Despite winning by almost a minute in Spain, Mercedes' executive director of technical matters, Paddy Lowe, admits that he is not expecting such a commanding performance from his two drivers at next weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were separated by just 0.6secs at the chequered flag in Barcelona, but the closest opposition was just shy of 50secs further adrift of the Briton as Mercedes racked up its fifth win from as many races to open the 2014 F1 season. Hamilton's win also lifted him above Rosberg for first place in the drivers' standings as the campaign looks increasingly likely to be fought out between the two Silver Arrows pilots.

"We're very pleased with the result in Barcelona," Lowe admitted, "It's an amazing achievement to take five wins in a row - and even more so to have four consecutive one-two finishes. It's a tremendous endorsement of all the hard work from everyone at Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart.

Another highlight was to once more see a great demonstration of the level of competition between our two drivers. To be separated by just six-tenths at the flag proves once again just how evenly matched they are."

Heading to the tightest track on the schedule with two team-mates battling each other for ultimate glory, however, could prove to be a step too far for Lowe and the Mercedes pit-wall.

"Monaco, of course, is a very different prospect," he confirmed, "It's a tough event both logistically and practically for the team, and also highly demanding for the drivers.

"Building momentum through each session is crucial and the unforgiving nature of the track can make even the smallest mistake a significant one relative to your weekend as a whole. Any track time lost around Monaco is a missed opportunity, more so than at any other circuit, so it's crucial to get it right from the very first lap on Thursday."

While Hamilton and Rosberg have been the tandem to beat so far in 2014, Lowe is also reluctant to write off the opposition too soon, with Red Bull, Ferrari and an improving Lotus squad all ready to build on recent performances.

"It's a driver's circuit and both Lewis and Nico are on top form, so we're expecting an exciting contest," he concluded, "We won [in Monaco] last year with Nico, which was a fantastic result at the time, and Lewis has also been impressive there in the past, including taking a victory of his own in 2008, but the circuit itself is so unique that it's difficult to predict which teams will be strong at this race and, certainly, we wouldn't expect to have the same margin of advantage as we enjoyed in Barcelona. Nonetheless, we're hopeful of another good performance..."


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