The Scuderia Ferrari endured a difficult year in last season’s F1. After finishing third, 367 points behind Mercedes, it was a year to forget for the side who haven’t clinched the silverware since 2013. However, after an impressive showcase in Thursday and Friday’s pre-season testing, this year could look a whole lot brighter for them.
Ahead of the winter testing, worries emerged regarding the new design of the cars as a longer-wheelbase SF70-H was already in production. However, when taking to the tracks, Ferrari lit up the stage.
The speed and the reliability of the newly-designed cars has seen them now considered for next year’s title after duo Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen respectively set the fastest time in the whole of the testing over two sessions.
Thursday saw Vettel claim top spot with a time of one minute 19.024 seconds.
His record was later brushed aside by fellow team-mate Raikkonen who claimed a time of one minute 18.634 seconds on the final day of testing.
The sudden rise of Ferrari has lead to Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton to offer his praise for the side ahead of the new F1 season.
Hamilton: Ferrari have been spectacular
There was speculation at the start of the year linking the Brit with a move to Ferrari but the 32-year-old decided to stay put at Mercedes and labelled the new and improved side as ‘spectacular.’
“They've done a fantastic job and I think there's more to come from them. Their pace has been spectacular,” Hamilton said, via Sky Sports.
Hamilton also had his say on the other contenders and looked ahead to the upcoming campaign as he aims to help his Mercedes side retain their F1 title for the fourth year on the bounce:
“The others look very quick and it looks like we have a good battle on our hands."
The Brit contradicted the remark he made after Thursday’s session when he described Ferrari as ‘bluffing’ whilst also saying that “they are a lot quicker than they are showing” and claimed he said it without realising:
“Did I say that? I must have said it without realising," he added.
There’s no denying that Mercedes will still be the favourites going into the new season but after Ferrari’s performance in the winter testing, there’s an outside chance that they could end the holder’s title streak and regain the trophy they won back in 2013.