Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that the odds are stacked against the Silver Arrows in this year’s Championship battle, but he stressed that they are still within hunting distance.
While Wolff acknowledged that they lost points to Red Bull last time out in Austria and are trailing the Milton Keynes-based team by a sizeable margin, he emphasised that Hamilton is just one DNF away from almost entirely wiping out Verstappen’s lead in the standings.
“I think we lost more ground in previous races than we did,” Wolff said after the second race in Austria.
“Of course, losing 13 points or 14 points is not great but this is still the long game.
“It is against the odds for us now and this is clear because they have an overall performance advantage.
“But it is what I said before, all these years I have tried to keep our feet on the ground by not being carried away with performance and now I need to do the opposite.
“We are not going to give up at that stage of the season, we are not going to give up at any time unless it is not mathematically possible anymore to win this championship.
“Therefore, we need to see things optimistically rather than pessimistically like we have done in the past.”
Continuing, the Austrian said: “Of course, losing every point is a blow and [Hamilton] lost six points compared to finishing second [in Austria] and adding that all up is making the whole momentum going in the wrong direction.
“But this is so far from over. 32 points behind Max, that is a DNF away and he is in the hunt again.
“If we look at Baku and the potential and the other races just overall, we just need to up our game, make less mistakes and continue to understand the car better.
“Then we still [are] massively in the hunt,” he concluded.