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Mercedes: Ferrari a big threat

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 08-03-2017
Sutton Images © Provided by BSkyB Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have warned of the threat Ferrari could pose to Mercedes' Formula 1 supremacy in 2017.

Despite muted expectations surrounding Ferrari in the build-up to pre-season, the team's new SF70-H has proved both reliable and fast so far at Barcelona testing with the car's headline lap times comparable to those set by Mercedes.

F1 testing times are notoriously unreliable indicators of true form owing to the myriad of variables at play, but the form of Ferrari has nonetheless caught the eye of Mercedes' driver pairing.

"I think Ferrari are looking very good - they seem to be consistent and fast," said Bottas.

"We shouldn't underestimate them or Red Bull. We'll need to keep working hard to be in the best shape possible for Melbourne."

Sutton Images © Provided by BSkyB Sutton Images

Despite Mercedes still posting the fastest time of Test One, Hamilton was quoted as saying on Tuesday that Ferrari were "possibly the favourites" heading towards the season opener.

With Red Bull also beginning to show flashes of strong speed, Hamilton is certain that the pecking order at the top of the timesheet is "close".

"When we left here last week it looked like Ferrari was our closest rivals, today Red Bull look quick," he said.

"It's going to be interesting over the next few days and when we arrive in Australia. The field will be close, that's for sure."

Hamilton was speaking after a start to the second and final test he termed "awkward" after floor damage and a handling imbalance restricted him to less than 50 laps.

However, he expects the W08 to improve the closer its aerodynamic package gets to the specification for the first race in Australia at the end of the month.

"We're on target in terms of the laps that we've done and the mileage, but we're always searching for more performance," added Hamilton.

"I think the car will start to come together this week. There's still bits coming in and we're improving all the time, but I'm confident by Melbourne we'll have the best car we can. We'll have all the upgrade parts, an understanding of the set-up and where we need to put the car to make it fastest."

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