The Maranello-based team currently holds a 40-point advantage with just two grands prix, plus this weekend's Interlagos sprint, left to run.

Earlier in the year, the prospect of Mercedes overhauling Ferrari seemed remote given the disparity in form at the start of the season, but solid scoring by Hamilton and teammate George Russell has seen the gap close.

Hamilton said getting second place would be important not just in terms of prestige but also the financial bonus that it would generate for team members.

"I know how important it is for the team and everyone back at the factory in terms of bonuses," said Hamilton.

"Especially in a time when energy prices have gone through the roof, living costs in the UK have skyrocketed.

"So I know because I'm told and I can see how important and impactful that is for them, and also just how hard we've dug deep to catch up.

"I know it would be an amazing feeling if we could. If you then look at being realistic, Ferrari have had an amazing car most of the year, I don't know what happened last weekend, but most likely they're going to be back at the front this weekend, but who knows? So it's no easy feat to beat them.

"But if we did, I think it would be pretty amazing comeback, and that narrative also it's sending them into the winter knowing that we mean business."

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG

Hamilton downplayed the suggestion that third place would be beneficial because of extra wind tunnel time and CFD usage under the aero-testing rules.

"In terms of R&D, I don't know the full implications, if you finish further back, third as opposed to second, you have more time in the wind tunnel.

"The engineers can tell you if that's what they want or not. I think at the moment because we're in the heat of it, we want to beat them, so that's our goal."

Hamilton insisted that he is concentrating on the final races of the season, and he believes that Interlagos might be a better bet for Mercedes than Abu Dhabi.

"My focus is maximising the next two races. I think us as a team are focused on making sure that we have a car that we can compete with next year. We don't know, honestly every time that we arrive at a track, we're surprised one way or another how big the gap is or how close we are.

"So I won't know until [Friday] where that is. I don't know if the car will be spectacular here. I don't know if we'll be as close as we were at the last race, I don't think we will. But I hope I'm surprised and it's not the case.

"But we know where our car is going to work and what corners it won't work. I anticipate it's not going to be the easiest on track. But there's weather, there's all sorts that could come into it.

"So out of the next two races, this is the best option we'll have or the closest we'll be. The next one I think with those long straights will be tough."

Hamilton's teammate Russell believes that Mercedes could beat Ferrari this weekend.

"We've definitely closed the gap," he said. "I think the important thing is we need to be ahead of Ferrari. Because, realistically speaking, Red Bull and Max [Verstappen] are too strong at the moment.

"And the only way we'll be able to beat them is if they make a mistake, or an error. And we need to be there to jump on that misfortune.

"Ferrari at the moment, they're a little bit up and down, and we need to see where they fall out. But I think the last two weekends have been pretty great for us."

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