Lewis Hamilton equalled his best result of the season so far by finishing second to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in Sunday’s race, while teammate George Russell completed the podium in third. 

Did Mercedes' Upgrades in Monaco ACTUALLY Work?

It marked the first time the two Mercedes drivers had stood together on the rostrum this year, leaving the team buoyed by their improvements. 

Mercedes brought their heavily-upgraded W14 car to the Monaco Grand Prix and scored their best result of the season a week later in what was the first true test of their revised package at the more conventional Barcelona circuit. 

"It was definitely the best the car has been for the last year and a half so that's kudos to the amazing group of people we have back at the factory continuing to work hard and push the car forwards,” Hamilton said. 

"It felt the best yesterday and today that it's felt for the past 14 or 15 months. That's super encouraging I think, not only for me but for everybody in the team.

"This will be a big boost for everybody's morale and we'll take that energy on to developing the car.”

It is worth noting that Mercedes also enjoyed a competitive showing 12 months ago in Spain. 

Following an equally-disappointing start to the 2022 campaign, Russell claimed third and Hamilton demonstrated some impressive pace as he fought back to fifth following an opening-lap collision.

Mercedes once again produced eye-catching race pace - second only to the dominant Red Bull - this time around. 

Hamilton acknowledged that caveat when asked if it is too early to draw conclusions about Mercedes’ much-improved form in Barcelona. 

“Yup!” Hamilton responded with a chuckle.

“They normally say if you are quick in Barcelona the car should generally be good everywhere. I think we will be strong in the next races,” he added. 

"There will be times where the Aston is maybe slightly ahead or the Ferrari maybe is ahead but I think our race pace continues to be a strength of ours, as it was last year.

"I think this weekend in particular we understood the car even more so we can count on that being strong moving forwards.”

Were Mercedes flattered by the weather?

Had it not been for a small mistake at Turn 10 on his final lap of Q3, Hamilton would have likely found himself sharing the front row with Verstappen. 

Mercedes were faster than their main rivals Aston Martin and Ferrari in the race, highlighted by Russell staging a remarkable recovery from 12th to third. The Briton even managed to keep Sergio Perez’s Red Bull at bay in the battle for the final podium spot. 

But one factor to consider is that both qualifying and the grand prix took place in much cooler temperatures than Friday practice. 

Mercedes notably struggled with car balance and performance throughout the opening two practice sessions. It was only when a set-up breakthrough was discovered thanks to Mick Schumacher and the simulator team’s late-night work back at the factory that Mercedes started heading in the right direction.  

Overcast conditions on Saturday and Sunday only appeared to boost Mercedes’ overall performance further, something that Toto Wolff highlighted in a cautious assessment of his team’s display. 

"Let's keep our expectations real. There's such a long way to go in order to catch Red Bull. We just need to grind away," Wolff told Sky after the race on Sunday. 

"It's a good moment to see that the development direction is right. We just need to chip away and we are really good at grinding. Once there is a setup direction and development direction, we will just go for it. We have that advantage of development time.

“But we also need to be realistic. Today the temperatures suited us. It was nice and fresh - not too hot, not too cold. The car was in the absolute mega window."

Russell said he hoped the result would be a “sign of things to come” for Mercedes, before later admitting that the car “probably felt the best it’s ever felt around Barcelona because of the cooler conditions.” 

“A huge thanks to the whole team for bringing these updates forward but equally, we’re not going to get carried away just after this one race,” he added. 

“We know it might be slightly different in the future races, and I think generally Aston and Ferrari were a little bit more off the pace than normal.” 

Are Red Bull worried? 

Red Bull have obliterated the opposition on their way to picking up all seven victories so far in 2023 and despite Mercedes’ resurgence in Barcelona, Verstappen was still free to romp to another unchallenged and commanding victory. 

Mercedes’ improvements were credited by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner after the race. 

But Horner was quick to point out the size of Red Bull’s advantage in a subtle dig at Mercedes when asked if the Silver Arrows will become a concern for his team. 

“They were still 23 seconds behind at the end of the race,” replied Horner - who did his team a slight disservice given the gap was actually 24.090s. 

“They made a good step, but I think we have got some stuff in the pipeline. 

“They had a big upgrade and we have got some bits coming later in the season, but look, for sure, it was a big step. 

“They are a quality team and they are going to be putting us under pressure in the second half of the year.”

And Hamilton, who remains determined to win a record-breaking eighth world title before he retires, is under no illusions about the challenge facing Mercedes if he is to reignite his rivalry with Verstappen and dethrone the Dutchman.  

"They [Red Bull] are so far ahead and ultimately Max will continue to win this year,” he conceded. 

“That means they can start on their development for next year sooner and earlier than everyone else if they haven't already and that's the danger."