Bottas: Gap to Hamilton closed during testing

"What we've seen from Barcelona is that the margins at the front of the field have shrunk", Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said.

Mercedes have won 51 of the last 59 grands prix en route to claiming three consecutive drivers' and constructors' championships during an unprecedented reign of dominance.

"I think this year (in Melbourne) it's going to be like a development race. with the new regulations the rate of improvement is going to be massive".

Lewis Hamilton only has himself to blame for losing the Formula One (F1) world championship a year ago but can rectify the mistake this season, according to former team owner Eddie Jordan.

Prior to pre-season, team-mate Hamilton expressed his frustration over the fact that he has to share his data with the other side of the Mercedes garage. And the Italian team, who failed to register a single victory previous year and are without a drivers' champion in more than a decade, will head into the new campaign cautiously optimistic.

"I don't fear that, I think Mercedes doesn't have a number one or number two driver and that's pretty much up to me to perform". "As long as I do my job so that my performance on track is at the level the auto should be, we're all good". In testing we managed to work well together and there was a good team spirit.

"I am very excited about going up against Lewis". "For sure it's a big challenge, there's no doubt I will definitely need to prove myself to a lot of people and to the team that I deserve the place, but I just see things very positively".

"Lewis [Hamilton] could have a Rosberg moment", says the former world champion. "He's a great reference - everyone knows exactly how good he is". It is great to be a team-mate of Lewis and I hope we can have a strong year in this era of Formula One. If we do our work perfectly, if I do my job perfectly, it's possible [to challenge for the title]. "I can't see him doing a [Fernando] Alonso and not winning for three seasons".

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