Hamilton hails Mercedes' update package in Spain

by Noah Mcgee May 13, 2017, 0:54

Hamilton finished a distant and curious fourth in Sochi to fall 13 points behind Vettel in the title race, but the triple world champion was back on top of the order at the Circuit de Catalunya ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Lewis Hamilton beat teammate Valtteri Bottas to the quickest time by 0.029s with a lap half second clear of last year's pole position despite being set on the medium compound tyre.

The three-time world champion led the way ahead of his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who claimed his maiden win in Russian Federation two weeks ago, where a baffled Hamilton finished fourth.

The only other driver from the leading trio of teams yet to triumph in Barcelona is Verstappen's Australian teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, but Red Bull has lagged Mercedes and Ferrari on pace so far this year.

Hamilton's Mercedes team and Ferrari, spearheaded by four-time champion Vettel, arrived in Spain for the start of Formula One's European season with two victories each under their belt. 'I am happy with the team, but we are not winning.

"But, one thing is for sure - we have a very fast race vehicle and a fast qualifying auto". "Everyone worked very hard to bring the upgrade here, as every team did but they have done a great job to put the auto package to move forward in this fight to make us stronger for this battle". "It's a good feeling for everyone when these upgrades work".

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"I feel good. Obviously today I don't feel so good inside the vehicle, it was quite slippery but I think it was due to the conditions, I think everybody was struggling a bit. I'm not anxious, I'm just not happy with how the day went", Vettel said. "There will be upgrades for everybody and we will be doing work tomorrow to get the vehicle in the right place". "So, we are taking this season one race at a time".

"It's not my decision but I'm ready to race whoever comes along".

Reports have emerged from Italy that Vettel, 29, has already held discussions with Mercedes' non-executive chairman Niki Lauda to partner Hamilton next year. "We're expecting some various new parts...but we can't really focus too much on performance until we have solved our reliability issues".

The scene was befitting of the driver that entered the year as the preseason pick to lead the title race following the stunning decision of last year's champion Nico Rosberg to retire.

"I'll try to keep good momentum out of that".

Vettel added: "Today was quite a shocker, if you look at the long runs..." "I struggled a bit with the auto balance in general so conditions today seemed to be quite challenging".

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