Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel tried to avoid the favourites' tag ahead of the Australian GP
Mercedes and Ferrari traded lap times at pre-season testing in Barcelona although teams are notoriously clandestine about showing their true pace before the season starts.
However, Lewis Hamilton reckons the Maranello are just as quick as they seem and will be the team to beat in 2017.
"I see Ferrari being quickest," Hamilton said.
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"They are definitely favourites."
But Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who has not won a race since September 2015, was quick to shrug off the tag of top dog and put the pressure back on the defending champions Mercedes.
"We are doing our best to catch up," Vettel said.
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"Mercedes have been very strong and even if you change the rules if a team is strong they will build a strong car.
"Looking at the performance of the cars, it was expected to be a big step up. And that's what we all said when we got out for the first time.
"I think they will be the fastest cars we have ever driven. it is nice to have that.
Sebastian Vettel believes Mercedes will be quicker than Ferrari in 2017
"Competitiveness? We are all here to find out."
But the famous Italian team will not be Mercedes' only challengers as they look to land their fourth consecutive constructors title.
Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey is famous in the paddock for reacting fastest to regulation change and the off-season has seen the cars revolutionised for the 2017 season.
Melbourne will play host to the first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix
The new machines are expected to corner faster and knock several seconds off lap times throughout the calendar.
And Hamilton is wary of the fact that Red Bull could be keeping their cards close to their chest after failing to impress in pre-season testing.
"I am very keen to see what Red Bull bring because they were quite far behind in testing compared to Ferrari," Hamilton added.
"I didn't see many upgrades and I am excited to see what they bring here."