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Lewis Hamilton: Ferrari is favourite for F1 2017 based on testing

Three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton says Ferrari should be considered favourite for the new Formula 1 season based on testing so far

Hamilton's Mercedes outfit has dominated F1 since the start of hybrid-engine era in 2014 and it looked strong during the first week of pre-season testing in Spain, topping the timesheets with Hamilton's new team-mate Valtteri Bottas and racking up high mileage.

But after a troubled morning that included suffering floor damage on Tuesday, Hamilton reckoned the Italian marque currently has the best chance at heading the pack.

Asked about Mercedes' status as favourites, Hamilton said: "No, Ferrari must be the favourites.

"We can't take our eyes off them because they have been doing such a great job at the moment.

"Red Bull look like they are quite good as well. We'll see over the next days and, most importantly, over the next weeks, but it's going to be close in the first race, that's for sure.

"Just on times it looks like Ferrari might be quickest, and maybe we're very close with the Red Bull behind."

Hamilton ended his Tuesday running early as the team needed to repair the car's damaged floor in time for the afternoon session.

"It didn't feel spectacular this morning, but there was just some issues we had with tyre temps and with some damage to the floor," Hamilton summed up.

"That's why I sacrificed a little bit of my morning to make sure that the car was fixed in time for Valtteri this afternoon."

Hamilton said he and the team didn't get a lot done in the "pretty dull" morning run, and admitted he was looking forward to testing being over and done with.

"There's not a huge amount of running because still today we have not a lot of testing days, not a huge amount of tyres, and with the running plan we have, you go out, you get 15-20 laps - it's just for the team to get lots of mileage on the car.

"Testing days are really not my favourite, I would happily miss testing and just go to the race."

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