Hamilton not anxious by Ferrari pace

Kvyat fastest, Ricciardo 3rd in F1 testing

Ferrari won the first two races of last year with a vehicle that seemed quicker than the Mercedes but the champion came back strongly and Hamilton ended the year with 11 wins to Vettel's tally of five. "I already feel quite at ease".

"It's not a time where we need to be focusing on others".

He is replacing Kimi Raikkonen, who was the last man to win a drivers' title with Ferrari in 2007.

"We have work to do, but it's a good feeling in the sense that it feels like there is potential", said the Finn.

But, having set the fastest time in his No. 16 vehicle on the second day of the first week of testing, Leclerc shrugged off the expectations of a campaign which will see him partner four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton finally set some quick times on Thursday morning and had posted a faster lap than Ferrari's Charles Leclerc by lunchtime on the final day of the test, but he used softer tyres to do it, and the Ferrari's underlying pace appeared clear.

Leclerc believes Ferrari have the tools and the drivers to shatter Mercedes' iron-grip on the sport with Hamilton's outfit having swept the last five.

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 vehicle but managed to get Spaniard Carlos Sainz out for 27 laps before lunch.

Mercedes, victor of both titles for the past five years, has also been pounding out the mileage without setting any eye-catching times. "This is going to be the most challenging year, I think, of our partnership".

"I think in Barcelona [week] 1 what we have seen is that Ferrari is ahead of the pack", said the Austrian. "We are going to face our toughest challenge but I feel like I have the right soldiers behind me".

Hamilton and Bottas had faster overall times than Vettel and Leclerc, although their laps came on faster tires.

"Ferrari always looks particularly strong, for the last few years they have looked very strong, so that is to be expected". Williams, which started testing later than the other teams because of delays with its 2019 vehicle, ran only 88 laps in total, the fewest among all teams.

The season-opening Australian GP is on March 17.

"I sense a bit of an excitement in the team, to discover more about the auto and we're really, really trying to improve it, because at this moment it looks like we're not miles ahead of everyone".

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