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Mercedes left to 'question everything' over rival surprise

The improvements shown by Aston Martin and McLaren place emphasis on Mercedes' own improvement.

Hamilton Belgium
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Mercedes Chief Technical Officer Mike Elliott has conceded the team has been forced to 'question everything' in the wake of major steps being made by rivals.

Aston Martin propelled itself into the race for second in the Constructors' standings over the winter, with Fernando Alonso securing six podiums in the opening 10 races for the Silverstone-based outfit.

Though Mercedes eventually overhauled its engine customer with an upgrade of its own, McLaren's recent update has seen the Woking-based team rise from sixth or seventh-fastest team - as revealed by Lando Norris - to a firm challenger for second at the previous three race weekends.

On how Mercedes can react to the moves made by rivals, Elliott told media including RacingNews365: "You question everything.

"You question whether you have the right fundamental philosophies, you question whether you've got the right processes in the way you're looking at the data.

"You'd like to think there is some silver bullet you can find, something that's wrong that you can fix but generally speaking, it's all about hard work.

"If you look at were we were last year with the car and issues we faced, we took quite a few big steps backwards to get ourselves out of some of the positions we were in.

"Then once you're there, it is just catch up."

Opoortunities to make good steps

Mercedes has made moves from a frustrating campaign last season, where it began well off the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari.

With a gap in performance remaining to its Milton Keynes-based rivals, however, Elliott has found the positives in McLaren and Aston Martin's own improvements.

"If you look at where we are performance-wise, Aston made a good step over the winter but we've got ourselves into a decent position," said Elliott.

"Unfortunately, we see McLaren also make a big step and you have to look at that and say that on the one hand, it is disappointing for us but on the other hand, it shows there are opportunities to make good steps."

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