Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff admits his team is “not making a lot of new friends” amid its continued dominance at the start of the 2020 season.

The reigning world champion squad has taken every pole position and victory on offer so far at the Austrian, Styrian and Hungarian rounds, while Lewis Hamilton led a record 66th front-row lock out in qualifying for this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

Hamilton was a full second clear of the first non-Mercedes driver, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, on Saturday at Silverstone.

Wolff said Mercedes’ increasing level of dominance has left it under attack from its rivals “on every front”.

"I think when you look at sports teams, their success, when it kind of tails off and goes, I think it's when you get complacent, when you start taking things for granted, or when the team dissipates,” Wolff told Channel 4.

"At the moment, we have a very strong team. We're all aligned. We have the same values and objectives and we want to stay together. But this is no guarantee for the future.

"I guess with that kind of performance, we're not making a lot of new friends. So we are getting attacks on every front and everything is being questioned.

"That is another fight we need to sustain, but I guess you'd rather have that than the people having pity on you."

And Wolff stressed Mercedes’ self-critical approach and mindset has been key to its success.

"You know if we would've had that mindset, I don't think we would have won the championships that we have," he added.

"We are permanently self-critical and doubting ourselves, and that has pushed us forwards. Now, today's qualifying session is really good. There is nothing to say to that and I am just so proud about the job the team has done.

"But tomorrow is race day and I hope we can carry the momentum forward and we can bring the race to a happy ending like we did in qualifying.

"The only downside that I've seen this weekend was that we were not as competitive when it got hot. It will be a topic next week. Another 30 degrees weekend in the UK and then Barcelona."

Speaking in his later media call after qualifying, Wolff insisted there was not one single factor behind the team’s performance gains this year.

“We are on a pretty similar aerodynamic slope as we have been on in previous years, but it’s about understanding the tyres,” he explained.

“We were stretched so much on the power unit last year and the step we have made with the power unit has contributed also to our performance this year.

“There is not one factor that creates that sort of gap, it’s just putting all those marginal gains together.

“We haven’t gained three-tenths on the tyres, we haven’t gained three-tenths on the power unit, and we haven’t gained three-tenths more than any other off-season development on aero, it’s just we’ve put things together.”

 

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