Published: Sat, March 03, 2018

Lewis Hamilton fires F1 title warning to Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel

Lewis Hamilton fires F1 title warning to Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel

The day got off to a damp start, but thankfully not an icy one, and the teams headed to the track on the full wet tyres initially.

Their W09 ran faster than any other auto in four days of pre-season testing in Barcelona this week, setting a time of 1:19.3s despite running on medium tyres - suggesting their advantage over the rest of the grid.

Back then Hamilton revelled in the prospect of going head-to-head with another multi-champion, the pair displaying a mutual admiration that we all knew couldn't last.

But former Williams racer Bottas at least ended the season in stronger fashion, finishing second in Mexico and Brazil before winning the final race in Abu Dhabi. Not bad for a first try! There was less than 0.1s between Vettel and Kevin Magnussen in fourth place, as Haas enjoyed a solid day of running and was just four laps shy of the 100 mark.

"So far, things have been looking OK, but there has been very limited running for everyone, so it's very hard not just for yourself to judge but also to judge compared to the others", he said. "So if we can be close, very close, closer than a year ago, that would be great, and then we see from there".

Lewis Hamilton finally hit the track again around 13:30, heading out on the medium tyre. Vandoorne handed the McLaren to teammate Fernando Alonso at 15:00, who added another 51 laps to the team's tally by the end of the day. Other driver swaps for the "afternoon session" included Chalres Leclerc for Ericsson, and Lance Stroll for Sirotkin.

After showing his hand with the quickest lap on Thursday, Hamilton hopes Ferrari and Red Bull will be on par with Mercedes by the time Formula 1 arrives in Melbourne for the season opener on March 25th.

But so far it's good.

Lewis Hamilton has issued a warning to Formula 1 world title rival Sebastian Vettel by declaring he wants to beat him "at his best because then it's more painful".

Honda, Honda, and Honda again.

However, Stoffel Vandoorne completed 110 laps on Thursday and displayed positive indications that the auto has some pace.

Hamilton had briefly moved ahead of Vandoorne earlier in the afternoon, but he had that lap taken away for missing the final chicane and finally took over at the head of the order 45 minutes later.

Bottas was also beaten by Hamilton for most pole positions and fastest laps, with the Briton's domination at the Silver Arrows rarely disturbed since Nico Rosberg's retirement. I think we can still understand more and understand better what's going on with more running.

Red Bull again... At 35 laps, Max Verstappen's tally was the lowest of the day, and marked another hard day for Red Bull in what has already been a turbulent week for the Milton Keynes-based outfit.

"So theres no more excuses for sure".

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