Lewis Hamilton's optimism has been renewed by improvements to his Mercedes, as he now believes the team can compete for race wins in 2022.

Seven-time Formula One world champion Hamilton has endured a hugely testing season with the Silver Arrows.

New regulations were always likely to threaten his place at the forefront of the sport, but Mercedes' bouncing car has caused unexpected issues.

Hamilton has not secured a single victory through the first 10 grands prix of the campaign – his worst ever drought from the start of a year.

In fact, neither Hamilton nor new team-mate George Russell have even finished in the top two; not since 2011 have Mercedes waited so long for such a result.

Yet a Silver Arrow has finished third in each of the past three races, including consecutive podiums for Hamilton – his second and third of the season.

The Mercedes superstar was even in position to challenge for the win at Silverstone last time out.

While Hamilton ultimately fell short, the performance of his car encouraged hope for the remainder of the campaign as he bids to record a victory in a 16th straight season, a potential outright record ahead of Michael Schumacher (also 15).

"With a bit more hard work, hopefully we can get closer to having a chance of winning," Hamilton said ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

"I truly believe we can get a race win this year.

"There was a long way back. Earlier this year, I definitely wasn't sure we would ever get a win in this car, but that was not the way we like to think.

"It felt there's a long way to catch everyone up, knowing the progress everyone makes."

Mercedes have five wins at the Austrian GP – one shy of McLaren's record of six – but Max Verstappen and Red Bull have triumphed at three of the past four editions.

Hamilton added: "At Silverstone, there was definitely potential to win the race.

"With our current performance, we are not at the same level as the teams ahead of us – we needed everything to align.

"We have always struggled in Austria, so it is going to be hard to win here knowing the combination of corners – but not impossible.

"The weather is up and down. I am hopeful we will be pleasantly surprised [on Friday], but I might be wrong. I am staying hopeful."