'Sceptical' Mercedes taking nothing for granted despite lead

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff says the outfit must approach each event with “a healthy dose of scepticism” despite its advantage in both championships.

Mercedes’ performance level fluctuated across the three Asian rounds but Lewis Hamilton claimed victories in Singapore and Japan, sandwiching a second-place in Malaysia, as Ferrari hit trouble.

The trio of events enabled Hamilton to build a 59-point lead over Sebastian Vettel in the Drivers' Championship, with Mercedes now 145 points clear of Ferrari, leaving it on the brink of a fourth straight Constructors' crown.

However, Wolff says that Mercedes has not allowed its results to “disguise” the setbacks it has faced, and insists the outfit is taking nothing for granted.

“[There are] still four races to go and 100 points to score: we can take nothing for granted as we fly to Austin this week,” he said.

“We approach every race with a healthy dose of scepticism rather than wishful thinking, and our focus must be on making sure we score every point within our reach this weekend in Austin.

“Since we began the final flyaway leg of the season, we have seen a strong points swing in our favour in both championships.

“Good fortune has played its part, of course – and we have put ourselves in the right position to make the most of the opportunities that have come our way.

“But nobody within the team is allowing those good results to disguise the challenges we have faced.”

Wolff underlined that Mercedes has been able to gain lessons from recent displays, and believes that the outfit will emerge stronger, both in 2017 and 2018, due to the low points.

“We returned from those races with a lot more understanding of our car and of the reasons for the performance swings we have experienced this season,” he said.

“Some of that understanding is already being applied to the final races, some of it will flow into next year's project.

“But the bitter taste of our defeat in Malaysia once again confirmed that the tough days are the ones when you learn most – and when you lay the foundations for future success.”