As Formula One returns home to this year’s first European race at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton desires to complete hat-trick Catalan triumphs and regain the lead.

The defending champion is a single point behind his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the embryonic standings.  He is well aware of Ferrari armed with an upgraded power unit being introduced two races sooner than planned and shone in pre-season testing.

Mercedes team Chief Toto Wolff said, “The results may seem to paint a clear picture, but the truth is that they are too flattering.”

He also rejected the notion put forward by Ferrari’s four-time champion, Sebastian Vettel that his team was now underdogs.

“The performances have fluctuated in the first four races. Our opponents were blisteringly quick in the winter testing here. So this Spanish Grand Prix will be anything but easy.”

Mattia Binotto, the newly-installed team boss who faces the challenge of ending Mercedes’ five years of Dominion said,” Obviously Mercedes are very strong at the moment so I am pretty sure they will be very strong as well in Barcelona.”