Mercedes technical director James Allison believes that Mercedes will be engaged in a close fight with its rivals this weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix. The Brackley squad comes to Suzuka on the back of two weekends where it showed it didn't possess the fastest car.
The first day of running on Friday didn't reveal much, as rain heavily affected the second practice session. With Ferrari showing it has the quickest car in Singapore and Malaysia, and Red Bull winning last time out at the Sepang International Circuit, Allison thinks that it will be another close fight this weekend.
"Well, they're two weekends that showed that it's sometimes better to be lucky than good," he said. "Nevertheless, if you look at the season as a whole, it has been divided into three types of experiences.
"There have been a few races where we have come out and crushed everything in front of us. There have been a few where we've had the other end of that deal, where we have definitely come off second best and then a whole lot in the middle where it has been pretty much a 50/50 slugging match.
"The last two were in the category where we got beaten for pace. We're hopeful from what we've seen so far this weekend that this one will not fall into that category and that we will be putting up a decent fight of it. I suspect that it will fall into the slugging match category that most of this season has been so thrilling to be part of for."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing