Mercedes looking to 'make the most' from absence of wounded Perez in Spanish GP

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Mercedes hope to capitalise on once again having a two versus one advantage against Max Verstappen during the Spanish Grand Prix.

Like the opening race in Bahrain, the Dutchman faces the tough task of trying to beat Lewis Hamilton without the support of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to fend off Valtteri Bottas.

This after the Mexican lacked pace in qualifying only managing P8 on the grid, later revealing he was struggling with an injury.

"It was a bit of a struggle," he admitted. "I had a bit of an issue with my shoulder through qualifying and I was just feeling bad all the way through it.

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"It was just getting worse and worse as the quali developed, and I struggled a bit more with it.

"It was just a bad day, I didn't get a good lap throughout the day," Checo, who spun during his first run in Q3, added. "Q1 was looking alright, but we just didn't make any progress after that."

On the injury, Perez was confident that everything would be "100 percent" for Sunday, and Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko was hopeful he would still have a role to play.

"We had already hoped that we would be able to include him strategically," he told Sky Germany, revealing the team had also switched to a lower downforce set-up on both cars before qualifying.

"Now let's see. The race is going to be long here. Unfortunately overtaking is traditionally very difficult [at Barcelona] but he's a good tyre whisperer, maybe we can bring that into play then."


The longer Perez isn't up at the front though, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is optimistic.

"We have the advantage of two cars on the clean side of the grid, and both drivers in the top three; that will provide us a strategic opportunity, and we need to make the most of it for the race," he was quoted by