It made things easier, but that statement completely disregards the fact that Merc had a race pace advantage of at least 0.5s/lap and the fact that the Ferraris were killing their tires.
With how much faster Merc was in race trim, and how much kinder they were on the tires (they could've easily made 1-stoppers work; Ferrari had no chance), Ferrari retaining a 1-2 at the start would've made things more difficult, but Mercedes would've still probably won the race.
It was not 0.5 Mark Hughes said it was more like 0.3 and only because of the big deg on Ferrari.
I think Ferrari is the clear benchmark in qualy and ties with Merc on race pace... Ferrari does seem to have the concept with the wider scope for performance and this will be worrying Mercedes for next year, when we'll basically see both teams refine their concept even more... I don't expect any convergence since no one will risk change the design completly and basically admitting that the other team got it right, when you do that you already give up 1 year worth of knowledge, which Ferrari is already incorporating in the design of next year's car.
Binotto already stated that they are happy with the current concept for next year as well and I think Merc will try to optimize their high DF package even more next year.