Lewis Hamilton finished a distant second behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen but led Mercedes’ first double podium of the year as George Russell brilliantly recovered to third. 

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The Mercedes cars, heavily-revised following a major upgrade at last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, were second-fastest behind the dominant Red Bulls in Sunday’s race in Barcelona.

Asked if Mercedes are back following their best race of 2023, Wolff told Sky: ”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.

“It's a good moment to see that the development direction is right.”

Wolff added: “I think the learnings are is that we have a good race car. 

“I think Lewis was a good five-six seconds behind Max when he cleared Carlos, and I think we are just much closer. 

“But you see where the benchmark is. The gap at the end was 20 seconds. Maybe it is 15 in reality but that is just not where we aim to be.”

But Wolff is confident Mercedes can continue to make gains now that they have a clear development path since taking the decision to abandon their ‘zeropod’ concept. 

“We just need to chip away,” Wolff said. 

“We’re really good at grinding. Once there is a set-up direction and we develop in that direction, we just go for it. We have that advantage in terms of aero time. 

“But we also have to be realistic. Today the temperatures really suited us. It was nice and fresh. Not too cold, not too hot, the car was in the absolute mega window.”