Valtteri Bottas feels Mercedes can’t be discredited for its performances storming to four consecutive 1-2 results at the start of the 2019 Formula 1 world championship and dominating against its title rivals.

The Finn leads the F1 drivers’ standings by a single point having notched up identical results – two wins and two second places – to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton but leads the championship thanks to his fastest lap point from Australia.

Mercedes has conceded good fortune has partly helped it secure four straight 1-2 finishes at the start of 2019, creating a new F1 record in the process, most notably when Charles Leclerc suffered an engine issue in the closing stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix which dropped the Ferrari driver from the lead to third place by the chequered flag.

While Bottas accepts luck has played a role he feels Mercedes’ own efforts can’t be discounted as a result.

“I think we’ve done a great job as a team and with the level we’ve been performing at, I think we deserve these results, at the moment,” Bottas said.

“Of course, sometimes we might get lucky, like in Bahrain, because we got the one-two finish because of another team’s failures, but it’s also means we were the most reliable car at that race, so it’s not only luck. It’s most how the team is performing.

“For sure in Melbourne we were stronger; in Bahrain in pure pace they were better and after that it has been pretty close.

“It has been all about fine details in qualifying and what’s been happening in the race. I see us not far, more on par with Ferrari, depending on tracks it will change.”

Bottas duly expects a tough challenge from Ferrari at Spanish Grand Prix, with the Italian manufacturer pushing forward its engine upgrade for this weekend, and is bracing for a harder opposition on F1’s return to Europe.

“Obviously this weekend, from the upgrades I understand Ferrari is bringing, a new power unit, let’s see how that works. But we have some new parts as well, so let’s see how that works,” he said.

“I can’t really discount Red Bull in this kind of track and also in Monaco, in two weeks’ time. But it’s early on in the season and, as always when there are regulation changes, it’s going to be a lot about the development, on how much we can improve from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi.”

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