"We expected Mercedes to be very strong so tomorrow should be an interesting race", said Vettel.
I think that is because the working range is far narrower than it was previous year so you give it everything on an out lap and you still don't have your tyres in the window and they heat the tyres up in the blankets. Mercedes, on the other hand, have not challenged for the win, but were benefactors of a well times safety vehicle in Baku that allowed them to finish ahead of the Ferrari.
Coverage of today's Spanish Grand Prix from Barcelona will be shown live on Sky Sports F1 (Sky 406, Sky HD 472, Virgin 516). The Ferraris were clearly sandbagging, just because they could.
Outside of a forgettable double DNF in 2016, Mercedes has had a lot of recent success in Barcelona, winning three of the last four races at this track.
"Qualifying was good for me but not quite ideal - and it ended up very close on the final times", said Bottas. "But for us as a team this is a flawless result with two cars on the front row".
F1 recently announced changes to the wings and brake ducts to make it easier for cars to follow each other, which theoretically should improve racing.
"It was a great close qualifying, obviously all weekend was close", Hamilton said."Ferrari was probably sandbagging just because they could, they've always had a very quick auto". After three races struggling for one-lap pace, the return to a high-speed circuit with high-energy corners appeared to suit the Mercedes, but Hamilton credits his team's creative approach to problem solving for his return to the front this weekend.
Bottas' finish of third place in the driver standings last season was also the lowest of the V6 turbo hybrid era for a Mercedes driver. "I have some catching up to do overall in terms of the points, so I will be aiming to do as well as I can".
Commenting on his performance in qualifying Bottas said he felt good in the auto, and that his focus was on getting the maximum possible from the race.
The auto works at its best on the harder compounds of rubber and Mercedes and all the top six drivers, will start the race on the soft rubber used in the second session. I find it a bit comical: why, in 2009 we went, let's go less aerodynamics and better racing and so on?
"I didn't have much to lose so I thought I'd try". He said part of the problem is that many times "a lot of us drivers might agree but we know our teams won't agree". "We have been very competitive and have had a chance to fight for the win in most of the races". Does it make a difference?
"First focus on the start then we will see".