Mercedes Technical Director James Allison says the marque is assessing McLaren’s updates after praising its mid-season performance gains.

McLaren scored points in only three of the opening eight grands prix, failing to take a solitary top five finish, after accepting it failed to achieve its targets with its MCL60.

It introduced a raft of updates, most notably in Austria, which were first equipped to Lando Norris’ car.

A new front wing was introduced onto Norris car in Britain while team-mate Oscar Piastri also ran the upgraded MCL60 that debuted in Austria

Norris followed up fourth in Austria with a front-row position and drive to second in Britain, while Piastri qualified third and raced to fourth, only missing out on a maiden podium through an ill-timed safety car.

“We keep an eye on all the teams as they upgrade,” said Allison. “We take lots of photos and we try and figure out what changes from race to race. We note when something new or unusual comes along.

“The interesting and unusual thing about the McLaren upgrade is that its lap time effect is quite strong.

“It’s unusual to have a step of that size of relative competitiveness in the middle of a season and chapeau to them.

“They’ve done a good piece of work there, but that also makes it interesting for us because we have the before and after shots and we know the lap time effect was big.

“So it’s well worth us paying more attention than we normally might to another competitor team’s upgrade because in this case, we know that whatever changed has made a meaningful difference to their lap time.

“It’s quite useful for us to know what that was and see whether it can play into our own thoughts of developing our own car.”

Norris’ second in Britain marked the fourth successive event in which a different team has classified as runner-up to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Allison expects that trend to continue but is optimistic that Mercedes – which holds second in the championship – can eventually assert an advantage among the chasing pack.

“What you will get in this next sequence of races is a little bit of yo-yoing for position in a very closely packed bunch,” he said.

“Upgrades will make the difference for one team for a while, until someone else will come out of sequence with another upgrade a race or two later to even things back out.

“Where it will all settle down for the final quarter to one third of a season, we will see. Hopefully we will have our noses in front and be able to have a strong second half of the season.”

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