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How Mercedes plan to overcome their main performance deficit

Mercedes have been edging closer to the front of the F1 field in recent races, but team boss Toto Wolff admits there are still some key deficits to turn around.

Toto Wolff has tasked Mercedes with reducing their car's drag as the 2022 season develops, as the team look to join the fight for pole positions and race wins. Mercedes have been playing catch up since the start of the campaign, and F1's rules reset, mainly due to the W13 encountering severe porpoising. But while significant progress has been made in terms of managing porpoising and bouncing in general, Mercedes have found themselves down on top speed compared to their rivals. During the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, Lewis Hamilton could again be heard over the radio lamenting how quick other cars were on the straights, with the Ferraris and Honda-powered Red Bulls still out of reach.

Mercedes want less drag and more power

Asked in an interview with Sky Sports F1 about how easy it was for Max Verstappen to pass Hamilton after making a pit-stop at the Red Bull Ring, Wolff admitted Mercedes still have plenty to work on. "I think there was a tyre difference obviously at that stage also, but we're lacking speed on the straight," he said. "I think we are much too draggy... maybe much is too much! But we are draggy." After George Russell's qualifying crash forced him to switch to a different rear wing, Wolff doubled down: "Even more draggy on George's car! The only rear wing left was a barn door that we put on there... "But we are too draggy and we seem to be lacking power here, for the first time again, [after] these last few races were really strong – maybe it's the altitude. "It's something that all the guys at HPP (Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains) will analyse and for sure compensate in the next races."

Russell, Hamilton working well together

Wolff also paid tribute to Russell and Hamilton for the way they have worked together amid Mercedes' struggles. Asked about their relationship after half a season together, the Austrian described the dynamic as "very good". "I think they understand that the enemy number one is a car that's not performing like it should, [and] we need to get there," Wolff added. "Their personalities, their characters and their mindset is just very special. "Even if it can get heated, because the competition is on and we allow that, I think overarching is always gonna be the good character – nothing vicious, nothing underhand."

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