Bottas beats Hamilton in Spanish GP practice

Bottas beats Hamilton in Spanish GP practice

From a defending champion on the back foot to a less than clear strategic decision, and from a team looking set to finally maximise their potential to a driver confident he can spring a surprise on Sunday, we highlight five topics to keep an eye out for in Barcelona...

Even so, Hamilton said if Bottas wanted to overtake him, he would have to earn it.

The team brought an aerodynamic upgrade to the last round in Baku and now plans to double down in Spain with further bodywork upgrades and its first engine upgrade of the year. So, the little step he has taken is to be expected. "It is not as strong as something that has been built over six years".

"I think one of the main reasons for that is that this track has always suited the auto I've been racing with", said Sainz during the pre-race press conference.

Cesaro will remain in Barcelona to watch Sunday's race before joining WWE's tour through the United Kingdom and Europe. "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 tried a few things, but that just didn't work. "Otherwise he is still the strong Finn that he has been before". But also I think I've always been comfortable in this track. "For sure when you have new people around that makes you think at things differently, it opens new routes on your way of thinking about the set-up, opens new directions and it has started really well. We have been learning a lot as an engineering team all the time and it's getting better and better". "So, so far, so good".

Lewis Hamilton finished a distant fourth this morning, but improved to second, just 0.049 seconds slower than his Mercedes team-mate.


Otherwise, Mercedes appears ready to extend its record start for a two-car team in F1 after sweeping the first two spots in all four races.

There were stretches where the cars felt really good and other parts where the auto hasn't - but deep down we know that the vehicle is strong. "So when he [Wolff] mentions glimpses of that it's because he has seen a glimpse of it, but what's really important is that will pull together as a team. We have discussed it and hopefully rectified it so that it won't spring up again".

"We completely acknowledge there is rivalry between the two of them and that rivalry will intensify the longer the championship goes if it is between them and this is something we must address in a transparent way". Ferrari looked to hold a significant advantage in Baku, yet it was Mercedes that locked out the front row and took a one-two victory.

"Many teams will bring aero package or vehicle developments, so that will be again a different balance compared to what we've seen so far in the season", he added.

Asked to elaborate on what had happened in the background, Hamilton added: "Nope, it's all internal and not for the public domain".

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