Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport technical director James Allison has analyzed their car with that of their main title rivals Ferrari and admits each of them have their own strengths and weaknesses but are ultimately separated by small margins on the race track.

The Silver Arrows team go into the summer break ten points ahead of the Italian team with Lewis Hamilton leading Sebastian Vettel in the F1 Drivers’ championship by 24 points after a late surge — back-to-back wins in Germany and Hungary — aided by the German’s crash at the German GP while leading the race.

Mercedes have not faced a challenge similar to the one in 2018 for the last four seasons when they have dominated the rest of the grid to win consecutive Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles. This season, Ferrari is right up there and barring certain poor strategy decisions and driver error, they could be leading both the championships.

It is general consensus in the paddock at the moment that Ferrari do possess the faster car – but overall Mercedes have performed better in terms of strategy and have the luck of the draw in terms of the weather. Especially in Hungary where a dry qualifying session could have seen Mercedes in the third row rather than occupy the first due to the rain.

Mercedes Mercedes have won just twice in the last seven races. Photo: Charles Coates/Getty Images

Allison admits Ferrari are faster at the moment and the Mercedes technical director praised his former team’s progress — especially after they introduced their second spec engine at the Canadian Grand Prix. However, on average he believes Mercedes have a better car in fast and medium speed corners, while the Scuderia make up ground in the low speed corners on most tracks.

"In tends to vary from race to race and from track to track, but, certainly for a few races now we have been missing just a few horsepower to a Ferrari that has had a very, very impressive rate of development through the year," said Allison in a Mercedes YouTube video.

“We are probably on average better than Ferrari through the corners at most tracks, sometimes they take a bit from us in the low-speed, but medium and high-speed we normally prosper relative to them. … I would say they have tended to be a bit stronger than us when it's at tracks that are strongly rear limited, but we are talking small margins, and us the opposite.”

“We have tended to have better pit stops they have tended to have better starts although we appear to have put that right in recent races with a lot of work from the good guys in the controls department here in the factory. These are all small, small margins which is why the championship has yo-yoed one way and the other,” he explained.

Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have yet again shared all the race wins between them in 2018 with Hamilton winning five, Vettel winning four, Daniel Ricciardo with two and teammate Max Verstappen taking one win.

Despite the top three teams claiming the top step at least once in the first 12 races, Allison pointed out in only five of them has the script gone according to plan. The other seven races have seen the win taken by the team that was not favorite at the start of the weekend.

For example, Mercedes were favorite in Silverstone and Austria, but it was Ferrari and Red Bull who took the win respectively. While, Ferrari were favorite in China, Azerbaijan, Germany and Hungary, but the wins went to Red Bull in Shanghai and Mercedes in the other three circuits respectively.

"It's quite interesting to note that in the 12 races we have had so far, only five of them have actually been won by the car that most people would agree was the quickest on that weekend," the former Ferrari technical director added.