Mercedes knows Ferrari is close after 2016 F1 testing

Mercedes believes it will be closely-matched with Ferrari at the start of the Formula 1 season but does not know if it will be ahead, Nico Rosberg says

Mercedes knows Ferrari is close after 2016 F1 testing

Between Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari topped five of the eight days of F1 pre-season testing, while Mercedes focused on reliability, leading just one with Rosberg.

The German believes there will be little between the two teams when the season starts in Australia in a fortnight, and that "it could go either way".

"We know that Ferrari is very close," he said. "They've been very quick.

"All of the teams have their strategists, so we know more or less what fuel the other teams are running and they know our fuel.

"So we know more or less where we are compared to Ferrari, that's why I say it's close.

"But we're not sure if we are ahead or behind."

While Ferrari worked its way through Pirelli's full range of tyres, including the newly-introduced ultra-soft compound, Rosberg and team-mate Lewis Hamilton's running on low fuel and the soft compound was limited.

Rosberg suggested Mercedes did not want to show its hand.

"It's the compromise," he said of the programme.

"You don't really want to show it to everybody else, how fast you are.

"We did low fuel with some softer tyres and all of that, so we did get some practice in, so it's OK."

HAMILTON 'GLAD' CAR BROKE

Mercedes completed 1294 laps - 3743 miles - over the eight days, 709 miles more than the next team, Toro Rosso on 1049 laps.

Throughout the relentless programme, only one problem emerged in public, when Hamilton stopped just before lunch on the final day with a transmission issue.

"I'm actually glad I broke it now," Hamilton said.

"Better to have broken it now than to have found something in Melbourne, so we can improve it for the next time we go out.

"I've pushed the car here and there, but of course when we get to Australia, that's when we get to really open it up."

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