Why Lewis Hamilton shouldn’t get ahead of himself after Spain GP podium

Mercedes' double podium finish at the Spanish GP was by far their best result of 2023 so far.

For the first time since last season’s Brazilian Grand Prix, Mercedes finally had both cars on the podium, but is this a sign that the previously dominant side are on the road to recovery?

The Spanish Grand Prix certainly answered a few questions for the Germans, who learnt little regarding their new concept at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were clearly two of the quickest drivers on Sunday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with only race winner Max Verstappen having boasted stronger pace.

Russell was even able to comfortably fend off Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in the closing stages, despite the fact the Mexican was on significantly fresher tyres than the 25-year-old.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

Second and third is certainly a result that Mercedes will happily take given the issues they’ve had with their car this season, resulting in the dramatic switch to a new concept.

Based on the results in Monaco and Spain, it does appear that the new concept is a success; however, the difference between Verstappen and the Mercedes drivers is unmissable.

Verstappen finished 24 seconds ahead of Hamilton who claimed second, with Russell having been a further eight seconds adrift.

Red Bull do still hold a significant advantage, even if Perez is currently unable to fully exploit the RB19’s full potential.

Article continues below

Of course, Mercedes want to be looking forwards towards catching Red Bull; however, the initial way of judging their performance is by looking backwards, where they would’ve found Ferrari and Aston Martin.

Mercedes were comfortably second in the pecking order last weekend, with Aston Martin in particular having endured a below-par Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso was especially disappointing at his home race, as he contested the lower points places.

Aston Martin will come back in future races though, with Barcelona perhaps not playing to their strengths.

Ferrari also can’t be disregarded, given the series of upgrades they’re planning for the entire season.

In terms of race pace, Mercedes do appear to be second best; however, qualifying continues to be an issue.

READ: Zak Brown suggests Oscar Piastri should’ve been closer to Lando Norris

Russell was eliminated in Q2 on Saturday whilst Hamilton claimed fifth, behind the likes of Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly (prior to his penalty).

This is still where Mercedes are losing considerable time to Red Bull, with the gap between them reducing somewhat when it comes to the races.

So, whilst the new concept can overall be deemed a success based on Monaco and Spain, the team will need to see how it performs at tracks with varying characteristics before coming to a verdict ahead of 2024.