Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says his team's current performance level is "totally unacceptable" after their difficult start to the Formula 1 season.
The Brackley outfit might have - somewhat fortuitously - grabbed third and fourth at the Bahrain season opener but in qualifying for Sunday's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, George Russell could only scrape sixth place on the grid while Lewis Hamilton finished down in a disastrous 16th, his worst qualifying performance in 13 years.
Hamilton said his car was "undriveable" during Saturday's qualifying, and those comments are sure to have raised further red flags among the Mercedes hierarchy.
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“I love competition, I always love competition,” Wolff said.
“We had a really strong run of eight years leading the pack – not always but we kind of managed our way into the lead – but this time feels a bit like 2013 where we just weren’t up to the speed of the Red Bulls and probably also the Ferraris.
“We kept fighting and this is how I feel at the moment. We need to fight.
“It is certainly totally unacceptable where we are on performance, we are third on the road, and sometimes not even like today [Saturday].
"It’s just not an option to stay where we are."
Wolff revealed that changes made to Hamilton's car were "a bit bolder" than those made to Russell's, but that they had not had the desired effect of even getting the Briton into Q2.
“You can see between Lewis’ and George’s performance there was not huge set-up changes that happened.
“But they were big enough to have dramatic consequence of the performance of the car, between going out in Q1 and making it solid into Q3.
“That’s why this car is tricky to set up, we had a lower drag rear wing, took the gurney off but still it wasn’t enough to shave more drag off the car, but generally I would say this isn’t a single problem.
“We have many parts of the car that don’t work, that we don’t understand, they don’t perform enough, and this is not where we all expect the car to be.”
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