Pressure on Leclerc unfair says Hamilton

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel

The consistency with which Ferrari has performed so far has also come with strong pace, and as Mercedes only began to show strong performance on the final day of the first test, Bottas conceded the Scuderia appears to have an advantage at this point.

Both drivers finished eleventh and twelfth place on Wednesday in terms of quickest lap, with Ferrari one and a half to two seconds quicker than them. "No matter which kind of fuel load or engine modes they're running, whatever you try to correct that for in any case that they are quick".

"I think we have a strong auto".

McLaren, whose performance has been encouraging over the first two days, missed the first two hours after what they described as "some overnight changes" to the auto but managed to get Spaniard Carlos Sainz out for 27 laps before lunch.

But amid suggestions that Mercedes might be as much as 0.5s per lap off the pace of Ferrari on a like-for-like run, Hamilton said he was not yet panicking about the pace of the red auto.

Charles Leclerc, who is making his debut for Ferrari this year, has said he would like to present the team with the "problem" of challenging his teammate Sebastian Vettel from the off.

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He said it's too early to be overly concerned with the rival's performance. "It remains testing and they are probably not pushing, and we are not either. We don't know how much the others are sandbagging so we'll see at the first race".

The Monaco-born driver, 21, is in his second season in F1 and has still yet to win a race but is optimistic he can take the fight to the four-time champion.

"The way the auto used the tyres I thought was pretty encouraging". I think there is definitely a lot of potentials, but it is not yet quite there.

"I just want to make sure that this year I'll do everything I can to achieve those targets and I'm basically willing to do whatever it takes to make sure I achieve those goals".

"And I still love racing so nothing really changes there".

"The great thing with a youngster is that you're energised beyond belief and determined, and you have more energy than the elders do, so as I say it'll be interesting to watch". We do have new parts coming before the first race.

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