Lewis Hamilton predicts a tough battle in Australian GP
Five-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton feels that a tough battle awaits Mercedes in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix starting this weekend. Hamilton cited that Ferrari have the edge going into Melbourne after they had a promising pre-season in terms of testing. Ferrari won the Australian GP in 2018 and they could be a bit quicker once again.
Mercedes vs Ferrari: What happened last season?
Last season we saw Ferrari start off with a bang and they kept up with the tempo. Mercedes fought back and things were in the balance. Ferrari did have the fastest car for much of the season. But Mercedes' Hamilton won his fifth world title with two races still left. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel made too many errors to surrender the impetus.
Mercedes serves warning to Ferrari
Ferrari were faster this year in pre-season testing and a strong start for them will test arch-rivals Mercedes. "Judging from the performance in Barcelona, it looks like we will have a proper fight on our hands," Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said to BBC. "But an F1 season is not just about who comes out of the blocks quickest," he added.
'This is going to be the toughest battle yet'
"This is going to be the toughest battle yet. We've got the best team around us. We have experience, it's no coincidence that we are world champions so we have to be diligent and stay balanced," said Hamilton, who has won twice in Melbourne.
Here's how the two sides will line-up
Last season Hamilton dominated the show after bagging 11 of the final 19 races. Mercedes will go in with Hamilton and the regular Valtteri Bottas. They have an unchanged driver line-up this season. Meanwhile, Vettel sees Charles Leclerc, who joined Ferrari from Sauber in a swap for the experienced Kimi Raikkonen. Vettel is keen on having some fun.
Fun is to win a lot of races, says Vettel
"I hope that this year we get to have a lot of fun. Fun is to win a lot of races and then ultimately you are fighting for the championship," said the 31-year-old Vettel.