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Mercedes can still stop Red Bull's F1 title charge "if we perform at our best"

Mercedes is adamant that it can still overhaul Red Bull and win this year's Formula 1 world championship if it performs at its best.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, 3rd position, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, and Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2nd position, arrive in Parc Ferme

Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Max Verstappen's triumph at the French Grand Prix helped him and Red Bull extend their lead in F1's title battles.

On a weekend when Red Bull's straightline speed advantage was believed to have played a pivotal role in its victory over Mercedes, there are growing indications that the Milton Keynes-based team now has a pace advantage.

But while Mercedes chases answers about how it got its strategy wrong at Paul Ricard on Sunday, the team is adamant that the season is far from lost.

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin is convinced that his team has everything it needs to still win the title, but he knows it cannot sit back and expect an easy time.

"The way we look at it is this team at its best can beat Red Bull," he said. "I think [in France] we saw that the opportunities we missed were the difference.

"We know it's going to be difficult. We think that they [Red Bull] are the favourites. Clearly they've got a very good package, but if we perform at our best we can beat them and we can win the championship."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

Mercedes appeared to have the race pace to be able to beat Red Bull at Paul Ricard, but it crucially lost track position at the first stops after miscalculating the strength of the undercut.

Shovlin says that the slim competitive differences between his team and Red Bull mean that there is no room for errors in the way races are executed.

Which is why, having had a car that was capable of winning in France, losing out to Red Bull on the strategy front was especially frustrating.

"It is annoying, because I think we could have won the race," added Shovlin. "I think we could have had two cars on the podium.

"We're in a championship where we can't really afford to let these opportunities go by. We've got a good race car, and we showed that [in the race].

"I think we're lacking a bit in qualifying, but in terms of the race, on a normal circuit, we are able to put them under pressure. But we know that to do that, to win races, we've got to be next to perfect.

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"There's plenty of things that we can go away and reflect on and say that we didn't do a good enough job with. We're pretty good at being brutal with ourselves and analysing it.

"So we're going to do that for a couple of days and hopefully come back in Austria stronger."

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