‘We’ve got a real fight on our hands’ – Mercedes

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Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff says the team have a “real fight” to secure the lucrative runner-up spot in the constructors’ championship.

With Red Bull poised to win the title for the fourth year running, Mercedes are embroiled in a battle with Ferrari and Lotus to claim second place.

There’s been ten points or less between Mercedes and Ferrari for the last four races. But Lotus are creeping up on both of them, and now all three are covered by a margin of 33 with up to 172 up for grabs before the end of the year.

“The last three races have shown us that we have a real fight on our hands to secure second place in the constructors’ championship,” Wolff acknowledged, “”but also that we have the performance to achieve our goal if we consistently deliver the full potential of the car”.

Although Mercedes appear to have lost the competitive edge which saw them take pole position for eight out of nine races at one point earlier this year, Wolff believes they are in good shape for the run-in to the end of the season.

“We have no reason to fear any of the upcoming circuits, as we have been strong on all types of track so far this season,” he said.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”