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Mercedes

Mercedes engineering director: The whole year is going to be like this!

Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin has said the team are settling into a year-long slog with Red Bull, and say Barcelona is set to be as unpredictable as the first few races.

Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin believes 2021 is going to be a season where there is very little difference in terms of performance between themselves and Red Bull.

Having won the Portuguese GP ahead of Max Verstappen, it came down to a case of Lewis Hamilton making fewer errors than the Dutch driver over the weekend as well as the W12 being slightly quicker in a straight line than made all the difference.

Shovlin explained that it's likely to be the same yet again this weekend in Barcelona, for the fourth round of another Red Bull vs Mercedes showdown.

"To be honest, I think it will be more of the same. You won't be able to split them, you won't be able to read qualifying, you won't be able to read the race," Shovlin told select members of the media, including RacingNews365.

"I think it'll just be very, very tight. And we're kind of settling into that. I think the whole year is going to be a bit like that. And you've got to actually enjoy the competition. Not let yourself get too stressed about it, because it is going to be a long, tough year."

The feeling is that Red Bull prefer hotter conditions for racing, with the Spanish GP set to be considerably warmer than Portimao was last weekend. As a result, Shovlin believes Mercedes will have their work cut out this weekend.

"We've got plenty on our list of things to worry about," he said.

"It can be pretty hot there. It's a tarmac that's now getting quite aggressive and gives the tyres a tough time. And we've just done two circuits that have been pretty cold. It's been fairly hard to get the tyres in the right window.

"Barcelona's a little bit more like Bahrain in the way that it is always sort of overheating. And Bahrain was not a very kind place to us in some respects. So that'll be the main thing that that we're worried about."

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