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Mercedes

Mercedes hold the advantage over Red Bull in two key areas

For the third time this season Mercedes got the better of Red Bull. Lewis Hamilton took home the Spanish GP to extend his lead atop the standings, and the Silver Arrows know why they are ahead.

Verstappen Hamilton Spain
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To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

While Mercedes don't believe they have the faster car over Red Bull, they do believe they hold the advantage in two areas at this point of the 2021 F1 season.

Although Max Verstappen has led the most laps so far, he hasn't been able to get the better of Lewis Hamilton at three of the four races, though there has been little to choose between the two drivers at most events.

Speaking about Sunday's win in Spain, Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin believes Mercedes hold the advantage in terms of rear tyre degradation over their championship rivals.

"We are still not really at a stage where we go in thinking we’ve got a better race car or we are better at looking after the tyres," Shovlin told RacingNews365.com and other members of the media.

"It is actually quite hard to say what it was [in the Spanish GP]. We were able to sit behind them and, when you are the lead car and someone can sit on your gearbox for a whole stint, it is not normally good news.

"But we are still in the stage of the year where we are collecting data across the different tracks. But it does look to be a bit of a trend that maybe we have got a slightly more neutral car.

"Theirs seems to be a bit harder on the rear tyres over a stint whereas we are using both axles quite well. But we will see with some more data whether that is really a feature of the car or just how we are setting it up."

Valtteri Bottas made headlines following his decision to battle Hamilton despite team orders telling him to let the Brit by. The Finn's chances of fighting for first were dented after falling behind Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at the start, however he still came home third.

Shovlin feels Mercedes have the advantage over Red Bull when it comes to the performance of both their drivers, as Sergio Perez was never in the fight at the front of the grid, eventually finishing fifth.

"There really wasn't a lot to fight for in his [Bottas] regard, but the car pace was good," Shovlin added. "That was encouraging to see and certainly his pace in qualifying was right on the money. He was solid through the weekend.

"That's an advantage we're enjoying with our two drivers that we're seeing more consistently than they are at Red Bull."

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