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Mercedes don't expect Australia advantage to last

Mercedes don't expect Australia advantage to last

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Mercedes don't expect Australia advantage to last

Mercedes don't expect Australia advantage to last

Toto Wolff says Mercedes do not expect to hold their strong advantage over Ferrari into too many races following the Australian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas locked out the front row at Albert Park on Saturday, more than half a second clear of the third-placed Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton lowered his own lap record yet again to take a sixth consecutive pole in Melbourne, and eighth overall, as Mercedes' pre-season predictions of trailing Ferrari did not bear out.

However, Hamilton has only taken victory on one of the previous five occasions he has taken pole in Australia, while Ferrari took pole position in the three races following Australia last year, having suffered a similar deficit.

And Wolff says little can be read into the Silver Arrows' performance this weekend.

"I would like to continue this way of course, but I don't think this is what we can expect," he said.

"I believe that the championship is going to be equally fought over like it was last year.

"Just because we had a very good Friday and a very good Saturday in Melbourne, it doesn't mean this will be a home run for the championship.

"On the contrary, we will - like last year - need to stretch ourselves to the maximum and really leave no stone unturned, like we did after Barcelona to keep ourselves competitive in the way we've been today."

Wolff admitted that the unique characteristics of Melbourne's street circuit may have more to do with Mercedes' advantage than any technical breakthrough.

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He said: "When we came to Australia and hit the road running on Friday it was difficult to really know what to expect – whether we were quickest or not quickest, or whether it would be very close.

"And we had a great Friday. We didn't trust it completely, and the car was equally good today.

"But it wasn't the easiest of starts in Barcelona and we can't judge yet whether it was a bit of an outlier because Melbourne is different or whether generally we have a car that is as fast as it looks or seems today."

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