Sebastian Vettel says the Circuit de Catalunya will give Ferrari an idea of how strong its package is as he returns to Europe and the Spanish Grand Prix with his sights set on closing the gap to Mercedes.

Returning to the scene of where Ferrari gave a glimpse of its potential form in pre-season testing, Vettel arrives back in Spain keen to continue the 'upward trend' that has seen Ferrari steadily chip away at the advantage held by Mercedes.

Indeed, Vettel is optimistic that Ferrari will maintain this path and take another step forward, but in reaction to comments made by Niki Lauda that the team is now close to Mercedes, the German insists the gap to the front remains sizeable.

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"First of all Niki says a lot. I hope he is right and hopefully we can be more than a little bit more than close. Not so long ago, 3 months, we were here for winter testing and the gap between everyone and Mercedes was huge. I think what has happen between then for us is very positive if we can keep the trend up then it is very good news but there is still the gap there and it is still big."

Even so, Vettel believes this weekend will provide a clear indication of where Ferrari is placed relative to Mercedes.

"We will wait and see what happens on Sunday. Barcelona historically has always been a place where teams have brought updates to its cars, sometimes bigger or smaller. We've probably done the same as everyone else but hopefully we'll have a bigger update and a better lap time to catch up to the guys in front, Mercedes.

"Historically Barcelona is a good indication of how strong your package is. I think if we can show we've made a step forward here then I guess that would be the case for the racing coming. Gradually you have to improve because that is the speed of Formula 1 but it is a good reference if you are faster here."