MADRID, Spain, May 12 – Lewis Hamilton says he has no doubts Ferrari will emerge as contenders for victory in the Spanish GP after a low-key Friday practice for the Scuderia.
While Hamilton topped the timesheets ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel was only fourth fastest on what the Ferrari driver described as “a mixed day” for the Prancing Horse.
But Friday practice two weeks ago for the Azerbaijan GP told a similar story before Vettel hit back a day later to take his third successive pole position.
And while Hamilton was satisfied with his progress on Friday at Barcelona, he remains wary of the Ferrari threat.
“It’s been a good Friday for us,” Hamilton said in a Mercedes video blog. “We got through all the test runs we wanted. The Red Bulls are really fast. It looks like our race is currently with them but I’m sure Ferrari will turn it around.”
Hamilton added: “I think it is going to be relatively close between the top three teams but I can’t really say who is quickest at the moment.
“These conditions make it very difficult to define where the set-up needs to go. We got through all our running and were quite fast compared to previous years. We’ve got some work to do overnight, I’m hoping it’s cooler and calmer tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso believes McLaren have a “realistic” shot of reaching Q3 for the first time this season after the team debuted an extensive upgrade package for the Spaniard’s home race.
“Definitely a lot better,” said Alonso. “Q3 is a real possibility.
“This is the car we should have had in Australia. We are a bit behind schedule on the updates but the important thing is that we will have new parts for all the races from now on.
“The whole package is better and the new McLaren is definitely faster.
“This is the best feeling of the five Fridays. We are happy with the new package. In qualifying, we will have a clear reference how much we have improved compared to the others.”
Will Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes make it back-to-back victories at the Circuit de Catalunya? Watch the Spanish GP exclusively live on Sky Sports F1 from May 11-13. Get Sky Sports F1.