Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin believes the F1 title fight with Red Bull will be "nip and tuck" through to the end of the season.
Shovlin's comment effectively echoes that of Red Bull team principal Christian Horner who can see circuits that might favour his team over the remaining seven races and those where Mercedes might have the edge, but overall it is "50-50".
With just two points separating Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, and with 30 the difference between Mercedes and Red Bull, this year's battle appears to be going to the wire in Abu Dhabi in mid-December.
“To be honest, I think it’s going to be awfully close from here on in," said Shovlin.
"Monza was a race where our car has worked very well. The remaining circuits are closer to average.
"They’re not the outlier tracks and I think it’s going to be nip and tuck between us and them from here to the finish.”
Heading into the recent races in Monza and Sochi, that traditionally always favoured Mercedes, the team would have expected a bigger points swing.
As it transpired, after emerging from his home race in the Netherlands with a three-point lead following a dominant victory, Verstappen departed Russia only two adrift.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff feels no one can determine the destiny of this year's championships.
"I've stopped trying to anticipate whether it's historically a strong race for us or not because with the new regulations everything has changed so much," said Wolff.
"But definitely we knew Monza and Sochi would come more towards us. The reality is we are where we are.
"This is the points gap, and I doubt if either of the two teams will make massive swings up or down. It's about continuing to do the best possible job."
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