The Mercedes-AMG team arrive for round five of the 2014 Formula 1 championship in Spain with a 100% pole and win record. Nico Rosberg won the opening round of the season in Australia and sits on top of the Drivers’ championship table, while Lewis Hamilton has won the past three races in Malaysia, Bahrain and China and is second in the championship, four points behind his team-mate.
Hamilton arrives in Spain having won three races in a row for the first time in his F1 career, and is eager to continue the momentum he and his team have got after the flyaway races. He does know he will not be the favourite with the fans however, with Fernando Alonso of Ferrari likely to get the loudest cheers.
“After three great weekends in Malaysia, Bahrain and China I’m obviously keen to get on to the next one and continue that positive momentum into the next leg of the season,” said Hamilton. “Barcelona is a great place to have the first European round on the calendar. It’s a circuit we all know very well – although this is the first time in my Formula One career that I have raced there without testing at the circuit during the winter – and the Spanish crowds are really passionate about their racing.
“It’s great to see so many people in the grandstands over the weekend. I’ve never won in Barcelona but I’m in a good place right now and I’m hoping that this will be the year, although it’s clear who the fans’ favourite will be! The circuit is fantastic, our car has performed well so far and I’m really looking forward to a good race.”
Team-mate Rosberg has one win and three second places in the four rounds so far, and is confident he can continue his good form in Spain where he took pole position in 2013.
“The Spanish Grand Prix is the first race of the season on European soil after four exciting races at various circuits overseas,” said Rosberg. “This is where the next phase of the season begins and there is probably no other track in the world that I know as well as the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
“I also have some good memories of race weekends in Barcelona. Last year, for example, I started from pole position so I’m looking forward to going back there again and maybe repeating that particular feat. It’s also only now that we can slowly begin to get an idea of how the different cars stack up in terms of performance.
“Each team will have been pushing hard during the break since the last race to find some extra performance from new parts. So it will certainly be an interesting weekend and hopefully an exciting one for the fans too.”
Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport is hoping the team come to Spain still with the advantage they had before the three-week break after China, and perhaps even with an even greater advantage as the team have been working hard in their factories to improve the car that remains unbeaten in 2014.
“We are now four races into the 2014 season and hold a strong position in both Championships,” said Wolff. “However, the first European round of the year always provides a prime opportunity for teams to arrive with improvements to their cars. Of course, we are no different to any other team in that respect and our aim must be to increase the advantage we enjoyed at the last race in China.
“We have seen already that our rivals are relentless in their efforts to close the gap. As a team, it is up to us to rise to that challenge: to take that relentless mentality to an even greater extent than those around us. If we are to build a sustained level of success in this sport, any small advantage must be seen as a platform upon which to build a bigger advantage.
“We head to Barcelona on good form and in high spirits. But, most importantly, we approach the next race weekend as we approached the first: in the knowledge that there is still a long season ahead and anything can happen.”