Bottas fastest in opening practice in Barcelona

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

"Obviously, Mercedes are very strong at the moment so I am pretty sure they will be very strong as well in Barcelona", said Mattia Binotto, the newly-installed team boss facing the challenge of ending Mercedes five years' domination.

Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari face an "interesting" test at the Spanish GP armed with engine and vehicle upgrades as they bid to recapture their pacesetting winter form from Barcelona.

Bottas and Hamilton were quickest ahead of the two Ferraris led by Charles Leclerc and four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, the Italian team unable to produce the speed needed with their updates package to overhaul dominant Mercedes.

The German driver last week described the auto as a "Rubik's Cube", but he believes Ferrari have the talent to solve the puzzle at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

Sainz believes his previous Spanish Grand Prix outings have been in cars that have suited the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and he hopes this can continue once more into the 2019 event with McLaren.

"I just let my results do the talking so that's what I focus on". Easy? Sub-two minutes.

"The early introduction does not mean that we cannot still use P1 in some races, that can be an option", Binotto said at Friday's news conference.

"The vehicle felt really good today, completely different to how it was in winter testing, and it seems like our cornering performance has improved".

"We're working flat out trying to make sure that we have the fastest auto on the grid and that we win all the races that are left".

Valtteri Bottas says the updated Mercedes feels vastly different from the vehicle that the team struggled with during pre-season testing, after topping Friday practice at the Spanish Grand Prix.

"It is always a special one for me", said the 21-year-old of a track whose future remains uncertain, with talk of Verstappen's home Dutch circuit Zandvoort taking the slot next year. "I knew we were behind but, at this point of the year, it doesn't really matter how much. We haven't found the silver bullet - but in the last 10 years I never found the silver bullet so I don't think it exists".

"I think we have made a step forward, but Mercedes look like they have done a bigger step. The sooner, the better".

"On top of that, we will have a new power unit that we are introducing ahead of schedule, as the second specification was due to be brought to Canada". The second week of testing, it was a match.

The matter of true potential has exercised minds so far this season, but the question will be put to rest at the Spanish Grand Prix on May 12, the first race of the European leg of the season.

There will be a second practice later Friday, and a third one on Saturday before qualifying.

"It is only slightly positive that we managed to overtake a Ferrari in qualifying", he continued. Things could come our way.

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