Mercedes needs to continue pressing home its advantage in the early part of the season as Red Bull remains in striking distance, according to team principal Toto Wolff.
Lewis Hamilton took a dominant victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix to make it three wins from three for Mercedes to start the year, with Hamilton taking two and teammate Valtteri Bottas one. However, after starting the season with a retirement, Max Verstappen has taken two podiums and beat Bottas to second place at the Hungaroring despite a tough weekend and pre-race crash, leading Wolff to tell his team not to become complacent.
“I’m not sure I’ve seen the competition fall apart,” Wolff said. “You can see that Red Bull was struggling all through the weekend, and then they had a pretty decent race car, a car that didn’t look like it could start and the mechanics did a really awesome job in the car there.
“The gaps are nothing. If you look at the drivers’ points standings, it’s 30 points after three races that we have with Lewis to Max, so you have one DNF, and the gap is gone. You just need to keep going.”
Mercedes was nearly a second clear of the field in qualifying in Hungary — a track Red Bull was expected to be particularly strong on. Wolff says there’s no one area that the team has excelled in since last season, but rather sees improvements in all departments.
“I think it’s never one thing — is the aerodynamic concept right, or was the engine development done with the right strategies. It’s a multitude of points that come together, different aspects coming together, it’s the investment in the right resource, it’s the amount of innovation that we’re able to extract from our research and development.
“Fundamentally, it all comes down to the people that are in charge. We have seen over the years that generation after generation have come up, have taken responsibility and accountability and have added to the team’s performance, and it is not only on the engineering side which we talk all the time, but it’s in every single area. It’s marketing, it’s communications, it’s social media, it’s sponsorship — this is what makes the team more successful I believe.
“Nevertheless, we mustn’t be carried away with thinking that we are the greatest, because then you start quickly losing.”