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'Ferrari can close on Merc'

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 06-03-2016
Getty © Provided by BSkyB Getty

Ferrari's 2016 car is capable of closing the gap to Mercedes on the evidence of winter testing, according to Sebastian Vettel. 

The new SF16-H proved the quickest car on five of the eight days of Barcelona testing, with Vettel and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen posting the four fastest lap times of the winter.

Ferrari enjoyed a mini renaissance in 2015, winning three races after going through the previous season without a victory, but Mercedes still dominated the world championship and ended the year with their 12th one-two race finish in Abu Dhabi.

But, armed with a new car which is more revolutionary than most, Vettel believes they are in better shape heading to the first race in Melbourne on March 20.

"We have to see if this car can be a winner, but I think that the first impression was good and everything we have built is positive," said Vettel after he ended the winter on top of the timesheet.

"So, overall, I am happy with the feeling in the car. And we are happy with the step we have made.

"We try to close the gap to the cars in front, which has been quite big last year. I think we did a good job during the last season and now I think that the new car can close the gap even more, but we have to be patient a little bit longer, for a couple of weeks at least."

Raikkonen, whose results have underwhelmed since his return to Ferrari in 2014, ended pre-season with the outright fastest time after lapping fractionally quicker than Vettel on the ultrasoft tyres.

The Finn believes the team have a "very good package", but Melbourne will prove if their theories are correct.

"I have no idea what the others are doing, lap times may vary with different tyres and fuel levels, but we know what we are doing and we are pretty happy with the way the car is handling," Raikkonen said.

"I think we have a very good package. Time will tell if it is good enough."

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