Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes has work to do and has not been ‘talking BS’ about its current place in the F1 pecking order behind Ferrari.
Heading into the Australian Grand Prix Ferrari has emerged as the clear favourites after impressive displays during the two four-day pre-season tests at Barcelona.
Mercedes brought upgrades to the second test which resulted in far stronger showing as Hamilton ended the final test 0.003s adrift of Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel.
Despite the improvement, Hamilton believes the form guide is quite clear prior to this weekend’s season opener.
“It’s (testing form) not difficult to read,” said Hamilton.
“I think it was quite clear, however it’s difficult to know what everyone’s doing, so naturally we won’t fully know until we get out in the car and, come qualifying you get a better picture, and usually, over the first few races is when you really start to get an idea of where everyone stands.
“But we said that we have work to do and we weren’t talking BS. We have work to do.”
Championship rival Vettel admits that Ferrari is in a much better position compared to 12 months ago following a strong pre-season test but feels he is neither the hunted or the hunter.
The four-time world champions kicked off the 2018 campaign with victory in Melbourne but once again fell short of Hamilton in the title race.
“Well, at this point, I think we are all hunters and all hunted,” said Vettel.
“We have zero points. At this point I don’t feel like either.
“But hopefully going away from here we’ll be in the position of the hunted. That’s the target.
“Quite frankly because I think last year’s winter testing didn’t go well for us and we actually had some issues with the car to fix and obviously we got a bit lucky during the race weekend with the Safety Car to grab the win.
“But yeah, I think in this regard we are more prepared.
“Our car seems to work fine: no problems at this stage. Having said that, obviously we can’t do better than last year’s result, so, it’s a tough weekend ahead of us.”
The new F1 season kicks off today with the opening two 90 minute practice sessions.