F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?
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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has sent a warning sign to Max Verstappen and Red Bull that their title fight is “far from over” and they are planning to “blow everyone away” at Silverstone in two weeks’ time.
In Austria, Mercedes dropped even further behind Red Bull in the title fight as Verstappen cruised to victory for the third time in a row, extending his lead over Lewis Hamilton to 32 points heading to the British circuit in a fortnight.
Red Bull also pulled an extra two points ahead of Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship battle too, bringing their lead to 44 points over the seven-time champions.
Valtteri Bottas finished on the podium in second place, while Hamilton had to settle for fourth after picking up damage on his W12 during the race.
“The result looks worse in terms of pace than we were, we were stuck behind the McLaren,” Wolff said on Sky Sports F1.
“I think in pace we probably could have been there, maybe not enough to win the race but right there, which is a step forward.
“The damage [to Hamilton] was from the outside of turn 10 over the kerb, I don’t think he was particularly running too hard over the kerb.
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“It was just a part that fell away, we looked at the loads and they were the same as the laps before so we need to find out why that happened.
“Overall I think it’s damage limitation.
“I think we’re going to go to Silverstone, blow everybody away, finish one-two, 30 seconds in advance of everybody else!
Mercedes are hoping to bounce back to winning ways with Red Bull having won six of the opening nine races. Hamilton grabbed their last victory back in Spain in round four.
“Here is quite a short lap so two-and-a-half tenths makes a big difference,” added Wolff.
“Silverstone is maybe a bit different. It’s a little step and every little step counts.
“We could see the improvement from last week to here in terms of race pace.
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“That was from understanding the car a little bit more.
“There are more clues we’ve looked at and I think we’re going to progress and eventually be in the race again.
“I’m always a sceptical person and I’m a glass-half-empty than half full.
“But we’re one DNF away from being right there in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship. This is far from over.
“Morale is good, we have to be working on these feelings actively.
“If you come from having seven world championship titles, everything looks like a defeat whatever result you have. This is the switch in mindset we need to achieve now.
“Today we finished second and fourth, it’s not the end of the world, you can see how happy McLaren are about their position and we just need to recognise this is a tough, tough championship.
“This is the Formula One world championship and you can’t expect every single year to cruise away into the sunset.
“We will make everything that’s needed to make sure Red Bull don’t do exactly that.”
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