Toto Wolff finally has some good news for Lewis Hamilton

After the first two races of the 2023 F1 season, just 12 points separate Aston Martin in second and Ferrari in fourth, with Mercedes sitting in third.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has stressed that the Silver Arrows remain “interested in closing” the mammoth gap to Red Bull, with the Austrian having shared that there are plenty of “promising” signs back at the factory in Brackley.

The Brackley-based team have endured a mixed start to the 2023 F1 season, with the side having been considerably off the pace at the season-opener in Bahrain.

At the Bahrain International Circuit, the best the team could manage was fifth for Lewis Hamilton and seventh for George Russell.

The Germans found themselves the fourth fastest team in Bahrain, whilst in Saudi Arabia it was a very different story.

READ: George Russell makes prediction which will alarm Lewis Hamilton

Russell claimed fourth at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit with Hamilton right behind in fifth, with Mercedes having been ahead of Ferrari in terms of race pace.

The gap from second to fourth in the pecking order is minimal as things currently stand, with Wolff expecting this close gap to have a “big effect on points scored” at the coming races.

“The progress we saw in Saudi Arabia was encouraging. We maximised the package we had and scored some solid points,” Wolff said.

“More importantly, we continued to learn and understand more about the W14 and our development direction. Everyone back at base has been hard at work to turn these learnings into performance.

Article continues below

“The signs we are seeing back at the factory are promising. We have got to take it step by step, though, and won’t get carried away until we see performance translated into lap time on track.

“The competitive order behind Red Bull is tight, with small margins having a big effect on points scored. There remains a significant gap to the front and that is ultimately what we are interested in closing.”

This weekend’s Australian Grand Prix marks an opportunity for Mercedes to again try and push towards the top three, with Russell having claimed his first podium for the Silver Arrows at Albert Park 12 months ago.

READ: Daniel Ricciardo gets back behind the wheel of a Red Bull

Wolff admits that as things stand Mercedes are certainly “not where we want to be” but that they will continue to push as hard as they can, in a bid to “score as many points as our potential currently allows”.

“Albert Park is a circuit with unique characteristics, which we will have to work hard to adapt to with the W14,” Wolff said.

“As always, we will look to maximise the car we have, and score as many points as our potential currently allows. We are not where we want to be – but that won’t stop us from racing hard and giving it everything we’ve got.”