The standings may not tell the full story, and luck has played a part, but on paper Mercedes are more dominant than ever while Ferrari have fallen well short of expectations.
“We’ve soon got to stop talking about Ferrari this, Ferrari that, Ferrari amazing power... because they are not delivering,” said former grand prix driver Martin Brundle.
Mercedes, the team that have won every championship for the past five years, completed a hat-trick of successive one-two finishes at Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.
The only reason Mercedes cannot claim a perfect start is the introduction this season of a point for the fastest race lap, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc quickest in Bahrain and Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly in Shanghai.
And yet five times champion Lewis Hamilton, team mate Valtteri Bottas and principal Toto Wolff were still talking about luck, small margins and tough battles ahead after winning Formula One’s 1,000th world championship race.
“Considering it was a real struggle this weekend, I’m really grateful for the result, said Hamilton, Sunday’s winner.
The Briton was right to point out it would have been a different story if Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari had not lost power while leading in Bahrain.
“I’m just not sure they’ve really hooked up a proper solid weekend just yet,” said Hamilton, now back in the overall championship lead.
“It was looking like it was going to be a solid weekend for them in Bahrain and then it started to tail off. This weekend, they were a bit up and down.
“I think we’re over-delivering at the moment to our true potential but there’s still more to come,” he added.
Nico Rosberg, who won the 2016 title with Mercedes, agreed the Italians had work to do.
“I’m hearing from the Ferrari guys that they’ve got their car in the wrong aerodynamic window,” he said. “They need to make changes internally but it’s going to take time. They are only very good at the ultra-high speed tracks at the moment. So they’re in the wrong place with the car.” Reuters