Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said that Lewis Hamilton is at the peak of his driving powers despite the disappointing result in Australia. Speaking this week ahead of the China GP, Wolff said that Hamilton is the best he’s been in the past four years and has become “a pillar of the team”.

Wolff also paid tribute to Valtteri Bottas after the Finn impressed in his debut Mercedes race and finished just two seconds behind Hamilton in Australia, “Valtteri has settled in well and performed at a high level, rising above all the pressure and seamlessly taking over from Nico.”

The team has called for patience from fans after the season opener suffered from a lack of overtaking. The team has said that there are factors that will make overtaking easier this year.

“The magnitude of the tow effect is stronger in 2017 thanks to the revised regulations. Bigger cars equal greater wake. When the cars are charging down the straights, there will be an accentuated difference in speed when they enter the overtaking zone. The DRS effect too, is stronger.”

They also said that due to the larger rear wings the lap time benefit of DRS has increased by over 30% and this will also promote overtaking, especially on tracks with long straights such as China and Bahrain.

The team also pointed out that Sebastian Vettel was able to stay with Hamilton throughout the first part of the race in Australia. If he had done this in previous years he would have ruined his tires and if he had attacked, the rubber would have come off very quickly. “In this race, however, he was able to stay in the wake of Lewis’ car relatively comfortably and then push once he had clean air, ultimately taking the lead and the eventual win. That bodes well for closer pack racing this year.”