BC-CAR-F1-Cautious Mercedes, 1st Ld-Writethru, 552Mercedes cautious despite a commanding victory in SpainAP Photo XDMV159, XDMV163, XDMV161, XDMV165, XDMV134, XDMV160, XDMV114, XDMV127Eds: Minor edits; Adds new photo links.
Mercedes now do not have any drivers under contract for 2019 as Valtteri Bottas is also in the final year of his current deal.
"Hopefully they'll do something more exciting later on in the year". And it was the type of victory that could reassert the team's authority in Formula One.
All the signs are a cause for concern in the case of Mercedes executive Toto Wolff, who is less-than-positive heading into the race on the back of previous years where their vehicle has disappointed.
"This weekend we got ourselves on the right path", Hamilton said.
"But we know as well that this was a good circuit for us and the temperatures fell in our favour as well".More news: Severe storms are possible late today and tonight
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After three races in which driver and the team have struggled to unlock performance from tyres and auto, Mercedes finally had the platform required at the Circuit de Catalunya.
While a podium is always a good outcome, it doesn't make up for the win that Bottas lost out on in Baku when he suffered a late puncture while leading the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. More importantly, Mercedes-AMG locked out the front row.
It is a sign of how well Hamilton is driving in Barcelona that fellow four-time champion Vettel, not far from his own best, still could not overhaul him.
In Ferrari's favour, Mercedes has struggled at certain circuits in past years, including Monaco. The street circuit demands setups that work well on slow corners, traditionally a strength for Ferrari and Red Bull.
"But if we were to look at others, Daniel is definitely among them".
Vettel will kick off proceedings in the Ferrari SF71H just two days after finishing fourth in Spain. Bottas finished fourth and Hamilton was seventh. "Monaco, Hungary, Singapore. Part of why that is we know, but part is still a mystery".
"At no point did I feel like I was going to lose but I was pushing every single lap - using it as a test bed to understand what I liked about the balance and understand where I can get more from". "So we need to keep working hard and believe in our ability to improve things". While it was Ferrari dominating Q1 and Q2, the team bagged pole where it mattered the most which was in Q3. However, I do think that by changing the width of the track on the entry to some of the corners, and tweaking the layout a bit, we could create some decent passing places by creating some new lines.