Lewis Hamilton said that Mercedes need to make urgent improvements to keep their championship holes alive, after coming a distant second to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in today’s Styrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was easily able to fend off a move by Hamilton into turn 1 and after that was soon able to pull out a big lead over his title rival that lasted all the way ot the finish

Although Hamilton made a late extra pit stop in a successful bid for the bonus point for setting the fastest lap, he was acutely aware that Mercedes had no answer for the Red Bull today.

  • RACE REPORT: ‘Just perfect’ Verstappen storms to fourth win of 2021

“It was a bit of a lonely race really,” he told the media in parc ferme immediately after the finish.

“I was trying to keep up with those guys. But the speed they have, they’ve obviously made some big improvements over the last couple of races and it’s impossible to keep up.

“I don’t know where we lose all the time but I think the long run seem to be a bit better,” he noted.

“They seem to be able to continue pulling out those laps – obviously on the straight, we lose a lot down the straight, or it feels like we lose a lot on the straights.

“Naturally they’re faster so there is not a lot that I can do in that respect,” he admitted. “I’ve just got to keep trying to just do the best job I can each weekend.

“We need to find some performance, we really need to, we need an upgrade of some sort, we need to push.

“I don’t know where, whether it’s just the rear wing or whether it’s the upgrade in the engine, whatever it may be, but we’ve got to find some performance somewhere.”

However Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff this weekend reiterated that there were no plans to deviate from its current 2022 development schedule for 2022 by redeploying resources back to this year’s campaign.

Today’s race means that Verstappen has extended his lead in the drivers championship to 18 points.

“We got the points as a team today and we just got to keep pushing,” Hamilton insisted.

Meanwhile Red Bull now has a 40 point advantage in the constructors standings after Valtteri Bottas overcame a three place grid penalty to pip a two-stopping Sergio Perez to third in a tight battle in the closing laps.

“I think from where I started, this was the maximum today, so it’s good,” Bottas said. “It was getting pretty close at the end [with Perez], it was the best thing they could try, and it nearly worked.

“I’m glad we could defend and I’m happy to be on the podium again,” he added. “It was important to be in between [Red Bull’s] two cars, to be in the points,”

“Bit of damage limitation, and good thing we get to do all this again next week.”

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