Lewis Hamilton has said he is very impressed with Ferrari's showing in Winter Testing and now does not believe that the Scuderia are "bluffing".
The three-time World Champion finished P5 on what was a low-key final day for Mercedes, who did surpass the 5,000km with their W08.
In a press release issued by Merceds on Thursday, Hamilton was quoted as saying that Ferrari were "bluffing" – yet he showed surprise when the comment was relayed back to him after the final day of testing.
"Did I say that? I must have said it without realising!" Hamilton said.
"It looks very positive for Ferrari. I don't think it's a bluff, I think it's true. They have a great car."
"They've done a fantastic job and I think there's more to come from them. Their pace has been spectacular,"
"The others look very quick and it looks like we have a good battle on our hands."
"I don't know if Red Bull have brought their upgrade package here but normally they bring it to the first race. I expect us to be having a real serious battle with both these teams."
Hamilton also sent out the usual reminder that too much can be read into the lap times during testing, but he also claimed that he could not have got any more out of the W08 on the final day.
He added: "The goal in testing is not to go as fast as you can, it's to find out what you have in the car.
"Driving today, the time you saw was the time l could do, l didn't feel like l left anything out there or l could have gone any faster.
"There are all sort of things that come into play to bring down lap times – fuel loads, engine modes and those sort of things. The great thing is, nobody knows for sure."