In the third practice session for the Bahrain GP indeed came as a surprise when the scarlet Ferrari’s of Vettel and Raikkonen led the pack especially after Rosberg displaying a very strong form on Friday.
Mercedes fight back in qualifying, especially Lewis Hamilton’s Q3 final effort earned him no good as he ran off the track in the final corner. The Brit jumped right to the top with a stunning 1:29.493s lap from fourth which was a full four tenths clear of championship leader Rosberg.
In one area at least, Mercedes is working hard to catch up with Ferrari.
The Maranello team’s strong challenge to the dominant world champions in Melbourne was significantly boosted when both silver Mercedes were overtaken at the start.
The technical rules have changed for 2016, with drivers now allowed only one clutch lever rather than the more accurate two.
“It’s more of a challenge this year,” Melbourne winner Nico Rosberg admitted in Bahrain. “It’s made it more difficult and it’s definitely an area we are focusing on a lot.”
When asked about Australia, the German told Auto Bild: “My start was ok, Sebastian (Vettel) and Kimi (Raikkonen)’s were just great.”
The report said Ferrari’s head-start is in the area of engine management, in collaboration with electronics partner Magneti Marelli.
Lewis Hamilton commented: “Already in the second half of last year Ferrari was making very good starts. So it needs to be right at the top of our list to ensure they aren’t getting better starts all the time.”