Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he hoped to be enjoying a stronger second half of the season, but a lack of updates compared to championship rivals Red Bull means Mercedes need to make the most of what they have.
Hamilton currently sits atop the Drivers' Championship thanks to his recent win in Russia, the 100th of his F1 career, while Mercedes lead the Constructors' standings.
Despite the advantage, Hamilton is wary of the threat Red Bull pose, given that they've continued to develop their car, while Mercedes haven't brought any updates since Silverstone.
"I was hoping for a bit of a stronger second half, but up until now they've [Red Bull] just been too strong," Hamilton told Sky Sports.
"They've been so strong in so many races. I mean, look, he [Verstappen] was already sixth or seventh from last at the last race by Lap 20, which shows how strong the car is, so we have to face that.
"They have developed for longer than us this year, they've brought more upgrades... I think they brought upgrades to every race to a point. I don't know if they still are, but we haven't brought an upgrade since Silverstone.
"So we're just trying to maximise what we have, and that's the challenge, but we're giving everything we can."
Although Mercedes' decision to stop development on the 2021 car means they aren't running away with the championship like in years past, Hamilton understands the decision.
"We're not developing like we have in the past," he said. "There's a direction I wanted to go, but we can't because we were focused on next year's car."
Hamilton enters this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix with a two-point lead over Verstappen.
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