Mercedes full of encouragement after going from ‘nowhere’ to ‘right in the mix’

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton qualifies for the US Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton qualified third for the US Grand Prix on Sunday.

Lining up third on the United States Grand Prix grid following a podium in the Sprint, Toto Wolff says Mercedes have gone from “nowhere” to be “right in the mix”.

Last season Mercedes had a mixed weekend at the Circuit of The Americas as the team’s best-placed driver Lewis Hamilton qualified six-tenths down on the Ferrari pole-sitter.

He fought back to record a podium finish where he was P2 in the Grand Prix behind Max Verstappen.

Mercedes target a ‘strong podium’

This season, with a new floor bolted onto the bottom of his W14, Hamilton was just 0.139s down on the Ferrari pole-sitter with the team hoping to turn that into another podium finish, if not a victory.

Mercedes have not won a Grand Prix this season despite recording six podium results with runner-up results to Verstappen in Australia and Canada the Brackley squad’s best performances.

But showing good pace at the Circuit of the Americas, Hamilton second in Saturday’s Sprint, Wolff is encouraged.

“I’m in two minds here because we had such a massive gap on this kind of track to our competitors because we went nowhere last year, I think it was six-tenths, and now we’re right in the mix,” the Austrian told Sky Sports.

“So that’s a good step.

“I think if we are able to have a little bit of a better performance who knows, we fight for a strong podium.”

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As for Hamilton, who will line up in third place on the grid to George Russell’s P5, he says this weekend’s results are proof Mercedes are making progress.

“For us to be this close in Austin just shows that we are progressing as a team and we can really take that as a real positive,” he said.

“I think we just got to, you know, hopefully, we’re in a good position to apply some pressure to the leaders.

“It’s all very close so we’ll wait and see but I’m hoping I can hold on to it.”

Hamilton will start the United States Grand Prix 27 points behind Sergio Perez in the fight to finish runner-up in the Drivers’ standings with the Briton having taken another three points off the Mexican driver’s advantage in the Sprint.

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