Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has burst Mercedes' bubble and claimed that the numbers do not seem to support the Silver Arrows' perceived progress after the Spanish Grand Prix. Toto Wolff claimed that Lewis Hamilton had the fastest race car and would have fought the Red Bulls for the win if not for his opening lap collision that dropped him to 19th place.

Charles Leclerc's retirement opened the door for George Russell to finish on the podium, and Hamilton drove a strong race to fight his way from the back of the grid to fifth place. It would have been fourth for the seven-time world champion had it not been for a late reliability issue.

It clearly underlined Mercedes' progress after struggling to match Red Bull and Ferrari in the opening five races of the season. Russell battled with Verstappen and Perez during the Grand Prix, but was unable to match the pace set by Leclerc until his retirement.

Mercedes' renewed pace saw both the drivers and Wolff claiming that they are back in the fight with the top teams. The Mercedes chief even believes the reigning Constructors' champions can fight for the title in 2022 despite initially stating that it was a two horse race.

Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton (left) and George Russell (right) pose alongside Mercedes chief Toto Wolff Steve Etherington/MERCEDES-BENZ via AFP

However, Binotto has given Mercedes a stark reminder of where they stand by providing numbers in terms of the gap between the title contenders and the Woking-based squad. Russell, even though he finished third was 30 seconds behind Verstappen, while Hamilton was a further 20 seconds behind his teammate.

"Congrats first to them, because they've recovered and they have improved the speed of their car," Binotto said, as quoted on Racing News 365. "They were seven-tenths off the pace in the qualifying, during a single qualifying lap, and it's a short circuit here."

"[On Sunday], they finished 30 seconds or more from the Red Bull. It could have been 40 seconds to Charles," he added. "40 seconds over 66 laps is still six- or seven-tenths per lap. Six- or seven-tenths per lap is still significant. That's like Ferrari last year."

The F1 juggernaut heads to Monaco for the seventh race of the 2022 Formula 1 season. It is a very different track compared to any other on the calendar, and it remains to be seen if Mercedes can carry their Barcelona resurgence to the Principality.

Top two: Carlos Sainz, left, and Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc congratulate each other after qualifying in Miami Brendan Smialowski/AFP