Lewis Hamilton insists Valtteri Bottas's success is down to his former mechanic

Florence Fletcher
May 11, 2019

The results have left Ferrari 74 points adrift in the constructors' championship while Sebastian Vettel is 35 shy of championship leader Valtteri Bottas in the drivers' standings. It may have helped as the Frenchman was fifth fastest during an early practice session on Friday. 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.

The only big difference this weekend compared with others is the number of upgrades on the cars.

"At the moment, the balance is a bit out of the flawless balance", Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc said.

Leclerc added: "At the moment the balance is a bit out of the ideal balance, but this is things that can be fixed and also normal when you are putting new parts on the auto".

Sebastian Vettel is confident Ferrari will find a solution as they work to improve his SF90 auto in Barcelona.

"We are now behind in the championship and we have to catch up", said Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto, who noted the team used a new aerodynamic package in Baku last round.

"It's not the first time this year that we are losing in these sorts of corners", Vettel said.

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Hamilton was unhappy with the performance of his car's tyres in the first session when he was fourth fastest and set his best lap on softs.

"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. "The auto felt really good today, completely different to how it was in winter testing". The things he is doing on track, which my engineer has obviously encouraged him to do, the things I was doing with settings he is now doing and he has definitely moved in the right direction there. "But we will see tomorrow in qualifying when Ferrari turns its new power unit up".

"Winning the championship is not just about winning a couple of races", said Hamilton, in another remark loaded with intent.

"Ferrari is always gaining something like 0.4s on the straights", he said. We work well together, but it takes time to build a relationship.

"We have a really great energy within the team".

In the afternoon hour and a half of track time, the two drivers continued with set-up work, at the same time, running all three Pirelli compounds. If the Ferraris can start ahead, they have the pace to win from the front, but doing so from the second row with tyre strategy alone will prove mighty hard.

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