Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton thinks Ferrari are 'bluffing' during winter testing

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It has been a while since Ferrari has come away with a constructors’ title - nine years to be exact - but they haven’t shown any signs of slowing down at this year’s winter testing in Barcelona, speeding their way to the top of the timesheets in three of seven days and with the quickest time overall.

This impressive run of form, which saw Sebastian Vettel complete a lap in 1:19.024 on ultrasoft tyres, has sparked a reaction in the Mercedes camp and Lewis Hamilton in particular seems to be hinting at some sort of foul play.

"I think Ferrari are bluffing and that they are a lot quicker than they are showing," Hamilton said.

"They're very close to us. It's difficult right now to say exactly who is quicker. But they are very close, if not faster.

"Whatever the case, I can't wait to go out and compete. Just a couple more weeks to go".

Hamilton’s new Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who replaced Nico Rosberg, also pitched in with his thoughts on his team’s performance after his 1:19.310 benchmark was beaten by 0.3s by Vettel.

"We are definitely not confident that we are in front," said Bottas. "We should not underestimate them at all."

And it wasn’t just the Mercedes drivers that spoke out about Ferrari’s unseen potential, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo also hinting that the Italian giants were better placed to challenge Mercedes than his own team, but Vettel swooped in to pipe down the heat surrounding SF70-H’s prowess.

"Mercedes are still very fast if you look at their long-run pace," Vettel said. "Look at the number of laps they have done. They are the ones to beat. Historically, look at how slow they go in testing before ramping it up for races.

"Right now, it doesn't matter where we are here. You don't get any points now.

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