Lewis Hamilton describes Ferrari’s performance at the start of pre-season testing as “very, very strong” after seeing the Scuderia top the times on the opening two days.
Sebastian Vettel was fastest on Monday before Charles Leclerc followed up with a time just under 0.1s slower than his new teammate yesterday, as both drivers completed over 150 laps. While Mercedes has yet to show anywhere near the same pace as the two teams take different approaches to testing, Hamilton admits the Ferrari record so far is an impressive one.
“At the moment I don’t worry about anything; I just try to focus on our job,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know what everyone is doing; there are different fuel loads, I have been in this business a long time so I know how it goes over the first and into the second week.
“It’s not a time when we need to focus on others. We let everyone else do their thing and really dig deep and focus on making sure our processes are better than ever before, that we are analyzing the data better than ever before and that from a driver’s point of view the feedback is more accurate than ever before. That is what we are trying to focus on and making sure we get through our run plans.
“We will have a better idea this time next week but even then we still won’t know what fuel loads people are on and who is showing their cards and who is not. Nothing really changes there.
“But Ferrari are very, very strong right now as you have seen, they are racking up great mileage as well, it appears that they have a better package than they had last year which means it is going to be even more of a challenge for us this year.”
The words of praise also came with the caveat that Ferrari tends to show strong pace during testing in the past, with Vettel fastest overall in pre-season 12 months ago.
“They have been looking great. For us it has just been digging deep and trying to understand the car, so pretty much the same as the beginning of every year.
“Ferrari always looks particularly strong, for the last few years they have looked very strong for the last few years, so that is to be expected. For us, we are just going about our process and trying to understand, so as I said everyone is working incredibly hard.”