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Mercedes' F1 drivers at odds over Ferrari's chances in 2017

2017-03-08 11:07

MIXED FEELINGS: F1 drivers are indifferent on Ferrari's 2017 prospects. AFP / Josep Lago

Spain - Valtteri Bottas is not willing to back new team mate Lewis Hamilton's claim that Ferrari is the new "favourite" for 2017.

Mercedes' Hamilton said after the final test kicked off in Barcelona on Tuesday (March 7): "Just on times it looks like Ferrari might be the favourite, and maybe we're very close with Red Bull behind."

Still 'too early'

Mercedes newcomer Bottas, however, is not so sure.

Bottas is quoted by Bild newspaper: "It's too early to say who is the favourite. Certainly, we are not exactly where we want to be, but there's still a bit of time until Melbourne.

"Ferrari is strong, you can't underestimate them, but also Red Bull."

READ: F1 teams admit Ferrari's pace 'surprising'

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel is playing a cautious game too, also declaring it "too early" to make any claims about the pecking order.

Vettel told Italian television Sky: "We don't know where we are, it's still too early. For now the testing is going well but we have a lot of work to do. It's nice to know that so many people support us, but we are still going step by step."

Red Bull weighs in

And Daniel Ricciardo, driving for Red Bull, was smiling and looking confident in Barcelona, despite the fact his car is currently looking third best.

He said: "Ferrari looks fast, that's true. But I am convinced that Mercedes will be at least at the same level and Williams are also there, I think. We should be around there somewhere too.

"We're not quite on the Ferrari and Mercedes level, but we're close enough. Melbourne will be very interesting."

READ: F1 drivers happy with the hurt dished out by faster cars

The well-known father of Ricciardo's team mate, Max Verstappen, however, is not so sure Red Bull is ready to challenge the top two.

Verstappen's father, Jos told the Dutch broadcaster L1: "It will definitely be a good year, but I think we have to wait another year for a real onslaught on the world title."

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