Toto Wolff says Mercedes’ run of four consecutive one-two finishes at the start of the 2019 Formula 1 season “flatters” the team.

The reigning world champion squad made history in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas leading home teammate Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes become the first team ever to start an F1 season with four one-two finishes on the bounce.

Mercedes dominated the Melbourne season-opener and recorded a fortuitous one-two in Bahrain despite struggling to match Ferrari for pace. It won comfortably again in China before having to turn the tables on Ferrari in Baku, having appeared well off the pace throughout practice.

“You can see the fluctuations of the performances,” Wolff said.

“Ferrari’s performance in Bahrain was in a league of its own. Ours was in Melbourne and in China. Here [in Baku] they were good, us not so much.

“So what I can see is that the overall order doesn’t seem to have changed. It’s still the same protagonists, but I think that the first four races, the one-twos, flatters us.”

As it has done for much of the campaign so far, Mercedes billed Ferrari as the clear favourites in Baku after Charles Leclerc dominated until his costly qualifying crash which effectively took him out of contention for victory.

“We are not talking ourselves down,” Wolff insisted. “We see a strong Ferrari on Friday and on Saturday, and I still believe that Charles was probably the fastest man on track, but like in Bahrain, it didn’t come together.

“You can say now, ‘Yeah, stop saying these things, it’s the fourth one-two in a row’, but it is still very much our mindset. We still believe that there is so much things we need to understand better and improve.

“What we did in the first races was put all the things together. The team didn’t do any mistakes, the strategy calls were right, the drivers didn’t put a foot wrong, and that made us win the first four races.

“Then when you look at the other side, they had more problems.”

 

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