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Mercedes look to burst Ferrari's bubble in Melbourne

14 March, 2019, 11:37 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Mercedes look to burst Ferrari's bubble in Melbourne

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".

Hamilton will be looking to draw first blood in his battle against the Ferraris of Vettel and Leclerc in Australia, but could his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas emerge from a torrid - and winless - 2018 and put the pressure on the reigning champion?

Williams has endured an extremely tough pre-season after an equally hard 2018 campaign that saw previous drivers Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin score only seven points between them, but the Grove-based outfit are fielding an all-new line-up in Kubica and 2018 FIA Formula 2 champion George Russell. "We don't know what they've got up their sleeve". "We think they're going to be strong because Honda looks strong now as well and they've always had a good vehicle".

The Italian outfit parted company with former team principal Maurizio Arrivabene in late 2018 after four years of service, promoting technical director Mattia Binotto to succeed him as Ferrari boss.

Vettel said he considered 21-year-old Leclerc a "full rival" despite his relative inexperience and expressed confidence that Ferrari can clinch their first drivers' crown since Raikkonen's triumph in 2007.

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"The name of this year's auto, the SF90, is already a celebration of this anniversary and, on top of that (we have) chose to honour this achievement in an even more evident manner in Melbourne", Ferrari said in a statement. They employed Sebastian Vettel as their No 1 driver in 2015, after the German won four world championships with Red Bull, in an attempt to find success, but it has not paid off.... We think they're going to be strong because Honda looks strong now as well and they've always had a good auto. "From what we have learned so far, this year will be even tougher", he added.

"My last Formula 1 race was in Abu Dhabi 2010, so I am looking forward to going to Australia with a few things to cover and learn".

And it is not only the threat of Ferrari that concerns Bottas, the Finn also expecting Red Bull to go well with their new Honda engines. 'So far, the spirit is right, the team is on track, the auto feels good so let's see how we start the year.' Hamilton, meanwhile, is braced for a scrap.

The new regulations have changed the front and rear wings, aimed at making it easier for cars to get closer and overtake.

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