Lewis Hamilton believes that his current car is harder to work with than the one he had in 2018, despite a strong start to the season.
Mercedes has taken three consecutive one-two finishes at the opening three races of the 2019 campaign, with Hamilton walking away victorious at two of them.
The Silver Arrows have dropped just two points, having not picked up the fastest lap of the race in Bahrain and China.
Hamilton highlighted that the pace of the W10 has been very difficult to unlock, as a variety of measures need to fall into place.
“So far, the car’s a little bit harder to work with this year. It's definitely not easier,” Hamilton stated.
“It’s a combination of things. Every year you’ve got tyre issues, which seems a little bit more complex than last year, but at the beginning of every season, we always struggle.
“Everyone is trying to understand the different tyre windows. The windows of these tyres are even more narrow than it has been in the past, which was pretty small before and it’s even smaller now.
“Keeping up the pressure every weekend or every year so it gets harder and harder. They built a car to work on 21 tracks, or to make it work on as many circuits, so trying to find the balance is very, very difficult because it’s never the perfect balance.
“Each one is kind of an average balance that might work everywhere. But when the tyres then come into it, then also the engine, it gets harder and harder.
“But as we get through the season we’ll learn more and more and I think we’ve definitely lucked out at least in one race win, you know which is in Bahrain, but we were pretty good in the race at least. Then the last race obviously was spectacular for us.”
Although Ferrari has been off the pace compared to Mercedes (bar Bahrain, where it was set for victory before an engine issue stopped Charles Leclerc's charge) Hamilton is confident that the Maranello outfit will be strong this weekend in Baku.
“I hope coming here we have a better understanding already compared to what we did in the first three, but they [Ferrari] are quick on the straights, so I anticipate they’ll be very, very strong this weekend," he said.
“Of course this is far better than we anticipated at the start of the season and something that everyone has worked so hard for in the team."
“So we’re really proud of the result we have so far, but also aware there’s a long long way to go.
“[There are] lots of positives to take from it, just keep our heads down and just keep working at it, as the others are.
"I hope the second half of the season gets stronger but I can’t predict what’s going to happen in the future all we can do is just take it one race at a time.”