Mercedes boss Toto Wolff wants his team’s underperformance at the Canadian Grand Prix to act as “a major wake-up call” given its Formula 1 rivals' stronger challenge in 2018.

Wolff saw Valtteri Bottas have to settle for second place behind winner Sebastian Vettel for Ferrari, who has taken the F1 world drivers’ championship lead off Lewis Hamilton, with the British driver struggling to fifth place with both tyre performance and cooling issues with his Mercedes at the Canadian GP.

With Mercedes outperformed in Canada at a circuit it has dominated in recent years, having taken three consecutive wins in the past three seasons, team principal Wolff has issued a warning to his team but accepts the change in pecking order is largely down to gains by its rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.

“I think this is a major wake up call for every single member of the team,” Wolff said. “Everybody needs to assess how to improve performance in order to optimize on those marginal gains, because those marginal gains are going to make all the difference.

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“The margins have become so tight that if you look at the fastest lap of the race there’s five cars within a tenth. This is why this year’s world championship will be decided by the team who makes the least mistakes, brings the best development on the engine every single weekend.

“That is the new reality. Six cars can win races and it’s a three-way fight. You can’t take anything for granted and think it will be a walk in the park. That’s the kind of wake-up call you get.”

“I think you need to get the right balance between pushing development very hard, adding performance to the car and at the same time keeping reliability. This team has been extremely strong in the past, keeping the reliability at a high level. That is not the part that worries me.

“We have seen Ferrari that has been the stronger car, stronger in qualifying, stronger in the race, and at no time did we have a real chance to fight for the win.”

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