Toto Wolff believes an 'obsessive attention to detail' is the main reason why Mercedes continues to be Formula One's leading team in 2017.
Mercedes has been F1's dominant force since the introduction of the 1.6-litre V6 power unit at the start of 2014. Since then, the German manufacturer has won three straight drivers' and constructors' titles and is on course to make it four in a row with Lewis Hamilton having a 59-point lead over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel going into the U.S. Grand Prix this weekend.
Despite building a sizeable lead in both championships, Mercedes' performances since the Singapore Grand Prix have been inconsistent with Ferrari and even Red Bull showing a better turn of performance. Wolff believes these races have allowed the team to further understand its car, which in turn, will stand them in good stead for the rest of the season and into 2018.
"We returned from those races with a lot more understanding of our car and of the reasons for the performance swings we have experienced this season. Some of that understanding is already being applied to the final races, some of it will flow into next year's project. But the bitter taste of our defeat in Malaysia once again confirmed that the tough days are the ones when you learn most - and when you lay the foundations for future success.
"Likewise, we have maintained clear sight of the reasons for our success this year. The team is operating at an incredibly high level in every area and continuing to develop; we have applied an obsessive attention to detail to how we go racing over the past three seasons; and we have continued to develop our car at a competitive rate through the season. Our mindset has always been one of constant improvement, regardless of the results we were enjoying, and this is now paying off."
Wolff has praised the performances of Hamilton since the summer break, citing his willingness to help the team rectify and improve the car further as he goes in search of a fourth drivers' title.
"We must also add our drivers to our list of strengths. Lewis has driven brilliantly this year - and since the summer break in particular, he has been on another level. It has been impressive to watch him extracting everything from the car and working with the team to solve problems and improve even further.''