Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes Haas had an advantage over the Silver Arrows at the Austrian Grand Prix due to their pace in a straight line.
The Red Bull Ring is predominantly a power track, so it requires good engine performance as well as a chassis catered to pace in a straight line, and the latter is something Mercedes have struggled with this year.
The turbulence caused by the chassis under the new technical regulations had been causing “porpoising” at the beginning of the year, before they lowered the ride height and encountered bottoming as the floor whacked the track surface.
Now, the Silver Arrows appear to have come across a new phase of the W13’s evolution – it did not seem as though Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were being thrown around the cockpit in Spielberg on Saturday, but the car is poor on the straights due to drag.
This was evidenced by the seven-time champion being out-dragged by the Haas of Mick Schumacher as he battled for eighth, and he eventually passed the German.
However, his battle took too long for him to have a look at passing the other Haas of Kevin Magnussen, so he had to settle for one point.
That came after both he and Russell had crashed in Friday’s qualifying session, leaving them fourth and ninth on the grid respectively.
The 24-year-old ended where he started and collected five points as both cars took at least something away from the race, but Wolff is frustrated that the pace of the Brackley-built car is still not where they want it to be.
“It’s a fight for position and they have an advantage because we are so draggy,” the Austrian told Sky Sports.
“Still disappointing, we are just lacking pace here.
“Contrary to what we had in the previous races where we were really good on Sundays. Here, somehow it didn’t come.”
Russell was on his own for the majority of the afternoon, and he was not troubled by Sergio Perez, who had recovered from 13th on the grid after a track limits penalty after qualifying to finish fifth.
The four-time podium finisher was thankful for the work his mechanics had done overnight to fix his car after the qualifying accident.
“I spent most of my race watching the TV screens around the track, watching the battling going on,” explained Russell.
“It was a bit of a long race, we didn’t expect to have the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari but we were probably a bit further behind than we had anticipated.
“But the team did an amazing job to get both cars on track, and yesterday that was my biggest concern – we are not flush for loads of spare parts, as everyone on this grid.
“And obviously the mistake was one thing but the spares were another, but they did a great job to repair it.”
Max Verstappen won the race ahead of the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, and the Dutchman will start Sunday’s race on pole.