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Published: 14:00 | 5/3/16

Vettel ready to challenge Mercedes

Ferrari posted the four fastest lap times of winter testing

Former World Champion Sebastian Vettel says he believes the new Ferrari car is capable of closing the gap on Mercedes ahead of the new F1 season.

Vettel and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen posted the four fastest lap times of testing, with the new SF16-H running quickest on five of the eight days of Barcelona testing.

Ferrari looked the most equipped team to challenge the dominant Mercedes in 2015 and Vettel believes his team are in even better condition ahead of the start of the new season.

“We have to see if this car can be a winner, but I think that the first impression was good and everything we have built is positive," said Vettel.

"So, overall, I am happy with the feeling in the car. And we are happy with the step we have made.

"We try to close the gap to the cars in front, which has been quite big last year.

I think we did a good job during the last season and now I think that the new car can close the gap even more, but we have to be patient a little bit longer, for a couple of weeks at least."

Raikkonen, who returned to Ferrari in 2014, ended testing with the outright fastest time and he is hopeful that the Ferrari car will be good enough when the season kicks off in Melbourne on March 20.

"I have no idea what the others are doing, lap times may vary with different tyres and fuel levels, but we know what we are doing and we are pretty happy with the way the car is handling," Raikkonen said.

"I think we have a very good package. Time will tell if it is good enough."

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