Mar.1 (GMM) No single team will be the favourite when free practice signals the official start to the 2010 world championship in Bahrain next Friday, according to Felipe Massa.
After varying reports have singled out Ferrari, McLaren or Red Bull as the stand-out performer of the 15 days of winter testing, Brazilian driver Massa thinks Bahrain will be fiercely contested."Today the timesheet says (Lewis) Hamilton (is quickest), but we're all very close together, it's just tenths of a second," the Ferrari driver said at Barcelona on Sunday, which was the last day of the February tests.He is quoted by the Spanish agency EFE as saying the thought of a single team with a significant advantage is "absurd, given the good performance of the other teams".His teammate and former twice world champion Fernando Alonso, who recently made headlines by saying the F10 is the best car of his entire career, is similarly cautious."This is the best car I've ever had," the Spaniard is quoted as saying by Italy's Corriere dello Sport, "but it doesn't mean it is the best car of the championship."The latest paddock analysis is that McLaren - with its Barcelona-spec upgrade package - and Ferrari are right at the front, closely followed by Red Bull and then Mercedes GP.La Gazzetta dello Sport quotes Ross Brawn as admitting the Mercedes W01 is still "a couple of tenths" off the pace, while Ferrari "is the team in best form"."But the lead they (Ferrari) had at the beginning of the test season seems to be reduced and we are now all closer to them," the Briton added.On Sunday at Barcelona, Michael Schumacher at one stage attempted to keep Hamilton's McLaren at bay but was overtaken."I felt it was harming my own work a little bit, so I gave way and let him do what he wanted to do -- so I could do what I wanted to do," said the German.Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari is "very strong" and at the head of the field in the run to Bahrain."Behind them (Ferrari) it is between us, McLaren and Mercedes. I don't see us at the front yet," the 22-year-old is quoted as saying by German media."But we are just about there, both with less and with more fuel (on board)," the 2009 runner-up added.