Bottas and Hamilton maintain stranglehold in Barcelona



Given how dominant the two Mercedes cars have been in Formula One this season, it seems the only thing that could stop the Silver Arrows at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix might be another outbreak of infighting. "The performance has fluctuated in the first four races", said the Austrian.

Ferrari are the only ones without a presence in the official F1 esports championship, which is in its third season and involves the teams only later in the year.

"The long runs were OK and we still need to find a little bit of pace, but we have the whole night to find it".

"There are many things in this sport that can affect [results]", Bottas told a news conference in Barcelona.

Of course, there are all the usual caveats that come with any Friday practice session.

"I truly believe it is the best pairing in terms of that respect, and how we deliver each weekend, it is better than any other team has ever had or now has".

The only big difference this weekend compared with others is the number of upgrades on the cars. Sebastian used one set of Soft tyres improving with each lap from 1:18.068 to 1:17.823 and then to 1:17.425. So, could Friday's woes be solved with a better understanding of the data and some setup tweaks overnight? But we recovered quite well and the vehicle balance was a bit better than before. "But this is a thing that can be fixed and also things that are not un-normal when you are putting new parts on the vehicle". "What's really important is that we pull together as a team".

But drill a bit deeper into where Ferrari is losing time and it's a familiar picture that emerges. Sunday's race is the first since the anniversary.

Binotto added that Ferrari were pushing hard to catch Mercedes.

"It's time for the Spanish GP, traditionally a race where most of the teams bring some updates, therefore we can expect to see a step up in performance from our competitors", team principal Mattia Binotto said. "If it was easy, we would just fix it, but now we are all working very hard and trying still to just understand why we are losing out in these types of corners - sometimes more than other times. I like the track, I like the challenge, I like racing with the fans behind me".

"It's always an interesting day when you bring new parts for the vehicle", Bottas said. "The vehicle felt really good today, completely different to how it was in winter testing". "I hope this might be the moment to put that right".

Vettel said: "We started off well in the winter and coming here and being quite far behind is not nice".

Hamilton, meanwhile, revealed why Mercedes still has some cause for concern when it comes to engine power and Saturday afternoon.

"You know, I don't think that Mercedes were that far behind us in the testing here in Barcelona. Still it's really positive for us to be up there".

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