Mercedes brought a major upgrade to Monaco, including new sidepods, but the package did not get a true test until last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix at the more conventional Barcelona circuit. 

Should Charles Leclerc leave Ferrari?

The early signs were positive, with Mercedes scoring their first double podium of the season as Hamilton finished second behind Max Verstappen, while George Russell pulled off a remarkable recovery drive to third. 

Asked how much heart Mercedes fans can take from the team’s resurgent performance, 1996 world champion Hill told the Sky Sports F1 podcast: “I think quite a bit, because they’ve actually shown in the race they’ve leapfrogged the threat from Aston Martin and Ferrari. 

“At a circuit where it really pushes the car’s ability to look after it’s tyres and have a good aero balance, and have good aero performance, it’s actually shown that it’s good potential.

“Barcelona is one of those places where it shows up pure performance, aero package and ability to get balance and be good on tyres and so forth, which is why the Red Bull’s were so dominant, at least Max’s was! 

“So I think there’s encouraging signs here for Mercedes, definitely.”

Seven-time world champion Hamilton described the heavily-revised W14 as the “best car” he has driven in 15 months

Hill reckons the result will provide a sense of “vindication” for Hamilton, who previously said Mercedes “didn’t listen” to him over the development of their 2023 car. 

“To hear Lewis say, ‘I’ve enjoyed driving the car’, that is a good sign,” Hill added. 

“It’s also vindication for him because he’s been saying, ‘I told you we should have done something earlier’. 

“They’ve gone and done what he’s been pleading with them to do and they’ve seen some progress, so well done Lewis.”