Sebastian Vettel: "I am happy, but at the same time I'm not"

Vettel confident Ferrari can solve ‘Rubik’s Cube’ car

Vettel confident Ferrari can solve ‘Rubik’s Cube’ car

Ferrari and the rest of the field could take a glimmer of hope from Bottas having to box for an apparent leak and Hamilton telling the team radio at one point that he was "struggling". Hamilton's former performance engineer, Riccardo Musconi, replaced Ross over the winter and has already overseen two victories and two pole positions for the Finn.

It's clear Bottas is performing at an extremely high level and Hamilton has a serious title contender across the garage from him. Last year's victor in Spain was Hamilton.

"You know, I don't think that Mercedes were that far behind us in the testing here in Barcelona. It's only been four races, so watch this space". "Everything is still very much up for grabs this season and we will be keeping our foot firmly to the floor". 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.

"Otherwise he is still the strong Finn that he's been before".

And at age 34, Hamilton said his maturity is also helping create more harmony within the team. Tension, that's just there - there's always tension when you want to beat someone else.but what we're paid to do is win for the team. "So, so far, so good".

As if to signal his intentions, Hamilton was first out for Q3, but it was Bottas who showed the way in 1:15.406 to take pole on his first run, six-tenths ahead of his Mercedes teammate.

Bottas said: "I have to say that when I saw the times, definitely we expected Ferrari to be closer". But Hamilton is convinced his relationship with Bottas will not go the same way.

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"It's always an interesting day when you're bringing new parts to the vehicle to get a feel for it and see if they bring the performance they should", said Bottas. "So when he [Wolff] mentions glimpses of that it's because he has seen a glimpse of it, but what's really important is that will pull together as a team".

"We're very motivated and determined to try and close the gap but it's not that easy".

"If you look at the results, it looks like we've been dominating as a team, four one-twos in a row", he said.

Predictably, most of the teams will arrive in Spain with an array of updates for their cars that may make it more hard to predict performance, but Ferrari appear to have chosen to adopt a downbeat approach in advance.

Asked to elaborate on what had happened in the background, Hamilton added: "Nope, it's all internal and not for the public domain".

Hamilton, nearly perversely, has said he wants to see Ferrari lift their performance to ensure a thrilling season of competition for himself and Bottas, as their intra-team rivalry promises to turn into a scrap for the drivers' title. We will continue to push on and we won't have any problems.

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