Lewis Hamilton believes that Ferrari is currently the quickest team in Formula 1 following five days of pre-season testing, with Mercedes following close behind.
Three-time champion Hamilton enters 2017 looking to reclaim his crown after losing out to teammate Nico Rosberg last year, with the German retiring five days after his victory.
Mercedes has won every world title on offer in F1 since 2014, claiming three straight championship doubles and winning 51 of the 59 races in that period.
Despite an overhaul in the technical regulations for 2017, Mercedes remains the favorite to win both titles once again, and currently holds the quickest time in pre-season testing in Barcelona.
Hamilton and new teammate Valtteri Bottas both led one day each last week, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen topping the remaining two.
Ferrari appears to have made inroads at the front of the pack, with its reliability being of particular note through testing so far, but Hamilton went as far as to name it as the pack leader.
“Honestly I’ve not really been out and see too many cars. I saw today the Williams, but it was going slow,” Hamilton told NBCSN when asked if he’d checked out the opposition.
“But just on times, it looks like the Ferraris might be quickest I think.
“And maybe we’re close with the Red Bulls behind.
“So yes, I’m excited to see how it evolves over the next days.”
Williams’ Felipe Massa finished as the fastest driver on Tuesday in Barcelona, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo ending up second ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton split running with Bottas once again in Barcelona, the pair finishing the day fourth and fifth respectively in the timesheets.