Mercedes won't risk "slap in the face" thinking it's fastest now

Mercedes says it does not want to get "slapped in the face" by thinking that it now has the fastest car in Formula 1 based on its British Grand Prix dominance.

Lewis Hamilton was in a class of his own at Silverstone last weekend and led home a Mercedes 1-2 as Valtteri Bottas charged through the field from ninth place on the grid, having had to take a gearbox penalty.

But despite Mercedes having won three of the four last races – and only having lost in Baku because of a freak loose headrest – the indications are that the team has now unleashed the real potential of its tricky W08 car.

But Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff wants to hold fire until after the next race in Hungary before coming to any conclusion about whether his team now has an edge on title rivals Ferrari.

"I would like to feel it, but the moment you say that, you go to the next race and feel as though you've been slapped in the face," said Wolff, when asked by Motorsport.com if he believed Mercedes now had the fastest car.

"It is tricky and our car is not always easy to set up, and we have become much better at doing so. It has been a great team effort in combination with the tyres.

"But I would like to see Budapest, how the car works, with a low speed and high temperatures track and then maybe I will have a more complete picture."

Hamilton, who closed to within one point of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' championship standings, still suspects that the performance between both teams is close enough that it can swing depending on track characteristics.

"There's pros and cons between both teams in terms of performance," he said. "Some weekends they're just a little bit ahead of us and other weekends not, so I think it's track dependent.

"Still, at the moment, they've had the strongest line-up. That's why he is still one point ahead of us. But collectively as a team we are leading the constructors' championship so I guess we've gained points.

"It's been kind of level, but this weekend we've been able to exploit the full performance of our car, particularly on both cars, more so than any other race we've done so far this year.

"It is a great showing and puts us in a good position and gives us a strong platform to start from for the second half of the season."

Hamilton does feel, however, that Mercedes has made good gains in understanding how to get its car operating better – having had a wake-up call with difficulties in Russia and Monaco.

"This car has been a little bit trickier to get used to and get the set-up right," he explained.

"Even when we started off on the wrong foot some of the weekends, we still didn't get the car in the perfect window and didn't exploit its performance earlier in the year. But I think Ferrari really hit the nail on the head from the beginning. It [their car] works everywhere.

"But with a lot of work, a lot of analysis, we started to move forward – particularly the last two races, if not three. We started off immediately on the right foot. It's great that it's happened so soon – for the midpoint of the season.

"Qualifying pace is looking very strong and today our race pace was a lot higher than the Ferraris, probably for the first time this season. That's really good to see – particularly as I think they came with an engine upgrade and we didn't come here with any upgrades."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Article type Breaking news