Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff feels the battle with Ferrari for both 2018 championships is “far from over,” believing there is less of a performance gap between the two teams than it has seemed to be in recent races.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton can clinch his fifth F1 drivers’ title at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, while the team holds a 78-point advantage over Ferrari in the constructors’ championship, putting in on course to clinch its own fifth crown next weekend in Mexico.

Mercedes is on a run of six wins in the last seven races, with Ferrari appearing to have lost some of the performance edge that made it so competitive earlier in the season.

However, Wolff stressed that Mercedes’ advantage is not as great as it seems, meaning the team is taking nothing for granted heading to Austin this weekend.

“We could not have asked for a better result from the back-to-back races in Russia and Japan. We were able to extend our lead in both championships and the entire team delivered to a very high level,” Wolff said in Mercedes’ pre-race preview.

“While we didn't have the fastest car in the summer, we've seen the performance swing in our favour recently; however, it is closer than it looked in recent races. Ferrari have a strong car and they will keep on pushing until the very last corner in Abu Dhabi.

“They have been worthy opponents in the past 17 races and we have no reason to believe that this will change in the next four; just like us, they will fight fiercely for every point and position.’

Mercedes heads to Austin having won the last four races at the Circuit of The Americas, all courtesy of Hamilton, who has been defeated just once on American soil through his F1 career.

While the stats may work in Mercedes’ favour, Wolff said he is taking little comfort from where history is pointing.

“The battle is far from over, so we approach Austin the same way as every other race: take it one step at a time, focus on our job and make sure we bring performance and reliability to the track,” Wolff said.

“The Circuit of the Americas has been a good track for us ever since it was introduced in the F1 calendar, but past results have no impact on the current championship.

“Everyone in the team knows that we cannot take anything for granted, so we will be as diligent as ever, keep our heads down and work hard to get a good result in Texas.

“This championship fight has been exhilarating and we can't wait for the next chapter in the epic battle of silver and red.”

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