Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has warned that his team must keep its feet firmly on the ground despite admitting its strong start to the season has raised expectations.
The squad has bounced back from a poor end to the 2012 season to become Red Bull's closest challenger in the Malaysian Grand Prix last week. Lewis Hamilton finished in third position behind the Red Bulls at Sepang, and afterward declared that Mercedes is now Formula 1's second-strongest team.
Wolff admitted that Mercedes's early form has inevitably raised hopes for the season, but insisted it was crucial to continue working without getting carried away.
"Of course," said Wolff when asked if expectations had been raised after the first two races of the season. "I was not so unhappy that we did not make it on pole because imagine how much the expectation would have been for the race.
"We had a good solid race, the World Champion has still shown us that there is lots to do, and that we should switch our lights off later than the others in the offices. The expectations are there, but we must not let ourselves be carried away."
Wolff conceded, however, that the step forward taken by Mercedes was exactly what he had wished for.
"This is what I hoped for; this is where the team should be," he said. "Being among the top teams, and winning a world championship, you need to put it all together," he said. "I am happy [that] in the second race we have been consolidating that position, but it is about keeping working, keeping developing and looking forward. That race is already forgotten."