Despite failing to match his P1 from pre-season testing, Felipe Massa is hoping Williams will be in the hunt this weekend in Bahrain.
The Williams driver set the pace in the final pre-season test ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton. However, when the teams returned to the track on Friday for the start of the Bahrain weekend it proved to be all Mercedes.
Hamilton was quickest ahead of his team-mate Nico Rosberg while Massa could only manage the fifth fastest time, 1.117s off the pace. The Brazilian also lost out to his former Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso as well as Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.
"Ferrari is definitely stronger here than in testing, and Red Bull is definitely stronger here than it was in testing," he told Crash.net.
"McLaren is there in the fight as well so, for sure, we saw that some teams have improved. I hope that we can be in there fighting and I'm looking forward to it."
Massa downplayed Williams' lack of running in practice with the team opting not to put in a lot of laps, completing just 25 in first practice and an additional 22 in the evening.
"We ran at the end and it was okay. I think it gave a good understanding of where we are. Definitely, the car showed a little better pace here compared to the last race [in Malaysia], so I hope this can be our direction and that we can see it tomorrow also."
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