Mercedes-AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton has said he believes Ferrari is currently the favorite ahead of the 2017 F1 season.
The Scuderia Ferrari team has enjoyed a successful test in Barcelona that has seen its new SF70H F1 car not only show good pace but also prove to be extremely reliable. Today, the first day of the second F1 pre-season test, Vettel tied with Williams’ Felipe Massa for the most laps logged at 168.
While pre-season testing times are largely considered to mean nothing, Hamilton still expressed an opinion that Ferrari has so far showed the best overall pace.
“No, I think Ferrari must be the favourites,” the three-time World Champion told Motorsport.com in an interview. “I think we can’t take our eyes off them because they have been doing such a great job at the moment.”
“Red Bull look like they are quite good as well. We’ll see over the next days and, most importantly, over the next weeks, but it’s going to be close in the first race, that’s for sure.
“Just on times it looks like Ferrari might be quickest, I think, and maybe we’re very close with the Red Bull behind.”
Mercedes-AMG Petronas had a particularly bad test Tuesday, with Hamilton managing just 49 laps before he was forced to pull the car in the pits for the remainder of the day with floor damage. The team sidelined the car to give it enough time to repair the car before Bottas’ first outing in the second F1 test tomorrow.
“It didn’t feel spectacular this morning, but there was just some issues we had with tyre temps and with some damage to the floor,” he said.
“That’s why I sacrificed a little bit of my morning to make sure that the car was fixed in time for Valtteri this afternoon.”