Lewis Hamilton says he is hopeful Mercedes will develop the fastest car in Formula 1 this season.
The Englishman battled with the race-winning Red Bulls during Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix before backing off because he was running out of fuel.
He said: "We are the second fastest team, which is a massive bonus.
"But if we keep working in the direction we're going there's all the possibilities we could be quickest at some stage this year."
Hamilton, 28, who is in his first season with Mercedes after leaving McLaren at the end of the last year, said his ability to keep pace with the Red Bulls had been a pleasant surprise.
"Unfortunately we didn't have enough fuel in the car, more so in my side, so I was fuel saving from lap 25 or something. So it was very much an impossible task to challenge the guys in front.
"At the end I was fuel saving like you couldn't believe, I was lifting and coasting everywhere, so there was no way I could compete with any of the people around me.
"But that's motor racing. I'm sure if we were all on the same fuel it would have been a different situation. I'm confident with that."
Like the Red Bull drivers, 2008 world champion Hamilton found himself embroiled in a team orders controversy.
Team-mate Nico Rosberg was told to
Unlike Sebastian Vettel, who overtook Mark Webber against team orders to win the race, Rosberg obeyed the demand after questioning it.
Hamilton said: "We had a big team talk, and everyone's been fantastic.
"The guys did a great job, and Nico in particular did an exceptional job and showed great maturity.
"It was a very unique and difficult position for me to be in, and I'm going to work hard to make sure I'm not in that position again."