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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

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."

Are Ferrari really the favourites?

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!"

Also See:

Ferrari end F1 Testing with new lap record

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.

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Ferrari and Red Bull enjoyed another good day in Barcelona on Friday, while there was more misery for McLaren

"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

Driver Team Test Day Tyre Time
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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