- Valtteri Bottas arrived in Spain on Thursday leading the F1 drivers’ championship once again after his victory in Baku, but rejected the suggestion Mercedes’ results flattered its performances so far this year. “We’ve done a great job as a team and with the level we’ve been performing at, I think we deserve these results,” Bottas said.

- Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton once again echoed his comments from recent races that comparisons between the current situation at Brackley and that in the past with Nico Rosberg are incorrect. “We have a really great energy in the team and we have an agreed set of rules so that we do finish the races one-two and we play supporting roles either way,” Hamilton said of his partnership with Hamilton.

- Sebastian Vettel may be without a win four races into the 2019 season, but he stressed the atmosphere and mood at Ferrari remained “as good or better than last year”. When told the points gap to the top of the drivers’ championship, Vettel said he was not aware of the difference, adding: “At this point of the year, it doesn’t really matter by how much. I think it’s quite straightforward, we need to start scoring more points.”

- Following his comment about trying to understand Ferrari’s car in the same way as a Rubik’s cube in Baku, Vettel was handed an actual Rubik’s cube by a journalist at the end of the press conference.

- Carlos Sainz Jr. will be flying the flag solo for Spanish drivers on home soil this weekend, but said he hadn’t felt any added pressure or attention in the absence of Fernando Alonso. Sainz referred to Liverpool’s astonishing comeback in the UEFA Champions League semi-final against Barcelona earlier this week as an example of the boost home support can give as he looks to maintain his points-scoring streak at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

- Sainz wasn’t the only driver chatting football on Thursday. After seeing Ajax crash out of the other UCL semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur, Max Verstappen – a PSV fan – was asked what F1 could do to create a similar level of drama. “It’s basically like being three laps down and the guy suddenly wins the race,” Verstappen said. “It’s just a different sport, different things can happen, the emotion as well.”

- Charles Leclerc also said Ferrari could take inspiration from the comebacks as it looks to try and overhaul the gap to Mercedes in the early stages of the constructors’ championship. “I think as a team and as a driver you always need to be motivated and never give up,” he said. “We are here to win and this is what we want to do, so we are doing everything in our hands to improve and hopefully the results will come.

- Talk about the calendar continued on Thursday in Spain as the first details on the 2020 schedule begin to come together. A number of drivers expressed their dismay at the possible loss of the Spanish Grand Prix, with Sainz saying it would be a “big loss”. However, there was a decent amount of support for Zandvoort’s reported return, with Williams’ George Russell saying it ranked among his top five circuits.

- Kimi Raikkonen said that he was not overly surprised by the sustained media interest despite his move away from Ferrari for the 2019 season and switch to Alfa Romeo, with a sizeable number of journalists still attending his media briefings. “I think for me it was not really a shock or different, it’s more or less what I was used to,” the Finn said. “But for the team, at the beginning, it was not like what they were used to.”

- A first sign of the car updates arrived in Barcelona as teams look to make good on their first update packages of the season. Romain Grosjean said Haas brought “pretty much a brand new car” to Barcelona as it looks to resolve its ongoing tyre woes, but other drivers remained more coy about just what kind of impact the new parts could have.

- Ferrari will debut its updated engine in Spain ahead of schedule as it looks to try and fight back against Mercedes. The update will not be taken by customer teams Alfa Romeo or Haas, though.

- The only note from scrutineering on Thursday was that a seal was broken on Antonio Giovinazzi’s gearbox in order to replace the differential actuator, in line with the sporting regulations.

- Red Bull announced on Thursday that IndyCar driver Patricio O’Ward had joined its junior programme. O’Ward does have the required points for an FIA Super License, accumulated across IMSA and Indy Lights in recent years.

- A number of new motorhomes were unveiled on the first European paddock day of the season on Thursday in Spain. Racing Point debuted a dramatically-upgraded motorhome, reaching three tiers, while Red Bull brought back its ‘Holzhaus’ that was seen in Austria last year, now the permanent replacement for the Energy Station. Haas has also updated its motorhome since pre-season testing.

- F1 on-track running will commence at 11am local time at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Friday (10am BST).



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