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    Wolff: Red Bull far away from Mercedes, but development encouraging

    Mercedes enjoyed a much more promising Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with both cars in the top five.

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    Toto Wolff is trying to remain optimistic that Mercedes can catch Red Bull at some point in the 2023 Formula 1 season.

    Red Bull were again dominant in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as Sergio Perez claimed victory and Max Verstappen charged through to second from 15th on the grid.

    The Silver Arrows eventually claimed third with George Russell after Fernando Alonso was slapped with a post-race penalty, but they were nearly 30 seconds behind the two Red Bulls at the chequered flag.

    “The direct competitor (Red Bull) is very far away,” Wolff told the media. “That’s not something that is going to be easy to catch.

    “Today, we have seen directionally that our development is heading the way we want it to go.”

    Unhappy Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton completed a decent evening for Mercedes by bringing his W14 home in fifth place although he was only three-tenths of a second behind Alonso after his penalty was applied.

    The seven-time world champion was not happy with the hard tyres and then had to carry his mediums a very long way to the flag as a result of an early safety car but there are more significant issues that are concerning him.

    “We have a fundamental issue that he is not happy with,” Wolff continued. “That is linked to the way he feels and the rear of the car is.

    “It’s not something that can be cured quickly but the drivers are the most important sensors in the car. They tell us what they feel and we need to consider that.”

    While the safety car didn’t help Hamilton, it really didn’t help Ferrari who had both pitted prior to the caution and therefore ended up behind both Mercedes cars.

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