Title now against the odds for Mercedes, says Wolff

Lewis Hamilton stands 32 points behind Red Bull's Dutch youngster Max Verstappen, who has won five of nine races including the last three, and Mercedes is 44 points adrift of its Honda-powered rival.

Formula One champion Mercedes is fighting against the odds now in its title battle with Red Bull, team boss Toto Wolff said after Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix dealt a fifth successive defeat.   -  Getty Images

Formula One champions Mercedes are fighting against the odds now in their title battle with Red Bull, team boss Toto Wolff said after Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix dealt a fifth successive defeat.

Once-dominant Mercedes started the season chasing their eighth consecutive constructors' championship and with Lewis Hamilton seeking an unprecedented eighth drivers' title.

Hamilton is now 32 points behind Red Bull's Dutch youngster Max Verstappen, who has won five of nine races including the last three, and Mercedes are 44 points adrift of their Honda-powered rivals.

READ: Verstappen celebrates 'insane' win in Austria to pull clear in title race

"We are fighting a tough battle at the moment, against all odds as it stands," Wolff told reporters at the Red Bull Ring.

"It is against the odds for us now, and that's clear because they have an overall performance advantage.
"All these years I tried to keep our feet on the ground by not being carried away with performance and now I need to do the opposite."

Wolff recognised the momentum was going in the wrong direction but said Mercedes would fight to the end and needed to stay optimistic.

"There are 13 or 14 races to go, we are one DNF (retirement) away from Red Bull, no more, and we've lost more points than we should have lost to our own mistakes ... we need to just get our act together overall.

"This is so far from over ... we just need to up our game, make less mistakes and continue to understand the car better and then we are still massively and absolutely in the hunt."

Hamilton has turned around big deficits before as a Mercedes driver fighting for the title, but this is the biggest he has faced against a rival from outside his own team.

In 2017 the Briton was 25 points behind Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel after six races, and still 20 adrift after the Austrian Grand Prix which was then also round nine.

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