Lewis Hamilton is ignoring predictions that his Mercedes team will be untouchable heading into the new Formula One season.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso has said Mercedes, who have won 32 of the last 38 grands prix, are looking “stronger than ever”, while Valtteri Bottas of Williams does not expect another team to challenge them when the season gets under way in Melbourne later this month.
Hamilton topped the timesheets on Wednesday morning as Mercedes again demonstrated they have the pace to match their bulletproof reliability. But the Briton, attempting to win his third consecutive championship, does not expect the upcoming campaign to be a forgone conclusion.
“Honestly, I have not looked at where everyone else is,” Hamilton, who completed 72 laps at the Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday, told Sky Sports F1. “Everyone naturally is going to hype us up, every single person is going to hype us up, but you really don’t know what fuel load Ferrari are on.
“I think they have got a strong package, even Williams look like they have got quite a strong package, so I would not take any notice of what they are saying to be honest.”
Mercedes have covered more distance than their rivals in the six days of winter testing in Barcelona so far, and Nico Rosberg was the fastest for the Silver Arrows on Tuesday.
“I’ve the feeling it’s the best season’s start we’ve had in the last couple of years,” said their executive director, Toto Wolff, whose team have won the last two constructors’ championships.
“But we still haven’t seen what the other frontrunning cars are capable of extracting performance-wise. We’ve haven’t seen Ferrari, Williams, and Red Bull.
“So let’s keep our feet on the ground and see where we end up on Saturday afternoon in Melbourne, which will give more indication.”