Wolff wants strong Mercedes finish
3:22pm Wednesday 20th August 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Mercedes are ready to grind their rivals into the dirt over the second half of the Formula One season en route to clinching both the drivers' and constructors' championships.
That is the warning from motorsport boss Toto Wolff ahead of the sport's return from its summer break in Spa this weekend for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have already turned the race for the drivers' crown into a two-horse affair, winning nine of the 11 races to date.
Daniel Ricciardo, the only other competitor to take the chequered flag, is the best of the rest, but 71 points adrift of Rosberg and 60 shy of Hamilton.
In the battle for the constructors' title, Mercedes are on course to shatter Red Bull's record haul of 650 since the new points format was introduced in 2010.
The Brackley-based marque currently have 393, and are 174 ahead of reigning champions Red Bull, whose four-year reign is destined to come to an end.
Despite Mercedes' domination to date, Wolff wants more, in particular given the technical gremlins that occurred before the recess, notably blighting Hamilton's charge.
"Looking ahead to Spa, and reflecting on our recent performances, it is clear reliability must be a key focus for the team if we are to maintain the hard-earned advantage established in the opening stages of the year," said Wolff.
"We approach the remaining eight races with the firm target of making this next phase of the season even better than what we have achieved so far.
"Although the team has done a fantastic job, we are fully aware this championship is far from decided, as demonstrated clearly in Hungary by the performance of some of our competitors.
"As always, we are taking nothing for granted."
Of key interest will be how Wolff handles the battle between his two championship protagonists, especially after the team orders furore that unfolded in Hungary.
The air is supposed to have been cleared, but given the hair-trigger nature of the title fight, both drivers will see any advantage and every point gained as critical.
Rosberg, who felt himself to be the aggrieved party last time out, said: "The last race didn't turn out how I had hoped after taking pole in tricky conditions the day before.
"But I still managed to come away with my championship lead intact, and that's a good place to be heading into the next part of the year.
"Although we have had a great start with plenty of good results, that race showed the other teams are never too far away.
"In Formula One you just can't afford to give away any advantage and I know both the team and myself will be working harder than ever to keep improving and maintain our position right to the very end.
"On top of that, the battle with Lewis has been so close all season - and it could well stay that way right up to the final race - so every last point will be crucial in that contest too."
As for Hamilton, the 29-year-old can only hope the wretched luck that ran against him late on in the first half of the year is now finally behind him.
"I had some difficult weekends in the first part of the season," said Hamilton.
"But then a bit of good fortune at the last race in Budapest kept me from damaging my car on the wall during that first lap, so hopefully that was a sign my fortunes are changing at just the right time.
"There were so many positives to take from the opening 11 races, but both myself and the team always want more and know we are capable of more.
"The aim is to put the more difficult times of some of the previous weekends behind us and to recreate the best moments at every race from now on."