Mercedes has the edge - Massa
Felipe Massa suspects Mercedes has the edge going into the first race of the season, but is not willing to write off any of the big teams, including Red Bull and Lotus.
Mercedes and Williams appeared to be leading the way during the pre-season, with Felipe Massa setting the fastest time of the final week of testing in Bahrain. But when asked who looks strongest ahead of the first race next weekend, Massa named Mercedes.
"Honestly, if you ask me which team as at the front, I think it's Mercedes," he said. "But we'll see, and now is the time to understand who is really at the front, when we get to qualifying and everybody is on the same fuel and new tyres. Then you will understand where you are compared to the others."
Renault-powered teams, such as Red Bull and Lotus, struggled for running during testing, but Massa is not ruling anybody out.
"You have so many other teams that will be there fighting. Maybe McLaren will be fighting, maybe Ferrari will be fighting and we don't know where Red Bull will be because they didn't run. They were always in the garage and you cannot say 'forget Red Bull'. They know how to build a quick car and be competitive, and when they fix the problems they have, they are going to be there. It's too early to say, maybe Red Bull will be at the front or Lotus will be at the front and nobody expected it. It's early and things will change very quickly now, I think."
Talking about the Williams, Massa was impressed with the FW36 from the first moment he drove it.
"It was a great feeling from the car the first time I drove and how we improved the car as well until the last test in Bahrain, I think the way the team was working and how the car was reliable, everything was positive. Saying where we are is difficult and it's always important to keep the feet on the ground and not to think you are further ahead than you actually are.
"We are going to see and be sure in the next week, but I think definitely I'm going to be very excited that things can go well for us and we can have a good start. We know that one of the most important things for the first race is to be competitive, but also to be reliable."