Lewis Hamilton is refusing to read too much into his headline time during Formula 1 practice for the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday afternoon, predicting that Ferrari will make a step forward ahead of qualifying on Saturday.

Hamilton set the pace for Mercedes in FP2 with a best lap of 1m18.259 as just six-tenths of a second separated the top six drivers, including teammate Valtteri Bottas and the Ferrari and Red Bulls.

Despite the signs pointing towards a close fight at the front at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Hamilton believes Ferrari will make another step forward on Saturday after masking its pace.

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"I think it’s still very close. I’m not sure where Ferrari’s pace was today, but they’re probably sand-bagging or something - they’ll bring it out tomorrow,” Hamilton said.

“The Red Bulls are obviously very close to my pace so I think it’s going to be relatively close between the top three teams.

“I can’t tell you which one is quickest at the moment because of fuelling and maybe one didn’t get their lap, or something like that.

“Maybe we’ll get a better understanding tomorrow.”

A number of teams have brought sizeable update packages to Barcelona at the start of the European season, but Hamilton said the Mercedes W09 car was “not massively” different.

“It’s not really changed to be honest. We’ve added a little bit on this weekend but otherwise it’s the same car,” Hamilton said.

“It’s a little bit different. It’s evolved as we’ve understood the car over the first four races so it is better balanced.

“In testing it was a lot cooler, although we did have a day like this but it wasn’t as windy. So it’s difficult to compare days to other days.”

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