Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has expressed admiration for Red Bull driver Max Verstappen amid an impressive run of form for the reigning world champion.
With two world championships under his belt, Verstappen looks on course for the hattrick, having built up a 39 point lead over his closest rival, teammate Sergio Perez.
In Monaco, Verstappen continued his success taking his fourth victory this year with ease, benefiting from the rain which forced everyone to pit for intermediate tyres.
While Verstappen has often proved a rival for Lewis Hamilton, most notably in their tense battle for the 2021 title, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has conceded that Red Bull and their lead driver have done an impressive job this season.
“Formula 1 is a meritocracy,” Wolff told reporters after the Monaco Grand Prix.
“They have done a very good job. The car is fast in all conditions, the driver is at the top of his game. Even today, going off a couple of times but not DNFing is a skill.
“All credit to them and we now need to catch up, we need to do a better job and hope that our development slope is steeper than theirs so we can eventually fight them again.”
Mercedes had been hoping to challenge Red Bull, ending their string of dominant performances in Monaco after implementing their upgrade package but they failed to secure the qualifying pace needed.
Starting in P5 and P8, Hamilton would end the race in P4, while Russell was close behind in P5.
The duo will be hoping that the upgrades prove more beneficial around the traditional track in Barcelona this weekend, as drivers arrive at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.