Lewis Hamilton impressed by 'spectacular' Ferrari and ready for a 'battle' in F1 2017
"The others look very quick and it looks like we have a good battle on our hands," says Mercedes driver after end-of-winter testing
By Pete Gill at Barcelona
Last Updated: 10/03/17 7:48pm
Lewis Hamilton expects “a battle” in F1 2017 in the wake of Ferrari’s “spectacular” form in pre-season testing.
Ferrari finished top of the timesheets for the eight days of running at the Circuit de Catalunya with Kimi Raikkonen's benchmark over half a second ahead of Mercedes' best. The Scuderia also set the pace on all four of Pirelli's fastest compounds.
"They've done a fantastic job and I think there's more to come from them. Their pace has been spectacular," said the Mercedes driver.
"The others look very quick and it looks like we have a good battle on our hands."
Hamilton was quoted describing Ferrari as "bluffing" in the team's own press release on Thursday night but expressed bafflement with the remark.
"Did I say that? I must have said it without realising!"
But Hamilton also said Mercedes had experienced "up and down" days in pre-season running at Barcelona and warned Red Bull were likely to be a far tougher proposition in the season-opening Australian GP than they had appeared to be over the two weeks in Spain.
"I don't know if Red Bull have brought their upgrade package here but normally they bring it to the first race. I expect us to be having a real serious battle with both these teams."
Hamilton set his fastest time - a lap of 1:19.352 - on the penultimate day and appeared to run relatively conservatively on the final day - although he did set his best time of the winter on soft tyres in the final minutes when he broke into the 1:19s.
"The goal in testing is not to go as fast as you can, it's to find out what you have in the car. Driving today, the time you saw was the time l could do, l didn't feel like l left anything out there or l could have gone any faster. There are all sort of things that come into play to bring down lap times - fuel loads, engine modes and those sort of things. The great thing is, nobody knows for sure.
"It looks very positive for Ferrari. I don't think it's a bluff, I think it's true. They have a great car."
Fastest lap per driver
|Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||Day Eight||Supersofts||1:18.634|
|Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||Day Eight||Ultrasofts||1:19.024|
|Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||Day Six||Supersofts||1:19.310|
|Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Day Seven||Ultrasofts||1:19.352|
|Felipe Massa||Williams||Day Six||Ultrasofts||1:19.420|
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull||Day Eight||Supersofts||1:19.438|
|Carlo Sainz||Toro Rosso||Day Eight||Ultrasofts||1:19.837|
|Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||Day Eight||Ultrasofts||1:19.885|
|Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||Day Five||Ultrasofts||1:19.900|
|Sergio Perez||Force India||Day Eight||Ultrasofts||1:20.116|
|Esteban Ocon||Force India||Day Seven||Ultrasofts||1:20.161|
|Jolyon Palmer||Renault||Day Eight||Ultrasofts||1:20.205|
|Lance Stroll||Williams||Day Eight||Softs||1:20.335|
|Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||Day Seven||Supersofts||1:20.416|
|Kevin Magnussen||Haas||Day Seven||Supersofts||1:20.863|
|Romain Grosjean||Haas||Day Eight||Ultrasofts||1:21.110|
|Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren||Day Seven||Ultrasofts||1:21.348|
|Fernando Alonso||McLaren||Day Eight||Ultrasofts||1:21.389|
|Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||Day Eight||Supersofts||1:21.670|
|Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber||Day Seven||Ultrasofts||1:22.347|
|Antonio Giovinazzi||Sauber||Day Four||Ultrasofts||1:22.401|
|Alfonso Celis||Force India||Day Three||Ultrasofts||1:23.568|
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