Damon Hill has warned Red Bull and Ferrari that Mercedes are back in the title fight after an encouraging performance in the Spanish Grand Prix.
After a tumultuous start to the season, Mercedes seemed to have turned their season around with a podium for George Russell and a tremendous drive from Lewis Hamilton that saw him rise from the near the back of the grid to P5 following an opening-lap collision with Kevin Magnussen.
It comes after some much-needed upgrades were installed to the W13 as the team finally seem to have solved the porpoising issues which have so far hampered their season.
They still remain behind Red Bull and Ferrari both in terms of pace and points but there are signs that they could still become a major player in this year’s title fight.
That was the message coming from 1996 World Champion Hill who warned the two teams up front that Mercedes were not to be counted out.
“It’s the Hamilton emotional rollercoaster isn’t it,” he said of the seven-time World Champion’s drive.
“It’s just amazing how he just thinks ‘oh no it’s no good’. But that was a stunning performance and it was a champion’s drive right through from nowhere. They gave him the equipment to do it as well. I thought it was stunning.
“I think definitely, they showed they had the pace this weekend.
“They’ve only just started to whittle and fettle it into perfection. There are seeds of hope there.”
Russell was also optimistic at his and the team’s chances of being involved in a title fight this season.
In his post-race press conference having secured his first podium since the Australian Grand Prix, Russell said he saw no reason why Mercedes could not make their way back into contention.
“I feel like this was more genuine,” he said of his podium.
“I think we have probably halved the gap to those front runners, compared to the rest of the season. And I think we know there’s probably more performance to find.”
“It’s been a season of problem solving as opposed to trying to find more performance and bring more performance to the car.
“And I think we’ve now finally solved our issue. And we can now focus on bringing more performance.
“So yeah, we’re six races behind but there’s no reason why we can’t claw this back.”