Ferrari's performance 'better than it appeared' - Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton claims Ferrari's pace was better than it appeared at the season opening race in Australia after the Italian outfit stuggled to match Mercedes' pace on Saturday.
Although Sebastian Vettel went on to win the race, it was through a clever strategic decision rather than outright performance. Kimi Raikkonen however was able to get closer to Hamilton's pace during the opening stint, but couldn't get close enough to challenge the Briton.
"Everyone's talking about our 'party mode' and how much quicker we are [but Raikkonen] was very quick in the first stint it – was not easy at all to pull away from him," explained Hamilton.
"In my mind I was racing Sebastian. The Ferraris are always going to play one off the other; there's two of them. They've got two aces or whatever, two jokers. You pit one guy which forces you to protect yourself on the undercut, but the other guy's in the clear and in my mind I was like, 'Just look out for number three' as that's who I think I was racing."
Whilst close on Sunday, qualifying was a different story as Raikkonen was more than six-tenths adrift of the Mercedes driver's record-breaking lap of the Albert Park circuit. Vettel meanwhile was another hundredth shy, but Hamilton insists they're closer than they appear.
"Kimi drove fantastically well, he was was generally quick all weekend. I am not convinced Sebastian did a good lap [in Q3]. I think their performance is better than what it looked."
Hamilton though remains confident Mercedes can make up for the disappointment of Australia by winning next weekend in Bahrain.
"Everyone in the team is feeling it, but there's been so much great work, so much positivity to take forward with us. We've got a great car and we are still the world champions and with a couple of adjustments we can win the next race. I believe that."