Mercedes look to burst Ferrari's bubble in Melbourne

F1: 2019 Australian Grand Prix Preview

Hamilton suggested during testing that Ferrari held potentially a half-second per lap advantage over Mercedes while team-mate Valtteri Bottas reckons his team heads into 2019 as underdogs.

Ferrari won the Australian GP in 2018 and they could be a bit quicker once again.

"But having said that obviously we can't do better than last year's result". Just after the test I went back, and Toto rallied the troops and we all sat together and it's really impressive to see so many people so passionate about their jobs and so passionate about racing and wanting to do a better job and always wanting to improve.

Last season we saw Ferrari start off with a bang and they kept up with the tempo.

1 - Ferrari driver Vettel is one win away from equalling Schumacher as the driver with the most wins (four) and most back-to-back victories (3 - 2000-02) at the AusGP.

Ferrari are displaying a calmness that will finally push them to glory this season, according to Ross Brawn.

Daniel Ricciardo

"But an F1 season is not just about who comes out of the blocks quickest", he added.

The new regulations have changed the front and rear wings, aimed at making it easier for cars to get closer and overtake. 'This is going to be the toughest battle yet, ' he claimed.

2 - Reigning world champion Hamilton has finished in second place in his last three races in Australia; only in Valencia (European GP) has he finished runner-up on as many consecutive occasions (2008-10).

But Hamilton swatted aside suggestions that Mercedes is trying to play down its expectations. "We've been trying to plan with the team all my sponsor events a bit more in advance so I can plan my calendar a bit more around it, all the details in terms of travel, logistics, hotels, everything to help my wellbeing and performance, same thing with the training we try again to improve from past year".

Mercedes have done that in the past, but there is a growing feeling in the paddock that Ferrari could have the edge this season, with a new team principal in place, after Mattia Binotto replaced Maurizio Arrivabene, and a faster auto. "Fun is to win a lot of races and then ultimately you are fighting for the championship", said the 31-year-old Vettel.




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