Lewis Hamilton has warned Red Bull that Mercedes' development rate is the "best" in Formula 1 as they seek to reel in the runaway championship leaders.
Mercedes was encouraged in Spain as upgrades helped transform the W14 into a car both Hamilton and teammate George Russell felt was at its strongest since the beginning of 2022 as they secured a two-three finish.
The double podium moved the team into second place in the Constructors' standings on 152 points, though Red Bull has almost twice as many on 287 from seven rounds.
The upgrades were intended to point the team in the right direction having abandoned the zero sidepod design, rather than immediately be fighting with Red Bull and Max Verstappen, with Hamilton indicating that the eight-time championship-winning outfit had found its "North Star" with the new car.
Viewed by others:
Hamilton's warning to Red Bull
"We've gone through a tough patch and we're kind of like on that up[ward curve]," Hamilton told media including RacingNews365 ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix.
"I feel like at some of the races, we've had wins, it's just about perspective because of course we've not been in first place.
"But there have been many wins.
"The steps we've taken at the last race as a team to be on the podium with both drivers, that was a win for us.
"We're just focused, we know where we need to go. We don't know everything of how to get there, but we know that together, we can get there if we just keep our heads down.
"The science, the engineering at our team is fantastic, we've got a great development team.
"I honestly think we've got the best development team, it's as good, if not better than any team in the sport and so we just need to keep chipping away."
Hamilton - who also remained tight-lipped about contract negotiations with Toto Wolff - added that the team had found a "North Star" with the upgrades having been deposed as the best team by Red Bull.
"It's all been buzzing, back at the factory, the whole team has this new energy and we kind of feel like we've got a North Star," he said.
Can Mercedes win a race in 2023? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section and in the poll below!