Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas agree on what Mercedes must do to catch Max Verstappen

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Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are both united in their belief that Mercedes need to upgrade their W12 if they are to bridge the gap to title rivals Red Bull. Max Verstappen’s victory at the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday moves him 32 points clear of defending champion Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship.

The Dutchman is in fine form heading into the British Grand Prix at Silverstone next up having won four of the last five races, his team-mate Sergio Perez reaching the chequered flag first in the other.

Hamilton is looking to clinch a record-breaking eighth world title this season but Mercedes’ monopoly of Formula One is facing its biggest ever test in the sport’s turbo hybrid engine era.

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F1 takes a weekend off before returning at Silverstone on July 18 but Hamilton and Bottas both insist the Silver Arrows must introduce some new parts to their machinery to help catch up to Red Bull.

Verstappen cruised to an easy victory at the Red Bull Ring much to the delight of the legion of orange-clad Dutch fans in the grandstands.

And Bottas told Sky Sports F1 post-race: “I think the whole race was pretty strong. I think overall where I started from fifth to finish second was the absolute maximum we could get today.

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“At least we could grab some points against Red Bull. Max was definitely out of reach but otherwise it was OK.

“On this track, they’ve been clearly quicker, no doubt. We’ve made a bit of damage limitation here as a team. We haven’t had a massive points deficit in the last two races, that’s what we needed to do.

“We need to look at the big picture. We need to improve the car and gain straight-line speed. The car needs to be more efficient aerodynamic wise.

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“Silverstone we’ll have some new parts and hopefully that’ll give us a step and we can really fight with them. It is a different track.

“This track was really good for Red Bull. Let’s see. We’ll be working hard, I can guarantee that.”

Hamilton said similar to his team-mate and insists upgrades are needed if he is to get back in the championship fight with Verstappen, having not won a race since Spain on May 9.

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The British seven-time champion admitted frankly: “We’re miles away from them. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We need all hands on deck, which I know they already are.

“They’ve brought a lot of upgrades clearly over these last few races. We haven’t brought any. We’ve got to bring some and find as much performance as possible otherwise this will be the result most often.”

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Asked if Mercedes are targeting any areas in particular to help address the pace difference between themselves and Red Bull, Hamilton added: “That’s something you’d have to ask the team. I’m pretty sure they know.”

While team principal Toto Wolff reflected: “Here is quite a short lap so two-and-a-half tenths makes a big difference. Silverstone is maybe a bit different.

“It’s a little step and every little step counts. We could see the improvement from last week to here in terms of race pace. That was from understanding the car a little bit more.

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“There are more clues we’ve looked at and I think we’re going to progress and eventually be in the race again. I’m always a sceptical person and I’m a glass half empty than half full.

“But we’re one DNF away from being right there in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship. This is far from over.

“Morale is good. We have to be working on these feelings actively. If you come from having seven world championship titles, everything looks like a defeat whatever result you have.

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“This is the switch in mindset we need to achieve now. Today we finished second and fourth, it’s not the end of the world, you can see how happy McLaren are about their position and we just need to recognise this is a tough, tough championship.

“This is the Formula One world championship and you can’t expect every single year to cruise away into the sunset. We will make everything that’s needed to make sure Red Bull don’t do exactly that.”

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