Hamilton matched his best result of the season with a second-place finish in Barcelona on Sunday, with teammate George Russell completing the podium in third, marking Mercedes’ first double rostrum of the year. 

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Mercedes’ heavily-upgraded W14 demonstrated impressive race pace that was only beaten by the dominant Red Bulls, leaving the team feeling vindicated about their decision to switch concepts just a handful of races into the campaign. 

Asked whether it was the best car he has had underneath him over the past year and a half, the seven-time world champion replied: “Definitely, the best the car has been for the past year and a half.

“So that’s kudos to the amazing group we have back at the factory, continuing to work hard and to push the car forward. 

“It felt the best yesterday and today that it’s felt for the past 15 months, or whatever it is. That’s super encouraging, not only for me but for everyone in the team. 

“This will be a big boost for everybody’s morale and we are going to take that energy on to developing the car.” 

When asked the same question, Russell said: “Today it probably felt the best it ever had around Barcelona because of the cooler conditions, but definitely this season, the best its felt, the most together it’s felt. 

“As Lewis said, team’s done a really great job. The work that Mick and the simulator were doing, they were there till well past midnight to help us with the set-up and get it in a good window for the race today. 

“We are making strides in the right direction. We just need to make sure, especially into next year, that we hit the ground running, because I think we, as a team, probably develop faster than anyone else.” 

But Hamilton conceded it is probably too early to draw any conclusions on Mercedes’ performance given the team were also competitive 12 months ago in Barcelona.

“They normally say if you’re quick in Barcelona you’re car should be generally quick everywhere,” he explained. “But I think we will be strong in the next races. 

“They’ll be times when the Aston is maybe 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. 

“This weekend particularly, we’ve understood the car more. So I think we can count on that being strong moving forwards. 

“We’ve just got to try and lift the overall performance of the car a little bit more to try and close the gap to these guys [Red Bull].”