Wolff: Mercedes car 'in the best place it's been all season'

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Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff is confident his team can sustain the momentum it has built in the last two races, thanks to a car that is now "in the best place it has been all season".

Although Red Bull's Max Verstappen still leads the Drivers' championship from Lewis Hamilton by 8 points ahead of the penultimate round o the 2021 campaign next weekend in Jeddah, the Dutchman was beaten fair and square by his arch-rival in Brazil and in Qatar.

The on-track rivalry this year between Red Bull and Mercedes quickly extended off the track, with bickering and quarreling involving both outfit's top brass taking place against a backdrop of intrigue and innuendo fueled by both camps.

But Mercedes heads to Jeddah with a theoretical upper hand over Red Bull, although the anticipated play book has been thrown out on several occasions this year.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12. 20.11.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Qatar Grand Prix, Doha, Qatar

"We are all excited to still be in the fight at this stage in the season, it's a privilege and a testament to our resilience when we see where we stood in the early summer," said Wolff in Mercedes' Saudi Arabia Grand Prix preview.

"Both titles are wide open, and our mission is clear.

"Last time out we saw a faultless drive by Lewis in Qatar, commanding the race from start to finish, and a strong recovery for Valtteri before the unfortunate puncture took him out of contention.

"The car has been performing well recently and is probably in the best place it has been all season, with the drivers confident to push it to the limit.

"That's encouraging for the final races and gives us strong momentum to take forward."

Formula 1's historical first visit to Saudi Arabia at a venue which no team is familiar with could throw up a few difficult challenges. Nevertheless, Wolff sees no reason why his team won't be "in the hunt" for a 124th win in Formula 1.

"Jeddah is another completely new challenge, an all-new track to get to grips with and a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to ensure we hit the ground running on Friday, because getting as much information as we can during those initial sessions will be vital," added the Austrian.

"It's a fast street circuit with long flat-out sections and several high-speed corners, lined by barriers meaning it'll be high risk and reward.

"We're more motivated than ever and we expect to be in the hunt, so we are all looking forward to the debut grand prix in Saudi Arabia."

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