Jul.29 (GMM/Inautonews.com) For the first time in the ‘power unit’ era otherwise dominated by the German team, Mercedes “did not deserve” a podium finish in Hungary.

That is the admission of team boss Toto Wolff, even though he defended the erratic driving of reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton was slammed by the British press for his performance last Sunday, as the Daily Mail said it resembled someone on the road “after eight pints”.

The Telegraph said it was the kind of “rash performance” from Hamilton that “holds back his elevation to the status of being a truly great champion”.

But Wolff said it is not fair to be too critical.

However, he admitted: “Whoever makes as many mistakes as we did in Budapest does not deserve to be on the podium.

“But we do not need to put our head in the sand. Our drivers are still in positions one and two and we have a solid lead in the constructors’ championship as well,” Wolff told the Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspaper.

“We are putting all our energy into the search for errors and solutions, not for someone to blame.”

As for Hamilton’s calamitous performance, Wolff said: “You have to remember that there are people sitting in these cars.

“Just 24 hours earlier, the same Lewis did an outstanding qualifying and everyone said so, so please do not assume now that he has some sort of problem.”

Wolff admitted, however, that if Mercedes can have days like Sunday, then the now 42-point gap between Hamilton’s lead and the chasing Sebastian Vettel cannot be ignored.

“That (gap) is not even two race wins,” said the Austrian, “so we are far from being able to drive relaxed and casually to the end of the season.

“You can never write off Ferrari.”