Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Wolff: Ricciardo is a 'definite' option for Mercedes

Wolff: Ricciardo is a 'definite' option for Mercedes

Despite all the talk of updates, as usual the ultimate performance seems to come down to who can get the tricky Pirelli tyres to work best for them.

'For whatever reason it is very hard to undo the DNA of our auto, and Monaco, as well as Hungary and Singapore, are tracks where we have under-performed at.

The tyres created all sorts of headaches for the teams.

Despite their lack of pace in Spain, where not only were they not able to extract the same speed from their tyres as Mercedes but were also unable to coax them to last as long as the silver cars, the Italian team have had the most versatile auto so far this season.

Within a few laps a six-second lead over championship rival Sebastian Vettel appeared ominous, and indeed it was as the Ferrari, hitherto the best vehicle in the field, couldn't get anyway where near the back of the Mercedes.

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"We were expecting a two stop race today and when Vettel stopped on lap 17 we hoped to be able to overcut taking advantage of poor warm-up on the medium". But on Sunday, Lewis Hamilton was in devastating form.

And while not a particular lover of F1 testing duties, Hamilton was pleased to get the extra mileage under his belt ahead of a key phase of the season. But the German marque struggled past year in Monaco, with Ferrari sweeping to a one-two finish.

Reigning world champion Hamilton has less than a year left on his Mercedes contract, but the 33-year-old says that a new deal will be signed soon.

"I'm looking forward to Monaco; hopefully we can take some of the things we've learned onto there".

Charles Leclerc was one of the other stars of the race, backing up his strong performance in Baku.

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Sebastian Vettel won two of those three opening races as Ferrari threatened to mount a serious challenge to Mercedes' dominance of the sport over recent seasons.

Grosjean's spin that caused carnage on Lap 1 was the only bit of excitement of the Grand Prix.

"We are not far from finalising things". In a way, while it was a shame for Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly, it was lucky that there weren't more cars wiped out in that or drivers injured.

In fifth and sixth place, Red Bulls' Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo had even a slimmer margin after qualifying, 0.002 of a second, which serves to show why Formula One's timing is to the thousandths of a second.

He admitted that he feared the team's rivals might have the upper hand in two weeks' time in Monaco, where Mercedes has traditionally struggled. His 1:18.441 was more than three seconds faster than the previous record - a 1:21.670 - set by Kimi Raikkonen in 2008.

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Hamilton qualified only 14th and finished seventh in the principality past year.

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