Mika Hakkinen doesn't believe there's any chance of Mercedes finding a way to convincingly fight back against Red Bull before this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix.
The 1998 and 1999 World Champion, writing in his blog for Unibet, believes Red Bull remain out of touch after 'throwing everything' at the 2021 season.
"The way in which Max Verstappen controlled Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix and took a comfortable win over Lewis Hamilton showed just how strongly the Red Bull-Honda package has developed this year," Hakkinen wrote.
"I think they have done an incredible job, and Max is taking full advantage of it.
"Red Bull Racing has won the last four Grand Prixs, a really fantastic
performance and the kind of competition Mercedes has not experienced
"What we have seen is that Red Bull and Honda have put everything into
this season. A new engine and an aerodynamic package which takes
advantage of the change in aerodynamic regulations introduced this
year. That change has suited Red Bull’s design philosophy and worked
Hakkinen, during his F1 career, was no stranger to controlling races in the way Verstappen did at the Styrian Grand Prix and said he may get the chance to do so again in a few days.
"I used to love that kind of race because, while it is fun to race wheel-to wheel, being in control and knowing that you have a fantastic car under you is such a nice feeling. Max seems to be really enjoying it!" he said.
"While Mercedes is focusing on the development of their 2022 car, the decision by Red Bull and Honda to put everything into this year’s programme has given them a really big step forward in their performance. At the moment Mercedes seems to have no answer to this, and with only four days between the Styrian and Austrian Grand Prix, there is no reason to believe they can find a solution in time.
"Another win for Max next Sunday seems entirely likely, and while Mercedes can console themselves with podium finishes, that is not really the objective for drivers like Lewis, Valtteri and team boss Toto Wolff. They will need to find some solutions soon if this World Championship is not to get away from them during July and August."