Ferrari seem to be ahead of Mercedes, says Valtteri Bottas

Kvyat fastest, Ricciardo 3rd in F1 testing

Kvyat fastest, Ricciardo 3rd in F1 testing

Mercedes have said they intend to focus more on speed and performance at next week's second test after mainly concentrating on reliability until now.

Despite the bad results Mercedes have still kept Bottas on for 2019, but his seat could be under pressure from Esteban Ocon for 2020 after he was made the reserve driver for this year.

"Ferrari always look strong, particularly the last few years; they looked strong right at the beginning, so that's to be expected". "Whatever you try to correct that for, in any case, they are quick, on short runs and long runs".

"I think we feel at this point they are maybe a bit ahead, but obviously it's impossible to make detailed calculations".

Mercedes' pair Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were sixth and seventh respectively ahead of Leclerc and Vettel.

Leclerc helped Ferrari top the first two days of the test but, after lapping slightly slower than Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on the final day, he believes its rivals are still holding back.

He said: "It was a disappointing season and it kind of almost made me angry with myself that in my six years in Formula 1 I haven't been achieving my target yet".

"But we can't really rely on that, that it's going to be an upgrade, we do need still to try to make this spec of vehicle better and quicker". The feeling is very good.

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Many are predicting that, after Sebastian Vettel's hard 2018 season, youngster Leclerc can challenge him in his first season with Ferrari.

Mercedes has won 74 of the last 100 races in Formula One and all five titles since 2014, but Ferrari has closed the gap significantly in recent years.

Vettel was the fastest driver on Monday.

"I've looked into many things from last year and the year before".

Ferrari, overall runners-up previous year, have led the timesheets for the first two days of testing at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya and have also done plenty of laps with their new SF90 vehicle.

Sauber has also seen a name change this time through a sponsorship deal, and have been renamed Alfa Romeo Racing.

Testing will continue Tuesday-Friday at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit, home to the Spanish Grand Prix in May. Leclerc and Vettel will once again share driving duties, getting two days of running each, before attention turns to the first race in Australia on 17 March.

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