Lewis Hamilton says he is braced for his “toughest battle yet” after conceding Ferrari have had the best car in pre-season testing. The five-time world champion believes his Mercedes team’s deficit to Ferrari is “potentially half a second”. However, Hamilton ended the final test day just 0.003 seconds slower than Sebastian Vettel’s pace-setting time.
Hamilton, who was helped on his way to the title last year by a series of mistakes by Ferrari and their lead driver Sebastian Vettel, said: “Last year they arrived with a car working well but they have done even better this year.
“It’s OK. We don’t mind the challenge, it just means we have to work harder. I’m not worried or disappointed or anything. We have a hill to climb but we know how to do it.”
Fastest times, day four, final pre-season testing, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
1 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari) one minute 16.221 seconds
2 Lewis Hamilton (GB) Mercedes 1:16.224
3 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 1:16.561