Despite the improvements made in recent weeks, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has affirmed that the team are still lacking fundamental pace compared to Ferrari and Red Bull.
Between them, George Russell and Sir Lewis Hamilton have managed seven podium finishes this season in a campaign that has seen them struggle with “porpoising” and bouncing as a result of the new technical regulations.
However, the ground effect phenomenon has begun to become less of an issue for the Silver Arrows in recent rounds of the season, and four consecutive third-placed finishes will have been a welcome run of form.
Hamilton looked on to challenge the Ferrari pair of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc for the win at the British Grand Prix, so their race pace is improving, even if the typically difficult race in Spielberg saw another fairly significant gap to the leaders.
“At Silverstone, if you look at our metrics, we had the fastest race car, we were pretty competitive in Barcelona, too,” said Wolff.
“In Austria, we were more competitive in qualifying, in the race, we had a combination between too much drag and it seemed like we were lacking a tiny bit of power.
“Overall, Austria was never a happy track for us, predominantly over the last eight years that we have been successful in the championship.
“It was the one track where we struggled, so from that perspective, I am okay with how it went.
“In the sprint, we were really stuck in no man’s land, and in the race, we were maybe stuck in no man’s land from the positioning on the track but the lap times were at least competitive.
“So the truth is that I think yes is the answer, we are putting things together slowly but surely and that would be the target.”
The ride of the W13 is smoother and therefore easier to setup, theoretically simpler to get into an operating window, and more competitiveness.
However, getting rid of bouncing does not change the fact that Red Bull and Ferrari are plainly quicker.
“I think that is pure performance,” added Wolff.
“The porpoising I think we have got on top of. If we were to go back to Monaco and to Baku, we wouldn’t be great.
“But we would, for sure, not have the problems we saw a few weeks ago.”
Max Verstappen leads Charles Leclerc by 38 points heading into round 12 in France this weekend, with Perez and Sainz following in third and fourth respectively.
Russell continues to sit fifth ahead of his compatriot Hamilton, but Red Bull boss Christian Horner has indicated that the Silver Arrows will be “contenders” at Paul Ricard this weekend.