.

Wolff continued, “At the end we are racers and this day feels like you’ve won and that’s great. We have to be happy about that, but also as a racer you just want more – but today we won. It was a fight for P2. In a way, super positive for the team and so many employees to be vice-champion but it also reminds you it is P2.”

He acknowledged Red Bull’s advantage under the new regulations, emphasizing the monumental effort required to close the gap. Yet, he remains hopeful that as Red Bull’s development pace levels off, Mercedes can catch up.

The sportsmanship displayed by Charles Leclerc and the intense rivalry between Mercedes and Ferrari encapsulate the essence of Formula 1 racing – a blend of fierce competition, strategic brilliance, and mutual respect among the world’s top racing teams and drivers.