Sebastian Vettel joked that Lewis Hamilton will have the upper hand in any psychological battle between the pair because the German does not know how to participate in mind games.
Mercedes have dominated Formula One for the past three seasons but early signs suggest the story could change in 2017, with Ferrari's Vettel leading the drivers' standings after four races.
Wins in Australia and Bahrain and second-place finishes in China and Russia have given the German a 13-point lead over Hamilton ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.
Vettel did not want to talk up his early advantage over Hamilton, though he did insist all the pressure is on Mercedes to maintain their stranglehold on the sport.
"I don't do psychological battles so he [Hamilton] has the upper hand. I'm not clever enough for that," joked Vettel.
"I think we are obviously in a much better position this year than in previous years but it's still fairly early. I think this will be an important race.
"Mercedes had a phenomenal run the last couple of years and they're still the ones to beat. Not just race by race but overall they have been the dominant team."
A Russian Grand Prix bereft of overtaking after the opening lap has prompted fresh suggestions that the use of DRS be increased, but Vettel thinks such "artificial" methods should be avoided when addressing the issue.
"I don't think I'm in favour of increasing the DRS zones. I think it's normal that you have races where there's more overtaking and then less," he said.
"For many reasons in Sochi it was difficult to overtake; tyres lasted well so you could push whether you were in front or behind, track layout doesn't make it easy to follow close which makes it quite difficult to get close for the straight line.
"Personally I would love to be closer and then do something but it's also a challenge so I don't want a tool that puts you right past.
"We shouldn't get into a window where it is more artificial."