Ross Brawn believes the battle for the Formula 1 World Championship could still be turned on its head, despite Fernando Alonso opening up a gap in the points standings.
Alonso's victory in the German Grand Prix has helped him to a 34-points lead over Mark Webber ahead of this weekend's race in Hungary. But despite Alonso's recent impressive strong form, Brawn still believes that there is a chance the formbook could yet change over the second half of the campaign.
"This is a year that I think is changing quite a bit, and we are only halfway through the year," said the Mercedes team principal. "Fernando has done an excellent job this year – the important thing is that he was scoring points when the car was not good. And now the car is good, he is also maximizing the points.
"If we have had a failing this year, particularly with Michael [Schumacher], it is that we have lost a lot of points with reliability problems and that is something that we have addressed. You never solve reliability problems because these cars are highly complex and fragile, and occasionally something will happen, but we have lost 50-60 points with Michael this year that we should have scored.
"Fernando has scored all the time, even when the car was not great, and that has given him the foundation for what he has got now when the car is good. But the cars are moving quite quickly in terms of performance.
"You saw what happened with McLaren in the last race to this race, and the previous two races. So ourselves and other teams are working hard on upgrades and it could all change. I am certainly optimistic from our perspective that we can have a stronger second half to the year."
Brawn believes Mercedes is lacking around half a second of performance per lap to get on the pace of the front-runners – something which he thinks his team can find.
"It is a big upgrade, but it is achievable," he said. "Of course everything else is a moving target – but that sort of upgrade would be very handy."