Sebastian Vettel has singled out McLaren as the rival team that he thinks is in the best shape at the start of the second pre-season test at Barcelona in Spain.
The double world champion made clear that while it is still too early to divine a pecking order from what had taken place so far in testing, he felt that McLaren appeared to have got an early handle on its MP4-27.
"I think McLaren looked very strong today," Vettel told reporters after ending the session fastest of all with a time of 1m23.265s - some 0.3s quicker than Hamilton managed. "For the rest it is too early.
"I haven't seen all the lap times yet, I have only had a couple of looks on the long runs that Lewis did today - they seemed to be quite interesting.
"At this stage we are not really talking about the championship for sure. I don't think there is anybody here trying to do worse than last year, so we are trying to do what we did last year, but it's a long way from now."
When asked about whether he had a car to challenge for a third title, he added: "To be honest I haven't seen much of other cars on the track.
"Obviously I can judge for myself that the feeling [on my car] is fine but I don't know whether that is good enough or not. I think the McLaren looks quite competitive. I think they didn't go for one lap at all but they did long runs etcetera and they looked fairly competitive, so I think they will be strong straight from the beginning of the season.
"I think we saw in Jerez Lotus was quite a surprise, whether they can keep it up or not, I don't know. Today they didn't run much.
"Ferrari is a bit of a secret at this stage and nobody knows whether they are really good or really bad - and I don't know what other people think about us, so we will have to wait and see."