Mercedes warns it is unlocking true pace

Mercedes warns it is unlocking true pace
By AutoSport

17/07/2017 at 12:08

Mercedes has warned its Formula 1 rivals that it is starting to get on top of its 2017 car following its British Grand Prix success.

Lewis Hamilton led every lap of Sunday's race at Silverstone and eventually headed a Mercedes one-two, with Valtteri Bottas advancing from ninth on the grid after a penalty for a gearbox change to finish second - although his charge was aided by a late tyre problem for Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Mercedes has now won three of the last four grands prix, and only missed out on victory in Azerbaijan after Hamilton's headrest worked itself loose during the race.

Hamilton closed to within a point of Ferrari's championship leader Sebastian Vettel with victory, and said the Silverstone weekend was the first where Mercedes had mastered its set-up.

"This weekend we've been able to exploit the full performance of our car, particularly on both cars, more so than any other race so far this year," he said.

"It's 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."

Why Silverstone will have terrified Ferrari

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff added he was cautious about the team's car now being labelled the fastest, but said Mercedes was starting to unleash the true potential of its W08.

"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 Autosport if he believed Mercedes now had the fastest car.

"It's tricky and our car is not always easy to set up, and we have become much better at doing so.

"It's 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 said the British Grand Prix was the first where Mercedes was noticeably faster than Ferrari.

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

"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.

"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 [at Silverstone]. It's great that it's happened so soon - for the midpoint of the season."