Lewis Hamilton fans handed good news ahead of Azerbaijan GP

Former F1 world champion Damon Hill believes the “leap forward” in performance from Mercedes in Australia showed the team is ready to fight Red Bull again.

Mercedes put on an impressive show around the Albert Park Circuit, as the team targets a comeback after a tricky season last year.

George Russell narrowly missed out on pole position in qualifying, while Lewis Hamilton took P3.

On the day of the race, the Mercedes duo capitalised on this position to take an early one-two lead before a safety car and red flag restart caused chaos on the grid.

The ability of the Mercedes to compete against Red Bull and hold off the charging Aston Martin got some in the paddock believing that the Silver Arrows are back, while others mused that it was a one-off success due to the layout of the track.

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Former F1 world champion Damon Hill is of the view that Mercedes is on the way back to the top, especially as it is yet to implement upgrades to its aerodynamic package, due before Imola.

“Mercedes was seemingly making some progress [and] inroads to bring some challenge to Red Bull,” Hill told the F1 Nation podcast.

“But the early races can be misleading and we sort of had our heads in our hands a little bit after Bahrain and then things became a little more interesting at Saudi [Arabia].

“I thought I saw signs of the Mercedes, particularly, having made a leap forward after Friday. The car just looked completely different on the Saturday and it sort of continued right through to Melbourne.”

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After three races, Mercedes is nine points behind where they were at the same point last season due, in part, to Russell’s DNF in Australia.

With the Azerbaijan Grand Prix not until the end of the month, teams are working on refining their set up before the first sprint weekend on the calendar.

In the Constructors’ Standings, Mercedes sits in third, close behind Aston Martin and with less than half the points of the leaders Red Bull.