Red Bull's Max Verstappen has said there are some big question marks heading into this weekend's United States Grand Prix, but that he isn't concerned by Mercedes' recent apparent gains in speed.
Mercedes were undoubtedly the quickest team last time out in Turkey, with Valtteri Bottas romping home to an easy victory over Verstappen, while Lewis Hamilton salvaged fifth place from his 11th-place grid slot after an engine change grid penalty from pole position.
Verstappen hasn't won a race since his dominant performance at home in the Netherlands at the start of September, but says he isn't concerned about Mercedes' recent form as the teams gear up for the final six races of the year.
"I don't really believe in momentum swings," Verstappen said in his official race preview.
"We always have to nail every aspect of the weekend to optimise our performance, prepare as best we can and if we do that then we can't give anything more as a team.
"We have a very competitive car but you have to compare it to Mercedes and that is always the big question mark going into any race this season.
"Hopefully we can fight them this weekend and keep the lead in the championship.
"Every single week there are new challenges which we must overcome and this one will be no different. A lot of things can happen in a race, so we will focus on ourselves and no one else."
Verstappen and Hamilton have finished very close together on track in the two most recent races at the Circuit of the Americas, in 2018 and 2019, and the Dutch driver is aiming for nothing less than the top step of the podium this year after getting some weaker tracks out of the way.
"It is going to be nice to be back in America," he said.
"We have always been competitive in the US and have got close to some good results, so it's about converting that into a win now. We go to every track now knowing that we can fight at least for a podium now, but also a win, and that is different to past years.
"We are focussed on doing the best we can and always trying to win the race and that will be no different in Austin. It will be another close battle this weekend and I am looking forward to that."