With teams packing up and heading home before the opening race in Australia on March 17, the evidence from eight days at Barcelona's Circuit de Catulunya suggested there was very little in it between the two.
The 5 time world champion draws inspiration from the fact that Mercedes know how to close down the gap to top, as shown by the team last season, when Ferrari held the advantage for some part of the season.
"I think it's potentially half a second", he said. We will be analyzing a lot from this test and there will be some mods that we will try to implement for the race.
"More important for us is to understand the vehicle; they've [Vettel and Leclerc] done very similar lap times". We've also learned that the competition is going to be very, very tough this year, but we're looking forward to the challenge. You could get there and it could be bigger, you could get there and it could be less, you could get there and it could be equal.
But the world champion then undermined his argument by all-but matching Ferrari's quickest time of the winter in the final hour of testing at Barcelona.
We're the most united that I think we've ever been. "I am pleased with how the auto behaves and it was well balanced at this track".
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That presented Hamilton with an opportunity, although the Briton had not been confident of Mercedes' early season hopes midway through the day.
Nevertheless, the Finnish driver said there were many things to improve as he emerged from his Mercedes after his fast lap.
With Ferrari having lost out on the title with the last few races to go, Lewis Hamilton feels the focus might have shifted to the 2019 vehicle, thereby giving the team an extra month to work on the new auto.
Red Bull Racing, which hopes to also give Mercedes a fight, appears to have even bigger concerns. "I really enjoyed the day and got a good feel for the tyres as well".
Do you think Mercedes can close in on the gap?
Vettel pushed his Ferrari hard on Friday and topped the timings after his new teammate Charles Leclerc had done the same the previous day.
And if Ferrari were unhappy about appearing to have their advantage wiped away, there was more bad news, after an electrical issue on Sebastian Vettel's vehicle caused him to stop out on track early on in the afternoon session, bringing out the red flags. However he only covered 29 laps, the fewest of any driver.