Toto Wolff: “We’ve halved the gap over the last few months”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

After getting P3 and P4 at the Austrian Grand Prix, Toto Wolff says Mercedes is “chipping away performance from the leaders”, but remains the third-fastest team on the grid.

Mercedes’ Austrian Grand Prix race weekend started on a promising note in FP1, but after both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell crashed in Qualifying, things seemed to take a turn for the worse.

Overnight the team managed to fix and rebuilt the cars, but they didn’t seem to be as competitive in the Sprint race, as they were on Friday. However, in the main race the result was quite satisfying, P3 for Hamilton and P4 for Russell.

After the race team boss Toto Wolff said Mercedes is moving forward, but they are still not on Red Bull and Ferrari’s level.

“It’s just we’re missing a few things here and there,” the Austrian told Sky Sports F1.

“I think we’ve halved the gap over the last few months. We understand better, but that’s still third for us.

“We are somewhere right in the middle of nowhere but I would say if I tried to pick the positives in the race pace today, if we would have, which we didn’t, start right in the top six probably we could have held on to Max [Verstappen] and not be too far away.”

As both cars were damaged on Friday, Mercedes had trouble finding parts, so they were forced to put a larger non track specific rear wing on Russell’s car.

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“We’re lacking speed on the straight,” Toto continued.

“I think we are much too draggy, maybe much is too much, but we are draggy. Even more draggy on George’s car.

“The only rear wing left was a barn door that we put on there but we are too draggy and we seem to be lacking power here.

“For the first time again, the last few races were really strong, maybe it’s the altitude but it’s something that all the guys will analyse and for sure compensate in the next races.

“It’s actually good because we are starting to see that we’re chipping away performance from the leaders which is important.

“And we find ourselves in a situation which we have always discussed, which is one day after eight consecutive titles that series is gonna break and we want to make it a blip and not some kind of longer cycle,” Wolff concluded.

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