Many fans hoped that the new regulations brought into Formula 1 in 2017 would change the order of the teams, and one man thinks that could be true.
Lewis Hamilton believes that the advantage his Mercedes team had in the sport in the first three years of the hybrid era could be under threat ahead of the start of the 2017 F1 season.
Ferrari has led three of the first seven days of pre-season testing, with Kimi Raikkonen fastest in two of the first four days and Sebastian Vettel setting the current fastest lap of the winter with a time of 1:19.024. This is almost three seconds faster than last year’s pole position time at the circuit, set by Hamilton.
Mercedes currently has the second fastest time of the winter, with Valtteri Bottas submitting a time of 1:19.310 while topping the timesheets on the sixth day of testing.
The British driver believes that the full power of the Prancing Horse is still to be unleashed and he doesn’t know whether he still has the fastest car in F1.
“I think Ferrari are bluffing and that they are a lot quicker than they are showing,” he said. “They’re very close to us. It’s difficult right now to say exactly who is quicker. But they are very close, if not faster.”
Hamilton’s team-mate Bottas agreed with the idea that the team still has work to do to maximize their possibilities for the Australian Grand Prix.
“We’re still finding out which of these parts are the best suited to our car and how exactly we can draw 100 per cent out of the package,” the Finn added. “Every day is still a massive learning curve for us and we’ve still got a lot of work to do to get it right. It’s going to be tight competition in Melbourne.”
One upside for both drivers is that the W08 car is reliable, completing the most laps of any team during the first part of testing and is just 11 laps away from hitting 1,000. It is just one lap away from having completed 15 Spanish Grand Prix distances (66 laps).
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