Mark Webber believes Mercedes have edged past Red Bull in terms of performance, though the Australian insists nothing has been decided in terms of championship ahead of the final six races of the 2021 F1 season.
Max Verstappen once again leads the Drivers' Championship following the Turkish Grand Prix. The Dutchman's second-place finish means he's now six points up on Lewis Hamilton, who had to settle for P5 following a late pit-stop.
Although Verstappen sits atop the standings, Webber believes Mercedes' recent performances, including Valtteri Bottas' Sprint Qualifying win at Monza, shows the Silver Arrows have the upper hand.
"Right now, you have to think that Mercedes has the advantage," Webber told the F1 Nation podcast.
"I think the tracks they've just been to... Don't forget Valtteri stormed to pole in Monza and had that penalty, so he could have done what he did in Turkey and disappear in that race without the penalty.
"I think they're just starting to get a little bit more of a spring in their step at this crucial part of the championship."
Next up on the F1 calendar is a trip to the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, where Mercedes have won five of the last six United States GPs.
While Webber expects Mercedes to be strong there, and Red Bull to respond in Mexico and Brazil, the Australian isn't willing to predict how the final six races will play out.
"I think that Austin, Mercedes will be strong there. Lewis has got a great form card there personally at that venue," Webber added.
"But then you go to the altitudes of Mexico and Brazil, Red Bull have had tremendous results there in the past.
"There's nothing in the points, six is it now? Nothing. It's been an extraordinary championship. Here we are trying to dissect how and why it's going to close out.
"You'd be a brave man or woman to try and predict if someone is going to dominate the back end of this season. I think it's just not going to happen, we're gonna have some twists and turns."
F1 Podcast: Do Mercedes need to assert more authority over Hamilton?
It's time for the latest episode of the RacingNews365 podcast, with F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Thomas Maher and Mike Seymour discussing Lewis Hamilton's strategy drama and much, much more from the Turkish Grand Prix.