Mercedes technical chief James Allison has described the Formula 1 world title fight against Ferrari as ‘exciting and frightening’ as the team ramps up preparations for the second half of the 2018 campaign.

Despite reclaiming the F1 world championship lead in both the riders’ and constructors’ standings thanks to Lewis Hamilton’s back-to-back wins in Germany and Hungary, Mercedes has found itself behind Ferrari in terms of qualifying pace with the Italian manufacture making key developments to extract more engine power.

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Allison accepts Mercedes must increase its own development rate to close the performance game to Ferrari with its second engine upgrade later this season set to potentially pivotal.

The Mercedes boss, who joined from Ferrari in February 2017, accepts the closely-matched teams means the pressure and intensity for development and race strategy has increased to sustain its fight in the F1 world title battle.

“None of it is set in stone as the development race continues for the remainder of the season,” Allison said in Mercedes’ latest Pure Pit Wall video. “Who starts races strong and who doesn’t make mistakes – that is actually going to determine this utterly compelling and brilliant year.

“None of us know and none of our opposition know who it is going to favour which is why it is so exciting – frightening too.

“It is what makes us look forward to the start of the second half of this year to see whether it can be us standing at the end of the year with smiles on our faces, knowing we did a really good job in a season that put us to the test like no other.”

Hamilton leads the F1 drivers’ standings by 24 points with his Mercedes squad taking a slender 10-point advantage in the constructors’ championship ahead of the second half of the season which starts at Spa-Francorchamps at the end of August.

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