After Lewis Hamilton came out and said that Ferrari should be considered favourites for the 2017 season, Sebastian Vettel has hit back, saying that Mercedes are still the benchmark Formula 1 team.

“The car is much better than last year because the nature of the formula has changed, so far things are making sense – but it’s still early days. If you look at the amount of laps Mercedes has done, if you look historically how slow they go in the testing, how much they were able to ramp it up for the races…it’s clear. They’re very fast if you look at their long-run pace. They’re the ones to beat. For us it doesn’t really matter where exactly we are now, we are growing, we need to work hard, we know that we have to improve.”
– Sebastian Vettel during day 3’s lunch break, in an interview with Autosport.

As well as this, he has also said that he believes that the Mercedes team is sandbagging, judging that belief by the fact they constantly held back speed in practice sessions and testing before last season’s races.

However, there is an ironic factor to Vettel’s response. These quotes from the German four-time World Champion have surfaced on a day where Sebastian Vettel was the fastest driver of them all in testing.

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