Mercedes: We' are incrementally closing the gap

Mercedes: We are incrementally closing the gap

Wolff: Hard to predict how we will fare in Hungary
Mercedes’ James Vowles revealed the team will continue to close the gap to the leaders incrementally, ahead of the upcoming Hungarian Grand Prix.

Mercedes have many more upgrades to come as they seek to close in on Formula 1 leaders Red Bull and Ferrari, strategy boss James Vowles said on Wednesday.

The defending F1 Constructors’ World Champions brought new parts to last weekend’s French Grand Prix and Vowles said they were ‘incremental’.

“They are small steps that were added to the car but the important point is that we have plans to introduce far, far more across the races that follow,” he said in a debrief conducted by the team.

“We are not going to be able in one go just to catch up and be with Ferrari and Red Bull. But hopefully as you have seen across the season so far, we are incrementally closing that gap down and we have more to come,” he added.

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton finished second to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in France, after Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc crashed out, with Mercedes team mate George Russell third.

Reflecting on France, Toto Wolff said: “It was encouraging to score such a big haul of points in France and maximise the situation on Sunday but we know there is much work still to do. The gap to the leaders on a single lap persists and we struggle more at the start of stints.

Mercedes need to keep unlocking performance

“We need to keep unlocking more performance, and by maintaining the culture, mindset and spirit that has spurred on all the hard work at the factories, I’m confident we will. Our reliability was good once again, and both Lewis and George were on strong form, to deliver a double podium,” the Austrian added.

Looking ahead to the Hungarian Grand Prix, Wolff said: “Now we’re switching focus to Hungary and a very different circuit; tight, twisty and bumpy, almost the opposite of where we just were.

“It’s hard to predict how we will fare because our expectations this year haven’t always matched up to reality, in terms of which tracks suit the W13,” he admitted.

“Nevertheless, we’ll give it our all and we always look forward to being in Budapest and the warm welcome we receive from the fans.

“It also marks our 250th Grand Prix with our title partners, PETRONAS, which is a brilliant milestone,” the Mercedes boss pointed out.

The team have been notably more competitive in races than in Saturday qualifying. Mercedes are third overall, 126 points adrift of leaders Red Bull and 44 behind Ferrari, in the Constructors’ Standings.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Additional reporting by GrandPrix247)