Damon Hill has praised Lewis Hamilton for his influence on Mercedes' progress after their double podium result at the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix.
After a challenging start to the season, the Silver Arrows enjoyed a much stronger weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with Hamilton and George Russell ending the race in P2 and P3 respectively.
The team had introduced an upgrade package to the W14, leading Toto Wolff to herald the decision to change concept direction following the result.
Hill believes that the signs are promising for what Mercedes can achieve.
"Mercedes showed in the race they've leapfrogged the threat from Aston Martin and Ferrari on a circuit where it really pushes the car's ability to look after its tyres and have good aero balance and good aero performance," Hill told the Sky Sports F1 Podcast.
"It's shown that it has the potential there. All the circuits are different but Barcelona is one of those places that shows up pure performance, aero package and balance etc, which is why the Red Bulls were so dominant, or at least Max [Verstappen] was.
"So I think there are encouraging signs there for Mercedes definitely."
Hamilton's comments a 'good sign'
Hamilton spoke positively about the car after the race in Barcelona and Hill feels that this is an additional positive, given that the seven-time World Champion had voiced his concerns about the concept earlier in the year.
"Maybe this [result in Spain] has unlocked more potential. But whether it's able to unlock more potential to beat Red Bull is questionable because I think they are stuck with the fundamental chassis they have underneath [the car]," Hill continued.
"To hear Lewis say 'I'm enjoying driving the car'. That's a good sign and an indication for him because he's been saying, 'I told you we should have done something earlier'.
"They have gone and done what he has been pleading with them to do and they have seen some progress, so well done Lewis."
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Can Mercedes beat Red Bull?
With Red Bull still appearing to have a significant edge over their competitors, Hill is not convinced that Mercedes can beat the Milton Keynes-based squad before the end of the campaign.
"To overhaul Red Bull before the end of the season is going to be very difficult," the 1996 F1 World Champion added.
"I think if they manage to firmly establish themselves as 'the threat' going into 2024 by the end of the season then they will consider that a victory."