Williams 'inching closer' to Mercedes - Smedley
Rob Smedley says Williams is moving closer to challenging Mercedes outright and says its current position in the pecking order was gained on merit rather than other teams slipping up.
Williams has already targeted victory at Spa and Monza, races which suit the strengths of the car. Since its breakthrough weekend in Austria Williams has been the most consistent team to challenge Mercedes' pace over a weekend but head of vehicle performance Smedley thinks the team still has work to do to bridge the gap further.
"If you take Mercedes as the benchmark - and they are the benchmark as they are doing a by far the best job of anyone - obviously we are not a threat to them but we are inching closer to them which is really heartening to see with all the effort going in," Smedley said.
Smedley also believes Williams' current position is all the more impressive considering its other main rivals have not made clear steps forward in terms of outright pace.
"If you look at the reality of the situation, then between against Mercedes, against Red Bull and against Ferrari, has that order really changed over the course of the year? Have you seen a big change in that? If you look go away and look at the numbers and the percentage lap times - qualifying and race - I haven't really seen a big change in that.
"I've seen McLaren get a little bit better, I've seen us get better, so the order is changing due to the performance and the way we are operating the car, not particularly because other people are going backwards."