F1: Ferrari’s Jerez pace is now a cat and mouse game

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Ferrari is attempting to downplay expectations, while the Scuderia’s rivals are offering up complimentary quotes to note that the team’s pace at the first official Formula 1 test of the season at Jerez was legitimate.

We’ll only know how real the pace is at Barcelona from Feb. 19-22, but in the interim, here are the contrasting viewpoints:

“I am encouraged by the performance of the new car, though it is one thing to do a quick lap, another to do an entire race,” Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne said, via the BBC.

“Now we’ll see when the World Championship starts in Australia. I do not expect miracles, but it is important to see progress.”

Meanwhile here’s the other take, from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and ex-Ferrari man Felipe Massa, now of Williams, via the official Australian Grand Prix podcast:

“We expect nothing less from Mercedes to be honest, but Ferrari looked like they came out pretty strong,” Ricciardo said.

Added Massa, “If they stay the same for Barcelona and impress with laptime, then maybe we start to think they are going to be there.”