Mika Hakkinen believes Mercedes have put their early season struggles behind them after claiming victor in Portugal thanks in large part to the strong technical team they have in place.
The Silver Arrows looked sluggish during pre-season testing, though they still managed to get the better of Red Bull at the opening race in Bahrain. While the Milton Keynes outfit responded in Italy, Mercedes looked like the team to beat in Portugal after Hamilton cruised to victory.
In his column for Unibet, Hakkinen pointed out that while both teams have done a great job so far this season, Mercedes are back on top thanks to their ability to react.
"Red Bull and Honda have done a fantastic job, but Mercedes has recovered quickly after a less competitive start to the year," wrote Hakkinen.
"One of the strengths of Mercedes is their ability to react, so although I think that the Portimao circuit suited their cars slightly more than the Red Bulls, Lewis and Valtteri really do have an exceptionally strong technical team supporting them."
Red Bull were less than thrilled with how track limits were applied in Portugal, with Verstappen seeing his fastest lap deleted. Hakkinen believes the Dutchman needs to focus on cutting out these small mistakes.
"One area of frustration for Max has been track limit penalties," Hakkinen added. "He should have won in Bahrain and could have taken pole position and set fastest lap in Portugal.
"But each time he put all four wheels over the line at some point on the circuit. It is so easy to do, but you cannot afford to make small mistakes like that.
"To beat Lewis, Max needs to do a perfect job each weekend."