Lewis Hamilton is doubtful of ending his long winless streak in Formula 1 such is the dominance of Max Verstappen and Red Bull.
Hamilton's last Grand Prix win was the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, some 35 races ago as of the 2023 Belgian GP, and went winless for the first time in a season in his career in 2022.
In that time, 2021 title rival Max Verstappen has won 26 races, two World Championships and is firmly on his way to a third in the RB19 having eight straight and 10 wins overall from the first 12 of '23.
Hamilton did claim a first pole position since that Saudi Arabian race in Hungary, but believes the inherent pace advantage of the Red Bull makes it tricky to be able to fight for a win in the second-half of the season.
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"I think it's been decent. We didn't start where we wanted to be at the beginning of the year, but we just made a lot of progress," Hamilton told media including RacingNews365.
"It's been a huge amount of progress over the season so far, and hoping that there'll be a lot more in the second phase.
"My full focus is on to try and secure second for the team.
"For everyone back in the factory it means a huge amount for them and whilst we can't currently catch the Red Bulls, I think that puts us in a good position for next year.
"At the moment, I'm not quite sure we can currently compete with them on race pace.
"There were times in [Hungary] Max was around eight tenths faster than everyone on a single lap. But never say never."
Hamilton also revealed that after the first pre-season test of the year, Mercedes was not optimistic, but has reset its targets.
"It was just to be in a much better position than we were last year and I think that wasn't the case," Hamilton said of his pre-season targets.
"With all the amazing work that goes on through winter, we kind of started further behind and so it's been a big, steep, uphill climb.
"But I'm really proud of the team. We're fighting for second in the Constructors’ Championship which is definitely something we didn't expect after what we felt at the first test and that's really down to the great teamwork that's happening in the background."
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