Mercedes technical director James Allison joked he would cry if they beat Red Bull at the British Grand Prix, but their rivals “are out for revenge”.
Speaking ahead of the Brackley-based side’s return to England, Allison admitted confidence was returning after a season-best result last time out in Montreal.
Lewis Hamilton finished third and George Russell fifth in Canada to tie the Silver Arrows’ best points tally in 2022, but it’s still a far cry from what they’re used to.
Mercedes are currently on a Formula 1 record of eight consecutive constructors’ championships, but that run looks set to come to an end after a poor start to the season.
Hamilton and Russell have both been well behind the pace of the Red Bulls and Ferrari in the opening 10 races, struggling with 2022 rule changes.
Porpoising and rebounding saw the W13 described as ‘undriveable’ by Hamilton and team boss Toto Wolff, but things could change ahead of their home run.
“Not everyone in our factory dares to say this, but we are cautiously optimistic to have a more competitive weekend than some of those we have had recently,” Allison told Sky F1.
“I think some characteristics of this circuit will suit this car but we don’t have a car that can win from the front yet.
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“But I think as long as we can tame the car through Maggots, Becketts and the fastest corners, I think we have a decent chance of being competitive this weekend.
“And maybe if the Red Bulls stumble, who knows, but I’m hopeful, I hope for a better weekend.”
Asked how difficult this season has been trying to get back to the front, Allison then joked: “Absolutely, well I would cry, that would be a fantastic thing.
“I’m just crossing my fingers that we have a believable performance with a car on the mend.”
Red Bull boss Horner has backed claims Mercedes could benefit from an improved weekend, but insists his side are looking to make up for last season.
In the 2021 edition of the Silverstone race, title challengers Hamilton and Max Verstappen got tangled around the corner at Copse, with the latter sent into the barriers and straight to hospital.
Horner explained: “Ferrari is very fast at this track and could have an advantage over us. I know from Mercedes that they will come with updates. I think they will be very strong at Silverstone. It will at least be an interesting race.
“Silverstone was hard to digest last year, but we want revenge. It’s also important that we keep the momentum going. We’ve had a great winning streak and our drivers are doing very well at the moment too. .
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