Mercedes brought much-needed upgrades to the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, as the team looked to address their aerodynamic failings to get them back on course to fight for pole position and podiums.
Unfortunately, while the upgrades allowed Mercedes to show flashes of pace around Monte Carlo, the team was still unable to challenge for a front row start, let alone a strong race pace.
Lewis Hamilton finished in P4 and George Russell ended the race in P5, as the top three remained the same as the starting order, with Max Verstappen in P1, Fernando Alonso in P2 and Esteban Ocon in P3.
After Monaco, Lewis Hamilton claimed he was “grateful” that the upgrades finally pulled the car back from disaster this season but accepted that it was “not the improvement that we have dreamed of.”
The lack of progress could have been tied to the unusual nature of the Monaco circuit, meaning that this weekend’s Grand Prix in Barcelona could offer a better understanding of the impact of the upgrades to the floor, suspension and sidepods.
“When you bring upgrades, naturally you should be progressing forward,” Hamilton said.
“The fact is it’s an improvement, it’s just not the improvement that we have dreamed of. But it’s one step at a time.
“I don’t feel negative towards it, I am grateful we have it, and I understand how much work has gone into making these parts, the rush that has gone on, and the amount of flat-out work by the team.
“We are hugely hungry to move in the right direction so I would say that I am just hopeful it puts us on a better track.
“We have taken account of where we are, where we have gone wrong, and now we are slowly chipping away and navigating our way back to the front, but unfortunately it is just a long process.”
Regardless of whether the upgrades allow Mercedes to take the fight to Red Bull, the title fight could already be over for the Silver Arrows after just six races, with the reigning world champions holding a 129 point lead over their nearest rivals.
In the Drivers’ Standings, Verstappen is 75 points ahead of Hamilton, while Russell is 94 points behind the title leader, meaning they would need substantial luck to mount a real campaign for the trophy.