Niki Lauda has ruled out Mercedes beating Red Bull to this year's title, saying the reigning Champs are just too "superior."
Lewis Hamilton's first win as a Mercedes driver last time out in Hungary closed the gap to Sebastian Vettel in the Drivers' Champion.
The 28-year-old climbed to 124 points, putting him 48 behind Vettel with 225 still to play for.
And although this has led to several F1 personalities proclaiming that Hamilton is in the hunt, Mercedes non-executive director Lauda insists this is not the case.
Asked by Auto Motor und Sport if Mercedes were in this year's title chase, the Austrian simply said: "No."
He added: "On paper the opportunities are there but in reality it is very difficult."
Pressed as to why, he said: "Red Bull are superior and they have a points advantage."
The reigning Champs have a "better overall package" while Lauda concedes that even when Red Bull don't have an aerodynamic advantage they are "still close behind."