Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has urged Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to 'stick their noses in' at the start of the Mexico City Grand Prix in their drag race with Max Verstappen into turn one.
The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez possesses the longest run to a first corner on the F1 calendar, and while Verstappen may be on pole in his Red Bull, he faces a two-pronged threat from behind with Russell starting second and Hamilton third.
Should either driver get a good tow behind the two-time F1 champion, turn one could provide plenty of drama early in the race.
Asked whether he was confident either of his drivers could beat Verstappen, Wolff replied: "[There are] Only a handful of occasions in my life when I've been confident of something in Formula 1.
"I'm annoyed about not being on pole because it would have ticked the box.
"But equally, having Max with his top-speed advantage behind us would have been a problem tomorrow.
"So starting second and third can be advantageous, and I hope we can stick our nose - or both noses into turn one - and then disappear in the distance.
"But definitely that's going to be difficult."
Mercedes PU "super strong" but Hamilton has issue
Mercedes has historically struggled in Mexico relative to its seasonal performance due to the race being run at a high altitude.
But the lower air density is providing solace for the Silver Arrows given the poor drag efficiency of the W13, whilst a reliable power unit is further helping its push this weekend.
"For many years, Mexico wasn't a good place for us because of the altitude," conceded Wolff.
"But the power unit guys have really given us a super-strong engine.
"We suffer less from our draggy car here, whilst running high downforce like all the others, and generally that has been a better place for us in the past."
Hamilton had suggested issues with his engine had taken away his chance of challenging Verstappen for pole.
Addressing his concern, Wolff explained: "We had an oscillation that badly affects driveability, and once you have it a second time it definitely affected his lap."