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Mercedes' biggest strength was their weakness in Austria

Mercedes' biggest strength was their weakness in Austria

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Mercedes' biggest strength was their weakness in Austria

Mercedes' biggest strength was their weakness in Austria

Mercedes were left "rolling around, not racing" at the Austrian Grand Prix as their car's greatest strength in 2019 became a crucial weakness in scorching Spielberg.

The Silver Arrows arrived at the Red Bull Ring having won every race this season, in a run stretching back 10 races, one short of McLaren's all-time F1 record sequence.

Although the race was not as lamentable for Mercedes as 2018's double DNF in the Styrian mountains, they faded into the background as Max Verstappen beat Charles Leclerc to victory in a thrilling encounter.

Valtteri Bottas was a forgettable presence on the podium, having been unable to challenge Leclerc or hold Verstappen back on his charge through the field, while Lewis Hamilton came home fifth after suffering front wing damage.

Wolff revealed that Mercedes' extra-sleek W10, which had been balletic in its domination of the field prior to Austria, was simply unable to cope with the demands of blasting around the power-hungry Spielberg track in sweltering heat.

"That was really painful for us. Damage limitation," Wolff said.

"We knew that we had a real cooling issue on our car and it was worse than expected.

"You always try to have the most compact architecture and have an aerodynamic benefit but, if it compromises you like we saw, it is unraceable."

He added: "We already opened the bodywork as much as we could. The only other way to get the temperatures down was lift and coast.

"We knew we had a problem with the chassis cooling, that is our Achilles heel. But when we lose, that's really the best way to learn.

"But in my heart I was upset that we could not defend ourselves here, let alone attack. We had to lift and coast for 400 metres at a time to cool the car.

"That's rolling around, not racing. But while it was not a good day for us, it was a good day for Formula 1.

"Just as there are good and bad football games, it is obvious that Paul Ricard was not a good track layout for spectacular racing, but Spielberg made up for it."

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