Bottas not sure Ferrari 2017 favourite

Valtteri Bottas is not willing to back new teammate Lewis Hamilton's claim that Ferrari is the new "favourite" for 2017.

"Just on times it looks like Ferrari might be the favourite, and maybe we're very close with Red Bull behind," Mercedes' Hamilton said after the final test kicked off in Barcelona on Tuesday.

Mercedes newcomer Bottas, however, is not so sure.

"It's too early to say who is the favourite," the Finn is quoted by Bild newspaper.

"Certainly, we are not exactly where we want to be, but there's still a bit of time until Melbourne.

"Ferrari is strong, you can't underestimate them, but also Red Bull," added Bottas.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel is playing a cautious game too, also declaring it "too early" to make any claims about the pecking order.

"We don't know where we are, it's still too early," the German told Italian television Sky.

"For now the testing is going well but we have a lot of work to do.

"It's nice to know that so many people support us, but we are still going step by step."

And Daniel Ricciardo, driving for Red Bull, was smiling and looking confident in Barcelona, despite the fact his car is currently looking third best.

"Ferrari looks fast, that's true. But I am convinced that Mercedes will be at least at the same level and Williams are also there, I think. We should be around there somewhere too," said the Australian.

"We're not quite on the Ferrari and Mercedes level, but we're close enough. Melbourne will be very interesting," he smiled.

The well-known father of Ricciardo's teammate, however, is not so sure Red Bull is ready to challenge the top two.

"It will definitely be a good year," Jos Verstappen told the Dutch broadcaster L1, "but I think we have to wait another year for a real assault on the world title."

(GMM)

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