Nico Rosberg is certain Mercedes has a good chance of ending its points drought in the United States Grand Prix after being buoyed by his car's form in Friday practice at Austin.
Mercedes' last points finish came with Rosberg's fifth place in Singapore nearly two months ago. Having taken seventh place in Friday practice, Rosberg reckoned his team had regained a little ground.
"For us it has been a relatively good start," he told reporters in the Austin paddock. "We're looking better than normal compared to the front."
Asked to assess Mercedes' race prospects, Rosberg replied: "Better than usual. It will be possible to score some good points here."
Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug was more pessimistic, however, suggesting there was no reason to anticipate any upturn.
"While our lap times looked consistent during our long runs at the end of the second session, we do not think that our competitiveness is different compared to the last races," he said. "Having said that, we still have room for improvement which we will try to use tomorrow."
Rosberg's teammate Michael Schumacher felt unable to properly evaluate his car's outright potential as his practice day was disrupted by tyre issues.
"We had a bit of difficulty because we lost basically both sets of tires," said the seven-time Formula 1 champion. "One delaminated and one got a puncture, so we only got tires that we ran this morning and that compromised our session."