Lewis Hamilton says it required a flawless performance for Mercedes to seal a fourth consecutive 1-2 finish at the start of the 2019 Formula 1 world championship but wants to see a Ferrari fightback.

The reigning F1 world champion helped Mercedes to yet another 1-2 result as his team locked out the front row before steering clear of any Ferrari attacks during the race to dominate the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who felt he had to reel in his aggression against teammate and pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas into Turn 1 to ensure he didn’t damage Mercedes’ chances of a 1-2, says he still wants to see Ferrari fighting for victories following another race the Italian squad failed to live up to expectations having shown strong pace in practice on the Baku City Circuit.

“Hopefully at some stage Ferrari will be in the mix with us. I think they had the performance to be on the front row with both of their cars [in Baku],” Hamilton said. “From our data we saw that Seb didn’t get a tow, for example, which is worth four or five tenths or something, so he probably would have been on pole had he got that tow and the race would have been maybe more exciting.

“It takes one hundred per cent deliver throughout the weekend, which we, I think, were as close to that as possible. They’re going to have to pick it up if they want to fight us.”

Hamilton also agreed Mercedes is currently in its best form since he arrived at the team in 2013 having seen improvements from both the team and on the otherside of his garage from Bottas.

“Valtteri’s clearly stepped up this year and is really happy in the car, really delivering and driving fantastically,” he said. “So it’s going to take some really great performances from both of us to out-perform each other. And that’s how it should be.

“Valtteri did an exceptional job all weekend and he was very fair in giving space and after that he was faultless. So he truly deserved the win.

“It was really cool that we could push as hard as we could all the way to the end. It was great that the team allowed us to do that.

“Also just the team’s performance throughout the whole weekend, the engineers, everyone back at the factory who are just constantly delivering 100%.

“This is truly the strongest season we’ve ever started with but really deservingly in the sense of just how hard everyone has worked in the delivery, so really proud to be a part of it and this is a really great result for everyone.”

Mercedes has set a new record for most consecutive 1-2 results at the start of an F1 season, beating the three consecutive top two finishes produced by Williams at the start of the 1992 campaign.