Despite many predicting that Ferrari would enjoy a pace advantage as big as three-tenths of a second after the conclusion of pre-season testing, it has been Mercedes who is unbeatable so far this year.
While many point to Ferrari's internal struggles on the pit wall and between its two drivers, Palmer believes that the reigning world champions are simply on top of their game once more in 2019.
"In Bahrain, he (Lewis Hamilton) single-handedly took the fight to Ferrari, who arguably had a bigger pace advantage than Mercedes had enjoyed in China last Sunday. Yet look at the differences between Hamilton and the other three drivers in the top two teams," Palmer said in his BBC F1 column.
"Hamilton drove the wheels off his Mercedes at Sakhir. While Ferrari's Charles Leclerc dominated, Hamilton got ahead of Sebastian Vettel twice, and the second time pressured his rival into a spin which subsequently allowed Bottas to beat the German as well.
"So when Leclerc hit engine trouble, Mercedes had got themselves into a one-two position that was not imaginable at the start of that race. And it was almost entirely down to Hamilton.
"But one-twos aren't the work of only one driver. Bottas has raised his game this year. He won in Australia, with a strong drive after beating Hamilton off the line, and had he still been driving as he did in the second half of 2018, the Finn would not have finished second in China."