Despite securing their first front-row lockout of the season, Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Executive Director Toto Wolff is expecting both Scuderia Ferrari and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing to challenge for the win of the Spanish Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton took his second pole of the season by just 0.04s from team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel over a tenth away. Kimi Räikkönen took fourth, with Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo almost seven tenths away.
Whilst getting both drivers on the front row would have almost guaranteed victory in years passed, this year has seen both Ferrari and Red Bull take wins in the first four races, with a mixture of pace and strategy helping – and hindering – all three teams. This, coupled with strong pace from both other teams on long runs, leads Wolff to think it won’t be as straightforward a race as hoped.
That was a fantastic qualifying session from both drivers and from the team as a whole – and a well-deserved front row. The aerodynamic upgrades we brought to this race are working well and the competition between Lewis and Valtteri is incredibly close – and we can feel that driving us forward at each race weekend.
“Although the gaps in practice looked to be in our favour, we knew that things would close up in qualifying and that proved to be the case. But the guys stayed calm, made the right calls and delivered when it mattered.
“Now, we need to turn our attention to the race and the challenges it brings; on the long runs yesterday, Ferrari were very competitive and Red Bull particularly strong, so we know it will be a hard-fought Grand Prix. First, we need to win the start and maintain our positions – and then maximize our opportunities tomorrow as they come.“