Michael Schumacher says he feels Mercedes is only a 'small step' away from being in a position to challenge towards the front of the F1 field.

The Brackley-based team has failed to challenge Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari for race victories during the past two seasons, with Schumacher unable to make it onto the podium since coming out of retirement at the start of the 2010 campaign.

However, Mercedes has spent recent months strengthening its backroom staff in order to try and make forward progress and with Schumacher admitting he is now more at home within the team, the seven-time champion said he felt the hard work back at base would soon be rewarded.

"I know the team a lot better now and I am much more involved," he told Gazzetta dello Sport, "at first I was a little bit rusty. Things are much better and I am convinced that Mercedes and I can be successful.

"We just need another small step and then we can make it to the top."


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