Lewis Hamilton has insisted he "truly believes" Mercedes will win a race in F1 this year, allowing him to extend a remarkable record.
The eight-time reigning constructors' champions have struggled to match Red Bull and Ferrari this season following the sport's switch to a new era of technical regulations.
The dramatic aesthetic of the zeropod concept raised eyebrows when unveiled in pre-season testing but has proven tricky to optimise, particularly as it has suffered from bouncing in the early stages of the season.
But since a first raft of upgrades in Spain and a second update package at Silverstone, Mercedes' threat has looked much more menacing to the top two, with victories now on the horizon.
"There was a long way back," said Hamilton, who has won at least one race in each of his previous 15 seasons in F1.
"Earlier this year, I definitely wasn't sure we would ever get a win in this car.
"But that was... obviously not the way we like to think but obviously the feeling like 'Jeez, this is a long way to catch up', knowing the progress that everyone makes.
"But definitely, hugely encouraging, particularly for a long time we would make changes and it wouldn't do what it said it was going to do and improve the car."
Mercedes digging to find race-winning pace
Hamilton was compromised at the Austrian Grand Prix due to a qualifying crash but still fought through to finish on the podium, displaying competitive pace compared to the Red Bulls and Ferraris.
But the W13 needs to unlock more potential before challenging for victory.
"It was a good step in Barcelona and then we had several difficult races following it," explained the seven-time champion.
"We had this last race, or the last two races, that were quite strong and that really is encouraging us that there is potential in the car and with a little bit more digging and a little bit more hard work, we can get closer to winning a race.
"So I truly believe that we can get a race win this year."