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F1 | Austrian GP | Mercedes’ Toto Wolff estimates the team is closer to Ferrari and Red Bull after Austrian Grand Prix

Mercedes team boss says the team might have closed the gap if it wasn’t for both drivers’ incidents in qualifying. States that they could have a better result at Paul Ricard.

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F1 | Austrian GP | Mercedes’ Toto Wolff estimates the team is closer to Ferrari and Red Bull after Austrian Grand Prix
Fuente imagen: Mercedes AMG F1 Team

Mercedes AMG F1 Team hasn’t had the best results in the Red Bull Ring since the race came back to the calendar in 2014. But the Brackley-based team had a good result at last week’s Austrian Grand Prix despite a disastrous qualifying session where both drivers binned it in Q3.

“This is never a happy track for us in Austria,” Wolff said.

“Predominantly over the last eight years, if we’ve been successful in the championships, this was the one track where we would have struggled.

“From that perspective, I’m OK with how it went. In a way, on Saturday [in the sprint] we were really stuck in no man’s land.

“I think on Sunday, maybe stuck in no man's land from the positioning on the track, but the lap times were at least competitive. On Saturday we were losing half a second every single lap.”

But both Hamilton and Russell had a good race and managed to end P3 and P4 respectively, giving the team a podium spot and some great points. Russell recovered from his incident with Perez to collect 17 points over the weekend.

Even though they got in the top 3, Mercedes has not fully closed the gap yet to the top teams.

“When you look at the result, and motorsport is results-driven, so P3 and P4 is OK,” Wolff said after the race in Austria.

“But we're still lacking these two- or three-tenths in performance. Overall, the car was much quicker today.

“But [the team is] not quick enough to really challenge for the front yet,” added the team boss.

Mercedes have done upgrades that have gotten them to a better pace and spot during races, but they’re yet somewhere to fight the top teams.

"The porpoising, I think we got on top of,” Wolff said.

“I think if we were to go back to Monaco and to Baku, we wouldn’t be great, but for sure not have the problems that we've seen a few weeks ago.”

“It’s just that we are missing a few tenths here and there, I think we’ve halved the gap over the last few months, we understand better, but we’re still third, fourth – we’re somewhere right in the middle of nowhere,” added Wolff.

“But I would say if I tried to pick the positives, in race pace today, if we would have – which we didn’t – started right in the top six, probably we could’ve held on to Max [Verstappen] and not been so far away.

“For sure [the qualifying crashes] didn’t help, because even though you can set the car up and measure the car… it puts you on the wrong foot straight from the get-go. So, we didn’t expect to be really competitive here because of the nature of the track, it wasn’t a happy place for us in the past, so I’m okay. We just need to continue to grind away.”

Wolff says they are staying positive and hoping for a better outcome in the next race at Paul Ricard.

“Paul Ricard should be okay,” continued Wolff. “It’s a smooth circuit, a little bit like Silverstone, fast corners, and on paper at least it looks like we can have a good performance there.”

“We are starting to see we are chipping away performance from the leaders, which is good, but we find ourselves in a situation which we have always discussed, which is, one day, after eight consecutive titles, that series is going to break and we want to make it a blip and not some kind of long cycle.”

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