The Formula 1 Championship is set to really take shape during the next month of action.
Ferrari currently lead Mercedes at the top of the constructors’ standings with both teams itching to return to the track following the summer break.
The Italians extended the gap over their German rivals with a polished performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix last time out where Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen secured a one-two finish.
Mercedes hold the advantage over the pacesetters in terms of podium places with 14 to 12 at the 11 completed races this season.
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have arguably been more consistent than their Ferrari counterparts despite their failure to catch them as yet.
Bottas – whose two wins for 2017 occurred in Russia and Austria – believes the upcoming Belgium and Italy races represent an opportunity for Mercedes to regain some ground.
"I really think the next at least two races on paper should be a bit better for us [than Hungary] compared to Ferrari," he said, per Autosport.
"But I think we've made some good progress.
"We definitely do have work to do, they are quick through the corners, and we need to work on that. We need to work on our maximum-downforce package, that's the main thing.
"There are still a lot of tracks to come that require a lot of downforce. Spa is more about efficiency, Monza is very low-downforce, then Singapore is about downforce again.
"We are really working hard and trying to get the car better, because if we don't make any progress, it's going to be a tricky season, for sure."
While Bottas and Mercedes are very much in the hunt for both the Drivers and Constructors’ Championship, the Finn takes little satisfaction from how the season has fared to date.
"I was hoping to be slightly better positioned in the championship, and also as a team I think," he said.
"We are still looking good in the constructors', but we have had some difficult races for us, which is not ideal.
"For us as a team, only winning is good enough, that's always got to be the target. I think we definitely have work to do. I have work to do.
"There are still things I can improve, as long as I keep working with the team as we've been doing at this point of the year.
"I know the second half will be better for me, and my best performances are still on the way.
"I would say the first half has been average, because I always set targets very high, but obviously [there have been] some good moments as well."
Bottas and Hamilton will get their first chance to reel in Ferrari next weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix in Stavelot.
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