Hamilton anticipating ‘a harder fight’

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Lewis Hamilton says he is anticipating “a harder fight this year” for Mercedes, highlighting Ferrari and Red Bull as the main threats.

While Pastor Maldonado set the pace for Lotus on day three of the second test at the Circuit de Catalunya, Hamilton was third quickest while Sebastian Vettel completed over 100 laps and Daniil Kvyat managed another race distance for Red Bull. Hamilton feels next week’s final test will show a better picture of the competitiveness of Mercedes’ rivals but he doesn’t expect the same levels of dominance as 2014.

Asked how much of an idea he has about where Mercedes stands in the pecking order, Hamilton replied: “Zero.

“I’ve not been looking at the others. Maldonado was quick today but I’m sure everyone was on different tyres, different fuel loads. I have absolutely no idea to be honest. I anticipate Ferrari look quite strong, similar to Red Bull, but I don’t really know where we are amongst those.

“I think we’ll maybe have a little bit of a better understanding next week. Everyone brings their upgrade which is for the first race and then when you get to the first race it’s all different because the tyres start working better and the track is not so great at the beginning but then it gets better and so on. It’s like juggling blind, but that’s what I love about this sport; I don’t really know what’s to come. I anticipate a harder fight this year, that’s what I’m anticipating.”

And Hamilton also says he doesn’t feel Mercedes is close to being fully ready for the first race, despite passing the 100-lap mark himself on Saturday.

“Testing every year feels like it’s shorter and shorter and there’s always more that you could have done. Today the weather wasn’t great, the tyres weren’t really in the working window so it was very difficult to rely on changes and the feeling that you got from them because sometimes the fronts were not working and the rears were. It’s unusual for Barcelona, the weather has not been spectacular today.”

Full times and day three as it happened.

Click here for the gallery from day three of the second test

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