Spanish Grand Prix: Mercedes preview Barcelona weekend

Lewis Hamilton Nico Rosberg  Mercedes AMG F1 W05  Bahrain Grand Prix

Round Five of the 2014 Formula 1  World Championship brings us to Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix, held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been good to have a bit of a break between races: for us as drivers and also for the team who have been working flat out for so many weeks. But 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. 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.”

Nico Rosberg: “The Spanish Grand Prix is the first race of the season on European soil after four exciting races at various circuits overseas. 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, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “We are now four races into the 2014 season and hold a strong position in both Championships. 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.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): “Barcelona follows the first three-week gap of the season after a near constant testing and racing itinerary since late January. For our trackside personnel in particular, it’s offered some respite and a chance to recharge the batteries for what is going to be a long year with the in-season tests also now on the calendar. The break in on-track action also presents an opportunity to work on the cars and to bring more new parts to the next event than you would see during back-to-back race weekends. Aside from being the first European race of the season, Barcelona is classically seen as the first big milestone for upgrades from the teams and we can expect to see quite a range of developments throughout the pit lane. The circuit itself is highly demanding on the cars: arguably requiring the best combination of power, handling and aerodynamics seen during the entire season. It’s often said that a car which performs well in Barcelona will be a great car for the season, so we’re looking forward to seeing where we stand relative to the competition. There has been no sense of complacency or backing off just because our car has shown strong performance in the opening few races. The objective is to not only match, but to better the development rate of our rivals and to build on our lead in both Championships.”