George Russell has suggested Mercedes has "overtaken" Ferrari on pace as the battle for second in the F1 constructors' championship reaches its climax.
Mercedes endured a tough start to the year as the team battled to get on top of porpoising and other bouncing issues that were associated with the dramatic change to the aerodynamic regulations.
The recovery has taken time, leading to the Silver Arrows shrinking the points gap to Ferrari to just 40 with two races remaining following superior hauls from the last two races in the United States and Mexico City.
Although Mercedes has conceded that snatching second in the constructors' championship is a "tremendous ask", Russell was less restrained in his assessment.
“I’d like to think we’ve overtaken them slightly," said Russell. "When you look at the performance, Mexico was really strong.
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“We’ve had the same car for Austin and Mexico and the performance was quite varied between the two.
“So Brazil will be interesting to see where we are.”
Russell explains Mexico frustration
Russell was vocal over the team radio in Mexico in his desire to extend his initial stint on the medium tyre and switch to the soft for a shorter dash to the line.
Although Daniel Ricciardo ultimately demonstrated the merits of this strategy, Mercedes put both Russell and Lewis Hamilton onto the hard compound.
A late switch to the soft to snatch the point for setting the fastest lap offered some consolation.
But asked how he dealt with his frustration while in the car, Russell said: “I don’t think there was frustration as such.
“You are just trying to put your point across, and when you’re out there, it’s physically demanding, there’s a lot going on and you are struggling with the car. I was trying to get my point across.
“I felt good on the medium, the pace was looking strong. Before Lewis pitted, I was closing the gap, and when I was in the lead I was setting personal bests.
“It’s so easy, in hindsight, and perhaps we should have recognised there was no way I would have been able to overtake Checo with the hard tyre.
“The only way would have been to put on the soft.”