Lewis Hamilton has named Red Bull, McLaren and Alpine as the three teams that have impressed him the most throughout Formula 1 pre-season testing.

The seven-time world champion believes that three of Mercedes’ rivals have been particularly impressive with regards to the pace they have demonstrated throughout the first two-and-a-half days of testing in Bahrain.

Red Bull has enjoyed a strong test so far, with Sergio Perez setting the fastest lap time of testing on Sunday morning, while McLaren has also hit the top of the timesheets with Daniel Ricciardo heading two of the five sessions so far.

Meanwhile, Alpine - who will field returning two-time world champion Fernando Alonso this year - has logged an impressive tally of laps and shown an encouraging turn of pace with its eye-catching A521.

Speaking on Sunday afternoon ahead of his final outing in Mercedes’ W12 challenger before new season, Hamilton said he was excited to see the “quite impressive” pace shown by his rivals.

“Without doubt it is quite impressive to see the speed of some of the other teams,” said Hamilton.

“Red Bull are looking particularly strong, and it’s great to see McLaren also looking strong, also Renault [Alpine]. I’m excited as that means more fun.”

Mercedes has endured a troubled pre-season test with a number of setbacks costing the team valuable mileage but Hamilton has insisted he is not panicking just yet.

“I don’t waste time worrying, that deters you from finding the solutions,” he said. “So we’re just working hard and focussing on getting through the short amount of testing we have and trying to be as efficient as we can.

“I think it’s better when it doesn’t go smoothly. It’s better that it doesn’t go smooth now and goes smooth once we get into the racing scene. This is the perfect time for us to find the issues and have the problems, so I welcome that.

“I think everyone’s just keeping their heads down, no-one’s particularly fazed by it. We’re a multi-championship-winning team and we know how to pull together and keep our head down and focus on our job.”



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