Mercedes no longer expects to be always at the front - Wolff

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Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has effectively conceded his team's run of domination is over, claiming he no longer expects to always see his cars at the front.

Before this season many were questioning whether the new rules would allow their main rivals the opportunity to end the German manufacturer's run of success, that extends back to 2014.

The answer to that has been yes, with Ferrari emerging equal to if not slightly ahead of Mercedes, even if the Brackley-based outfit remains firmly in contention for regular wins.

“This is the reality of the situation now," Wolff claimed. "We have to fight with all that we are worth for every single win, pole position, podium finish and every point. You can no longer expect that when you look at a timesheet the two Mercedes will be right at the top.

"I had an encounter on Sunday afternoon in Monaco with someone I really respect who asked how I felt after the defeat. I told them how much it hurt and their response was ‘that's motor racing’."

Not only has Ferrari's ability to better interpret the 2017 design rules helped the Scuderia become more competitive, but Mercedes admit they have more weaknesses than in the last few years, particularly the tyres.

“We've come into this season with a strong car that has allowed us to win three of the first six races but it has also caused us more complications than we have seen in previous years,” Wolff explained.

"Everybody at the factories is working absolutely flat out to assess the current difficulties we are facing - to define our objectives, work with the data we have and then come up with the right solutions.

“Some of these fixes will be short term, others may take longer.”

But he was confident that a recovery would happen eventually, comparing the situation they face now to the last time they had a race where they were not competitive.

“We've had bruising weekends before and it's about showing resilience and getting up after falling,” Toto said.

“I remember the troubles we had in Singapore in 2015, which hurt badly. We gave ourselves a deadline to address that setback before switching our focus to the next race in Suzuka, which we won.

“We've done exactly the same thing after Monaco - addressing the problems before turning our attention to Montréal. We know that this season is a marathon, not a sprint.”

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