Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that Ferrari's form during the early stages of the season - including its win at the Malaysian Grand Prix - acted as a 'wake up call' for the reigning champions.
Mercedes registered a comfortable 1-2 in Australia but was undone at the second round in Malaysia, where Sebastian Vettel secured victory for Ferrari.
Mercedes responded by winning the next seven races until Vettel returned to the top step of the podium in Hungary, as neither Lewis Hamilton nor Nico Rosberg joined him on the rostrum.
"Malaysia was certainly a little bit of a wake-up call," Wolff told motorsport.com
"After Melbourne we felt we had the situation under control and we were caught out for various reasons. And in hindsight, maybe such a little slap is good sometimes for the organisation.”
"We have definitely benefited because we have probably set new, more aggressive targets in terms of development, lap time targets and quality expectations. We know that the threat is real."
Wolff is adamant that despite Hamilton's 42 point advantage over Vettel and Mercedes' lead of 147 over Ferrari, the squad has to keep pushing.
"We haven't won the championship yet," he said. "We are just mid-season. There have been lots of historic seasons where teams either run into trouble later on, or others increase the pace of development. So let's stay on planet earth."