Lewis Hamilton feels this weekend's German Grand Prix will serve as a barometer for the remainder of the season.
After 10 of the 19 races it has so far been a Formula One campaign full of twists and turns, with no clear indicator as to who will be crowned world champion.
"The big question mark for this weekend surrounds some of the other top teams," said Hamilton. "They've shown improved performance over the past two, three races, even if they've not fully managed to score the results their pace suggests."
Ahead of Sunday's race, Hamilton holds a 12-point lead over McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, with feuding Red Bull rivals Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel 17 and 24 adrift respectively.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who is confident of a third title, also cannot be discounted, even though he is 47 points behind Hamilton.
Hamilton added: "So it will be interesting to see just how close things have become at the sharp end because this could affect the way the championship plays out, particularly if more teams start challenging for victory in the second half of the season.
"So I think this race will give us a very good read on form for the second half of the season."
In terms of strengthening his own hand, Hamilton would love nothing more than a repeat of his victory when the race was last at Hockenheim in 2008.
Although starting from pole and comfortably leading for the first 35 laps, it ended up being far from straightforward as a safety car, following an accident involving Timo Glock, almost proved costly.
"I won the last race at Hockenheim in 2008 when we had a fantastic car," added Hamilton. "I got pole position and had a great battle through the field after a mid-race safety car to win, so I'd really love the same outcome this weekend."