George Russell believes that Mercedes will be quicker than Ferrari, enabling them to challenge for a podium in the Dutch Grand Prix.
The Briton starts from sixth on the grid after Mercedes elected to put him on used Softs for his first run. But after a late spin from Sergio Perez, his final run on new Soft's was spoiled.
Even though they're starting lower than expected, Russell says Mercedes are aiming for a podium given their pace to Ferrari, and banking on Red Bull focusing their early efforts on Max Verstappen.
"I hope they put all of their focus on Max because that may leave them vulnerable," said Russell to Sky Sports F1.
"I think Max is just going to clear off into the distance, we probably will have a faster car than Ferrari and Checo tomorrow."
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Russell: Mercedes now understand why they were slow in Spa
Mercedes were struggling last time out at Spa Francorchamps, but Russell says the team has been able to understand where their weaknesses were at the high speed track.
With the shorter layout at Zandvoort appearing to suit them more, it should lead to a more promising performance for the Silver Arrows.
"It's always pleasant to be in that mix, we're still lacking probably a couple of tenths of base performance and obviously short track here so the gaps don't look as big," Russell told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"I think as a team we will truly understand why we were so slow in Spa and why from the get go we show more promising performance this weekend.
"I see no reason why we can't battle for podium. We just need to make sure we get a good start and not lose any positions to the midfield drivers and go from there."
F1 podcast: Could Honda stay with Red Bull beyond 2025?
As Max Verstappen took a dominant win in the Belgian Grand Prix, plenty of attention remains on off-track matters, with Audi confirming their 2026 arrival into F1, and question marks remaining over the involvement of Porsche and Honda.
RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key topics from the Belgium Grand Prix.