Saturday, 23 March, 2019


Bottas expects Mercedes to be chasing Ferrari in Melbourne

F1: 2019 Australian Grand Prix Preview Hamilton laps up crowd's cheers at F1 season launch party in Melbourne
Noah Ferguson | 14 March, 2019, 13:00

The four-times champion will bid for a third successive win at Albert Park's season-opener, having foiled pole-sitter Hamilton amid a virtual safety auto deployment previous year.

"It's always nice to start here in Australia but it will be a very long and tough season, so just being focused".

"The race in Melbourne represents the start of celebrations for this special anniversary, which will run throughout the Formula 1 season and also feature in the Prancing Horse company's other racing activities". Hamilton is now the most dominant driver in the sport racing for the most dominant team. "I wasn't expecting to see so many people here, ' said a shocked Hamilton". We got a bit lucky with the safety auto to grab the win.

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

"Last year for example if I had a bad race you go home and you sort of forget it immediately with the greeting you get, which is great".

Formula One is changing its scoring system to award a point to the driver who sets the fastest race lap.

1:30                                            Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle Paul Di Resta and Johnny Herbert gave their verdict on F1 2019's first day
1:30 Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle Paul Di Resta and Johnny Herbert gave their verdict on F1 2019's first day

Mercedes struggled to keep pace with Ferrari in winter testing, and although the pre-season action has a reputation for delivering misleading clues as to the real pecking order, Hamilton added: "It wasn't hard to read, it was clear". We won't know for sure until this weekend.

If Bottas can emerge as a stronger competitor for 2019 then he still has to rely on an external factor - the performance of reigning World Champions Mercedes against the apparently rejuvenated Ferrari squad.

We've seen some early testing in Barcelona and the Ferrari cars have looked excellent.

"We're still quite unsure about how Red Bull will be", said Bottas. So whoever is quickest this weekend, it doesn't really matter as long as it's close. They actually looked like they had the better auto. When quizzed around the prestige and reputation of the Australian Grand Prix, once again it is Victorians who are most positive about the impact of the event. [And] I think it's a case of adding pure performance, but even then we know we haven't unlocked the full potential of the auto.

It was the four-time world champion's second straight win in Melbourne and he followed it up with victory at Bahrain before a resurgent and doggedly consistent Hamilton won 11 of the final 19 races to leave the frustrated German in his wake.

1 - Should Charles Leclerc not finish at the Australian GP, he would be the first to retire in his debut race for Ferrari since Schumacher in 1996 (Australia).

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