The Mercedes Formula 1 team is still trying to fully understand its upgraded aerodynamic package, although it is confident the update will perform as hoped.

Mercedes introduced a major aero upgrade last time out at Hockenheim, including a cooling update to improve its overheating weakness, but mixed weather conditions and a nightmare race meant drawing any clear conclusions proved difficult.

Despite its significant development, the Mercedes duo were beaten to pole position for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton insisted his side’s update is not a “negative at all”, but suspects Mercedes’ rivals are developing at a “steeper pace”.

“We are still trying to understand it,” Hamilton said.

“I think there are bits of it that are better and bits of it that are the same. So as I said the other day, we’re just constantly trying to understand it and improve it and I don’t think it’s a negative at all.

“We definitely have moved forward but clearly the others continue to move forward at the same time, at a steeper pace, maybe.”

Bottas, who missed out on his fifth pole of 2019 by just 0.018s, stressed Mercedes’ latest upgrade has been a “reasonable step forward”.

“Based on everything we saw with the new package and analysis after last weekend as well it’s working as it should, so it’s a reasonable step forward in terms of downforce and efficiency,” he explained.

“I guess other teams are moving ahead as well, forward as well with the performance but for sure we kind of expected to have a bit of a step compared to others but I think they are improving as well.

“It’s still a development race for quite some while before things are done.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he is “100 percent sure” the aero update will deliver the expected performance once the team is able to get on top of extracting its full potential.

“We are 100 percent sure that the upgrade delivers on the downforce, but like any major change, tuning the car is not always trivial,” Wolff added.

“Therefore, we hope that a front wing compare would help us in understanding and it did. But at the end, both drivers decided to run the new configuration for qualifying.”

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