Mercedes wary of 2016 Rosberg/Hamilton repeat on lap one in Spain

BARCELONA, Spain -- The Mercedes drivers will watch a series of previous Spanish Grand Prix starts, including the 2016 clash between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, as part of their pre-race briefing at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Valtteri Bottas will line up ahead of Lewis Hamilton on the grid on Sunday, with Sebastian Vettel third and Max Verstappen fourth. At the last round in Azerbaijan the Mercedes pair went wheel to wheel through the first few corners before Bottas emerged in the lead.

After the race, Hamilton admitted he was too nice to Bottas at the start and on Thursday vowed not to give his teammate as much space again.

Three years ago, Hamilton clashed with his then teammate Rosberg on the opening lap of the Spanish Grand Prix, arguably the worst moment in the history of the modern Mercedes F1 team, and on Saturday night team boss Toto Wolff admitted there would be some nerves ahead of Sunday's start.

"Yeah all that doesn't make us feel comfortable," Wolff said. "Everyone knows that lap one is very important and in Barcelona it can be race decisive but the two have been so respectful with each other on and off track that we are in a very different place than we were in 2016.

"We completely acknowledge that there is rivalry between the two of them and that rivalry will intensify the longer the championship goes, if it is between them. This is something we must address and tackle in a transparent way.

"Like any other given Sunday morning we will chat and talk about scenarios and play a few videos. They know.

"Lewis has been there and Valtteri has always been very open that he acknowledges the hard work of the team going on and both of them have been really great in really respecting the immense effort that has been going on in the team's work. Therefore it is very different to 2016."

Asked about his approach to the start of the race, Bottas added: "For sure it's going to be important. It's one of the longer runs into turn one from the start so definitely the start performance is important. "There's also a bit of a tow effect for the cars behind so on track, it's difficult to overtake, for sure the start is going to be important and turn one but yeah, it's pretty normal and I look forward to the fight."