Red Bull showed a "phenomenal" rate of recovery at the Australian Grand Prix, according to Mercedes executive director (business) Toto Wolff.

While Sebastian Vettel suffered reliability issues, Daniel Ricciardo qualified on the front row and finished second in the race before he was later excluded for a breach of fuel flow regulations. However, the performance was a huge step forward compared to the team's struggles in testing and Wolff said Mercedes would not be resting on its laurels despite having a big advantage because teams like Red Bull can make such rapid progress.

"I don't think you can every lean back and say that this is a comfortable buffer," Wolff said. "In a regular season you would have about two seconds of development curve from the beginning to the end of the season. So with these new cars the development curve is going to be even steeper. Considering that fact, an advantage can quickly turn in to not an advantage anymore within a couple of races.

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"If you look at some of the teams and their development curve it was quite phenomenal what Red Bull managed to achieve."

And Wolff also said he expects a sustained challenge from Williams over the next few races after it was unable to show its pace in Melbourne, with Felipe Massa being taken out at the start and Valtteri Bottas getting a puncture.

"If you look at Valtteri's pace before he hit the wall - and then his steering wheel was not completely straight - and then his pace afterwards, I would say if they have a normal race and qualify better than [Melbourne] then probably they would have ended up on the podium. I'm quite sure they would have ended up on the podium."