Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes will be able to apply pressure to Ferrari on a more consistent basis, such was the level of his performance in the Spanish Grand Prix.
Mercedes has struggled compared to Ferrari at times this season, with Sebastian Vettel winning the opening two races and taking three consecutive pole positions as the Scuderia had a more consistent car. While Hamilton won in Baku, his dominant performance in winning from pole position in Barcelona leaves the championship leader confident Mercedes will be able to maintain that level.
“This is when we’re going to start trying to continue to apply the pressure,” Hamilton said. “A one-two for the team; we’ve got our Mercedes board with us who have been supporting us from day one, so it’s great to have them here and just see that true force within the team. Strength in depth. I hope it can continue.”
Hamilton says he felt in sync with his car on Sunday as he won by over 20 seconds, and highlights Mercedes’ understanding of the way the car behaves as key to his confidence. But the four-time world champion admits the challenge of extracting the best performance from the Pirelli tires remains a concern.
“I think it’s obviously a little bit early to say but I would like to hope that it could be part of a turning point. There is… race by race we’re understanding the tires more, which is a bit battle for everyone. We could just as easily go to the next race and struggle getting our tires working and be nowhere. So, it’s a little bit early to say.
“We do after the five races now have a much, much better understanding of the car, of what we need to do to get the car to be working – but we still have learning to do, improvements to be made. We still need to add performance to the car throughout the year, so that’s what we’re going to be continuing to be working on.”
Valtteri Bottas backed up Hamilton’s win with second place to give Mercedes maximum points, and the Finn added that his disappointment at being beaten by his teammate is tempered by the team’s performance.
“I think, as a team, this weekend we have been perfect, and we just need to continue like that and for me also the wins are going to come,” Bottas said.
“There’s always a big part of me, if we’re one-two, and if I’m second and Lewis wins, big part of me is really happy for us as a team – because that means we are strong as a team and we are getting the results we want.
“But then of course there’s always a part of me not happy being second because I want to win races – but it’s still a long year ahead and, I’m a racer but I’m also a team player. For sure, second is not ideal but for us today, it couldn’t be better for us as a team.”