With Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton finishing 1st and 2nd in Azerbaijan last time out, Mercedes are in a prime position to extend their record of 5 consecutive victories at the start of a season at today’s Spanish GP.
Mercedes’s pace in Australia shocked everyone as the F1 community was nearly totally convinced that Ferrari were going to wipe the floor with the pace they showed in Pre-Season Testing. While that Ferrari pace has yet to develop fully, Mercedes have taken advantage, taking victory after victory.
With 1-2 finishes in Australia and in Bahrain, Mercedes left China with a third 1-2 finish becoming the first team since Williams in 1992 to start a season with 3 consecutive 1–2 finishes and it got even better for the Silver Arrows as they secured yet another 1-2 finish in Azerbaijan to be the first team ever to secure 4 consecutive 1-2 finishes at the start of a season.
Now in Spain with Bottas on Pole and Hamilton in 2nd, the run of 4 victories could be extended to 5.
Every season, typically the Spanish GP is the first race of the year in which team’s, up and down the field, bring upgrades to their cars as it is the first race of the year that is closest to the team’s European bases. After topping FP2, Bottas hailed the new Mercedes upgrades by saying: “It really felt good today. Our cornering performance has improved, a whole lot different feeling from winter testing with the car, so that’s nice to feel and see.”
Not to put a damper on things but after the start of the Azerbaijan GP where Hamilton and Bottas ran side-by-side through turns 1 and 2, the Brit admitted after the race that in the future, he wouldn’t leave the same racing space in the future.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has been a favourite hunting ground for Mercedes since 2014, having taken 4 of the last 5 races as victories. The only exception was in 2016 where then team-mates, Nico Rosberg and Hamilton, collided at turn 4 at the start of the race. Mercedes Management is confident that the bitter rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg wouldn’t develop between Bottas and Hamilton. Team Principal, Toto Wolff, said in an interview with the BBC that “the two have been so respectful with each other on and off track that we are in a very different place than we were in 2016.” Only time will tell..
Ahead of today’s race, Mercedes lead the Constructors Championship on 173 points, 74 points clear of Ferrari in 2nd on 99 points.
Can the Silver Arrows extend their lead in the championship and win a 5th consecutive race? I guess we will all find out later today.