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Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Friday, 18 June 2010 14:32 UK

Mercedes can win Formula 1 title, says Ross Brawn

Ross Brawn
Brawn is refusing to give up on the title despite a slow start

Mercedes boss Ross Brawn believes his team are still capable of winning this season's Formula 1 world title.

The German-owned outfit have managed only two podium finishes this season, Nico Rosberg taking third place at the Malaysian and Chinese Grands Prix.

And Rosberg, Mercedes's highest-placed driver, is 35 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton of McLaren.

But Brawn insisted: "We are still within striking distance of the Championship leaders."

The 55-year-old captured the title with his own team, Brawn GP, last season - with Jenson Button crowned champion - before selling to Mercedes before the new campaign.

But while Brawn remained at the helm, his team have not stayed at the front of the pack as they have struggled to match the pace of rivals McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari.

606: DEBATE

McLaren have recorded one-twos in the previous two races to surge to the top of the standings - Hamilton leads Button by three points, with Red Bull's Mark Webber a further three points behind in third.

Rosberg lies in sixth place, with team-mate Michael Schumacher ninth - the seven-time champion, who returned to racing this year after three years in retirement is 75 points off the pace.

But Brawn is confident of closing the gap to the leaders, after seeing an encouraging performance by Rosberg in Montreal last team out, and he is optimistic about his team's chances of doing well at the next race in Valencia on 27 June.

He said: "Our car was well suited to the circuit in Montreal and our pace during the race was encouraging.

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton

Canadian Grand Prix in 90 seconds

"Nico was clearly one of the quickest cars during the race and his climb from the midfield to sixth place was a very impressive performance.

"Looking ahead to Valencia, the circuit is similar to Montreal in many ways with long straights connected by slow corners which should suit our car.

"We have an upgrade package which will be another good step in our development towards competing at the front of the field.

Michael Schumacher

It was an incident-packed race - Schumacher

"We will continue with our efforts to become more competitive. We have a number of the basics right and the difference between winning and losing is small. We need to close that difference."

Meanwhile, championship leader Hamilton is eager to build on his recent excellent form with another fine drive in Valencia.

"I had a great, attacking race there last year - but I've finished second for the past two seasons, so I feel like I have some unfinished business," said the 25-year-old Briton, who was champion in 2008.

"The last few grands prix have had some fantastic racing - it would be great for all the Spanish fans if we can have a great race here too.

"It's not a circuit where we've seen too much passing in the past, but I think this year could be different - the grid is so tight, there were battles all through the field in Montreal last week, so I think we could have a close and exciting race this year."

Hamilton's team-mate and reigning champion Button is also raring to go and is pleased with the recent improvements the team has made.

"As a team, we've taken maximum points in the last two races and it feels like we've really gathered considerable momentum," he said.

"The team really is functioning as a single unit, so I think we head into Valencia next weekend hopeful of being able to once again capitalise on that determination and ambition."



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see also
Mercedes chief backs Schumacher
16 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher focused on next year
11 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Superb Hamilton wins in Montreal
13 Jun 10 |  Formula 1


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